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Participation in high school wrestling grows in 2005-06 according to National Federation survey

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has released its 2005-06 High School Athletics Participation Survey, and the sport of wrestling has grown in all categories studied.

The statistics for boys wrestling grew during the 2005-06 season, both in terms of number of teams and number of athletes.

In 2005-06, there were 251,534 boys competing in wrestling, an increase of 8,525 wrestlers from the previous year (a 3.5 percent increase).

In 2005-06, there were 9,744 boys wrestling teams in the nation, an increase in 182 teams from the previous year (a 1.9 percent increase).

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 number of teams.

Girls wrestling also increased in both major categories.

The number of girl wrestlers in high schools in 2005-06 grew to 4,975 athletes, an increase of 641 wrestlers from the previous year (a 14.8 percent increase)

The number of teams with girl wrestlers in 2005-06 was 1,081 teams,
an increase of 140 teams (a 14.9 percent increase).

When combining the number of boys and girls involved in wrestling in 2005-06, the total number grew to 256,509, which increased 9,166 athletes for the year. This amounts to a 3.7 percent increase in total wrestlers for the year.

For the 17th consecutive year, the number of student participants in high school athletics increased overall. There was a total of 7,159,904 students in all sports, an increase of 141,195 for the year.


1. Football - 11-player, 1,071,775
2. Basketball, 546,335
3. Track and Field - Outdoor, 533,985
4. Baseball, 470,671
5. Soccer, 358,935
6. Wrestling, 251,534
7. Cross Country, 208,303
8. Golf, 161,284
9. Tennis, 153,006
10. Swimming and Diving, 107,468

1. Basketball, 17,535
2. Track and Field - Outdoor, 15,497
3. Baseball, 15,290
4. Football - 11-player, 13,727
5. Golf, 13,267
6. Cross Country, 13,110
7. Soccer, 10,580
8. Wrestling, 9,744
9. Tennis, 9,706
10. Swimming and Diving, 6,224


Participation in High School Sports Increases Again; Confirms NFHS Commitment to Stronger Leadership

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (September 18, 2006) - For the 17th consecutive year, the number of student participants in high school athletics increased in 2005-06, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Announcement of the increase comes as the NFHS, the national leadership organization for high school athletics and fine arts activity programs, launches new initiatives toward becoming a more proactive force for the future of high school activity programs nationwide.

Based on figures from the 50 state high school athletic/activity associations, plus the District of Columbia, that are members of the NFHS, participation for the 2005-06 school year rose by 141,195 students to 7,159,904, according to the 2005-06 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS. Through the survey, it was also determined that 53.5 percent of students enrolled in high schools participate in athletics.

"We're thrilled with this year's survey results," said NFHS Executive Director Robert F. Kanaby. "The results show that even more students are participating in high school sports, which will have positive effects on their long-term personal success. The results support the NFHS 2005-2008 Strategic Plan, in which the organization committed to providing stronger leadership and support for high school athletics and fine arts activities."

For years, the NFHS has been the source of official playing rules, training programs for coaches and officials, and coordination and communications among individual state high school associations. In addition to these foundational roles, Kanaby said the NFHS will be working to gain awareness and support from state and local governments, media, corporate partners, and especially students and their parents.

"It is unfortunate that, in some cases, financial support for high school athletics and activities has been declining," Kanaby said. "Students want these programs. This latest survey shows a continuing trend toward more participation, and that's good for students and their communities. We can demonstrate that participation in athletics and activities helps students succeed in life."

In addition to the overall numbers, the girls participation total of 2,953,355 set an all-time record. The boys total also increased, reaching 4,206,549, the highest participation in the past 28 years. This year's boys participation figure is second only to the record 4,367,442 in 1977-78.

Competitive spirit squads gained the most female participants in 2005-06 with 14,154, followed by outdoor track and field with 11,002, indoor track and field with 6,265 and cross country with 5,504.

Eleven-player football gained the most participants among boys sports in 2005-06 with 26,281, followed by outdoor track and field with 17,282, baseball with 10,954 and wrestling with 8,525.

Basketball remained the most popular sport for girls with 452,929 participants, followed by outdoor track and field (439,200), volleyball (390,034), fast pitch softball (369,094), soccer (321,555), cross country (175,954), tennis (173,753), swimming and diving (147,413), competitive spirit squads (98,570) and golf (64,195).

In boys sports, 11-player football once again topped the list with 1,071,775 participants, followed by basketball (546,335), outdoor track and field (533,985), baseball (470,671), soccer (358,935), wrestling (251,534), cross country (208,303), golf (161,284), tennis (153,006) and swimming and diving (107,468).

Texas held its title as having the most sports participants with 742,341, followed by California (678,019), New York (350,349), Illinois (323,703), Michigan (321,250), Ohio (316,529), Pennsylvania (267,147), New Jersey (243,260), Florida (214,023) and Minnesota (213,476).

The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations. The complete 2005-06 Participation Survey is available on the NFHS Web site>.

About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS0

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and fine arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and fine arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 18,500 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; produces publications for high school coaches, officials and athletic directors; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, spirit coaches, speech and debate coaches and music adjudicators; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS Web site at
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