NFHS reports high school wrestling participation up for boys and girls in all categories for 2017-18

BY GARY ABBOTT, USA WRESTLING, WITH NFHS PRESS RELEASES

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has released its 2017-18 High School Participation Survey, and the sport of wrestling has grown in all five categories reported.

In 2017-18, boys high school wrestling grew to 245,564 athletes, an increase of 760 wrestlers from last year. In addition, there were 10,775 schools with boys wrestling, an increase of 146 schools.

This marks a change in the trend for boys wrestling on the high school level, which had seen declines in the number of participants for six straight years.

Boys high school wrestling remained the No. 7 sport among boys on the high school level in terms of participants, and the No. 8 sport for boys in terms of number of schools.

Girls high school wrestling set new records again, showing a growth in participation for the 29th straight year.

There were 16,562 girls participants in 2017-18, an increase of 1,975 athletes from the year before. This was a healthy 13.5% increase in participation.

The number of schools reporting girls wrestling grew to 2,351, an increase of 260 schools.

The girls participation numbers are increasing, in spite of the fact that 10 states do not report any girls wrestling, most of which certainly have girl high school wrestlers, based upon member statistics from USA Wrestling. The actual number is even more than reported by the NFHS.

The combined number of high school wrestlers, including both boys and girls, grew to 262,126, an increase of 2,735 athletes.

The top 10 states for boys wrestling participation are: 1. California (22,441); 2. Illinois (13,721), 3. New York (11,461); 4. Ohio (11,340); 5. Texas (10,735); 6. Pennsylvania (9,720); 7. Michigan (9,147); 8. Washington (9,041); 9. New Jersey (8,999); 10. North Carolina (8,111).

The top 10 states for girls wrestling participation, from states that report to the NFHS, are: 1. California (5,286); 2. Texas (3,869); 3. Washington (1,222); 4. Hawaii (592); 5. Oregon (498); 6. Florida (447); 7. Colorado (386); 8. Michigan (376); 9. Alaska (337); 10. Tennessee (313).

For the 29th straight year, the overall number of participants in high school increased. The number of participants in high school sports in 2017-18 reached an all-time record high of 7,979,986, according to figures from the 51 NFHS member state high school associations, which includes the District of Columbia. The number of girls participating in high school sports reached an all-time high of 3,415,306, and boys participation also set a new standard at 4,564,680.

TEN MOST POPULAR BOYS PROGRAMS

Participants
1. Football - 11-player, 1,035,942
2. Track and Field - Outdoor, 600,097
3. Basketball, 551,373
4. Baseball, 487,097
5. Soccer, 456,362
6. Cross Country, 270,095
7. Wrestling, 245,564
8. Tennis, 158,151
9. Golf, 144,024
10. Swimming and Diving, 138,935

Schools
1. Basketball, 18,510
2. Track and Field - Outdoor, 16,990
3. Baseball, 16,196
4. Cross Country, 15,463
5. Football - 11-player, 14,079
6. Golf, 13,524
7. Soccer, 12,393
8. Wrestling, 10,775
9. Tennis, 9,793
10. Swimming and Diving, 7,595

The complete 2017-18 High School Athletics Participation Survey is available via the following link:
http://www.nfhs.org/ParticipationStatistics/ParticipationStatistics/