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Wrestling continues to grow on the high school level



Wrestling continues to grown on the high school level, according to statistics released for the 1999-2000 school year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Wrestling grew in every category, with more boys competitors, girls competitors and teams than the previous season. It was the sixth straight year that the total number of wrestling competitors and teams has grown nationally. In addition, wrestling remains one of the most popular sports for boys, according to the survey. Wrestling was ranked No. 6 in the number of boys participants with 239,105 total participants in the nation. Only football, basketball, outdoor track and field, baseball and soccer had more boys participants than wrestling. The number of boys wrestlers on the high school level increased by 3,132 from the previous year, increase of 1.3 percent. Wrestling was ranked No. 9 in the number of boys programs, with 9,046 wrestling teams in the United States. Wrestling was ranked behind basketball, outdoor track and field, baseball, football, golf, cross country, tennis and soccer in total number of programs. The number of boys wrestling teams increased by 24 programs last year. Girls wrestling continued its growth trend of recent years as well. According to the survey, the number of girls in high school wrestling grew to 2,474 participants, up from 2,361 during the 1998-99 year. This increase of 113 girls participants represents a 4.7 percent increase. In addition, the number of wrestling teams with girls participating showed an increase again. In 1998-99, 661 high schools had girls involved in wrestling, but the 1999-2000, the total grew to 734 programs. The top 10 states for wrestling participants were California (23,858), Ohio (13,494), Illinois (13,118), New York (12,095), Michigan (11,935), Minnesota (9,242), New Jersey (9,026), Indiana (8,749), Washington (8,503) and Pennsylvania (8,424). Based on figures from the 51 state high school athletic/activity associations, participation in all high school athletics during 1999-2000 was 6,556,912, an increase of 56,614 from the previous year. This sets the all-time record for high school sports participation, exceeding the previous high set last year. Total participation increased for both boys and girls during the year. Data from the 1999-2000 survey indicated another record participation for girls at 2,675,974, an increase of 23,248 from the previous year. Boys participation also increased, up 29,397, to 3,861,749, the highest mark for boys since 1977-78. The NFHS has compiled the survey since 1971 based on figures from its 51 member state associations. With the exception of a slight decrease from 1987-88 to 1988-89, participation has risen each year since the 1983-84 year. In the listing of total athletic participants by state, Texas remains No. 1 with 783,437, followed by California (604,297), New York (328,954), Ohio (295,526), Michigan (286,978), Illinois (279,957), Pennsylvania (234,932), Minnesota (222,538), New Jersey (216,607) and Florida (196,885).
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