High school sports participation continues to increase in California and is at an all-time high for the second consecutive year, according to the 2014 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Sports Participation Survey.
Up by 0.64 percent since the previous survey in 2013, 763,306 student-athletes are competing in California high school athletic programs.
“With CIF celebrating its 100th anniversary, it seems only appropriate that education-based athletics participation in California is at an all-time high,” stated CIF Executive Director Roger L. Blake. “The high school athletic experience continues to serve as an extension of the classroom, creating additional learning opportunities for all involved.”
Along with the overall participation increase in high school athletics, there were a few sports that saw noticeable increases across both genders.
Lacrosse saw the largest percentage increase, a combined 3.9 percent or 580 more participants (5.3 percent or 303 increase for girls; 3.2 percent or 277 increase for boys), followed by cross country with a 2.3 percent increase or 1,234 more participants (3.4 percent or 830 increase for girls; 1.4 percent or 404 increase for boys). Soccer also increased participation by 1.4 percent or 1,241 student-athletes (1.2 percent or 538 increase for girls; 1.5 percent or 703 increase for boys).
Football continues to lead the top 10 boys’ sports with 103,464 participants, which increased by 0.93 percent since 2013. Track and field (54,062) is the second most popular sport followed by soccer (48,564), which increased participation by 1.47 percent since 2013; basketball (44,097) and baseball (43,482) round out the top five boys’ sports.
For girls, track and field continues reign as the top 10 sport with 44,567 participants, which increased by 0.83 percent since 2013. Soccer still trails a close second (43,820), which increased participation by 1.24 percent since 2013, followed by volleyball (40,751), basketball (33,443) and softball (32,238).
The CIF’s 1,540 member schools participated in the survey as part of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) nationwide survey that measures the number of students competing in sports in the country.