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High school wrestling participation increases in 2004-05 according to NFHS Participation Survey

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (September 1, 2005) - The number of participants in high school athletics increased for the 16th consecutive year in 2004-05 and topped 7 million for the first time in history.

In addition, the statistics for boys wrestling grew during the 2004-05 season, both in terms of number of teams and number of athletes.

In 2004-05, there were 243,009 high school boys competing in wrestling, an increase of 4,309 wrestlers from the previous season. In 2004-05, there were 9,562 high school wrestling teams for boys, an increase of 36 teams from the previous year.

Wrestling remained the No. 6 most popular boys sport in terms of number of participants and the No. 8 most popular sport in terms of the number of teams.

At this time, statistics on girls high school wrestling are not available but will be posted on when they are published.

Based on figures from the 50 state high school athletic/activity associations, plus the District of Columbia, that are members of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), participation for the 2004-05 school year rose by 115,157 students, to 7,018,709, according to the 2004-05 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS. The survey also determined that nearly 53 percent of students enrolled in high schools participate in athletics.

"We are thrilled to have more than 7 million students in our nation's high schools participating in athletic programs," said Robert F. Kanaby, NFHS executive director. "The consistent increase in participation among the youth of our country and the fact that well over half of all enrolled students are competing in high school activities are true testaments to the impact these activities have on millions of lives across the country."

In addition to overall numbers, the girls participation total of 2,908,390 set an all-time record. The boys total also increased, reaching 4,110,319, the highest participation in the past 27 years. This year's boys participation figure is second only to the record 4,367,442 in 1977-78.

On the boys' side, 11-player football was again the most popular sport with 1,045,494 participants, followed by basketball (545,497), outdoor track and field (516,703), baseball (459,717), soccer (354,587), wrestling (243,009), cross country (201,719), golf (161,025), tennis (148,530), and swimming and diving (103,754).

Basketball remained the most popular sport for girls with 456,543 participants, followed by outdoor track and field (428,198), volleyball (386,022), fast pitch softball (364,759), soccer (316,104), cross country (170,450), tennis (169,292), swimming and diving (148,154), competitive spirit squads (84,416) and golf (64,245).

Track and field gained the most female participants in 2004-05 with 9,212, followed by soccer with 7,072, indoor track and field with 5,237, and cross country with 4,163, which moved that sport from seventh to sixth in popularity.

Eleven-player football gained the most participants among boys sports in 2004-05 with 12,812, followed by outdoor track and field with 11,902 additional participants, swimming and diving (7,192), lacrosse (6,557) and cross country (5,291).

Some of the emerging sports had the largest percentage increases in participants. Bowling registered the largest percentage increase among boys sports with a 14 percent jump (from 17,654 to 20,534), followed closely by lacrosse with an 11 percent increase (from 53,436 to 59,993). Among girls sports, bowling (13 percent), lacrosse (10 percent), and indoor track and field (10 percent) registered the largest percentage increases.

Thanks to the start of snowboarding programs in California, that sport registered the largest percentage gains in the number of schools sponsoring programs at 85 percent for boys and 89 percent for girls.

Texas remained the state with the most participants with 740,052, followed by California (678,019), New York (350,349), Michigan (311,814), Illinois (310,791), Ohio (310,585), Pennsylvania (262,859), Minnesota (233,070) New Jersey (228,388) and Florida (219,040).

The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations. The complete 2004-05 Participation Survey will be available soon on the NFHS Web site at


1. Football - 11-Player 1,045,494
2. Basketball 545,497
3. Track and Field - Outdoor 516,703
4. Baseball 459,717
5. Soccer 354,587
6. Wrestling 243,009
7. Cross Country 201,719
8. Golf 161,025
9. Tennis 148,530
10. Swimming & Diving 103,754

1. Basketball 17,482
2. Track and Field - Outdoor 15,294
3. Baseball 15,161
4. Football - 11-Player 13,671
5. Golf 13,152
6. Cross Country 12,727
7. Soccer 10,392
8. Wrestling 9,562
9. Tennis 9,426
10. Swimming & Diving 5,878


1. Basketball 456,543
2. Track and Field - Outdoor 428,198
3. Volleyball 386,022
4. Softball - Fast Pitch 364,759
5. Soccer 316,104
6. Cross Country 170,450
7. Tennis 169,292
8. Swimming & Diving 148,154
9. Competitive Spirit Squad 84,416
10. Golf 64,245

1. Basketball 17,175
2. Track and Field - Outdoor 15,213
3. Volleyball 14,526
4. Softball - Fast Pitch 14,493
5. Cross Country 12,345
6. Soccer 9,695
7. Tennis 9,646
8. Golf 8,249
9. Swimming & Diving 6,238
10. Competitive Spirit Squads 3,482
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