SACRAMENTO – High school sports participation in California is at an all-time high, according to the 2013 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Sports Participation Survey.
Up by 0.08 percent since the previous survey in 2012, 758,474 student-athletes are competing in California high school athletic programs.
“It’s no surprise that education based athletics continues to see increased participation,” said CIF Executive Director Roger L. Blake. “All the experiences gained from being part of a high school team helps produce well rounded individuals in our communities. At its best, athletic competition can hold intrinsic values for our society.”
Along with the overall participation increase in high school athletics there were a few sports that saw noticeable increases across both genders. Water polo saw the largest increase, a combined 2.8 percent or 862 more participants (1.2 percent or 179 increase for girls; 1.9 percent or 683 increase for boys), followed by cross country with a 1.9 percent increase or 1,057 more participants (2.5 percent or 604 increase for girls; 4.3 percent or 683 increase for boys). Track and field also increased participation by 1.4 percent or 1,375 student-athletes (1.0 percent or 473 increase for girls; 1.6 percent or 902 increase for boys).
Football continues to lead the top 10 boys’ sports with 102,505 participants, followed by track and field (55,221), which increased participation by 1.6 percent and soccer (47,861), which increased participation by 0.2 percent since 2012; basketball (43,776) and baseball (43,253) round out the top five boys’ sports.
For girls, track and field continues to reign as the top sport with 44,200 participants. Soccer still trails as a close second (43,282) followed by volleyball (40,271); basketball, (33,411) which decreased participation by 4.9 percent since 2012; and softball (32,097).
The CIF’s 1,527 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.