With the school year right around the corner, many athletes who participate in fall sports are already hitting the practice field in record numbers. For the fourth consecutive year, California high school sports participation is at an all-time high, with 779,256 student-athletes participating throughout the state.
There were noticeable increases across both genders.
Volleyball saw the largest percentage increase, a combined 5.59 percent or 3,260 more participants (3.93 percent or 1,640 increase for girls; 9.79 percent or 1,620 for boys), followed by soccer with a 5.24 percent increase or 4,928 more participants (4.39 percent or 1,969 increase for girls; 6.0 percent or 2,959 increase for boys). Additionally, girls’ wrestling participation continues to increase, this year by 48.1 percent as 1,334 more girls are competing in the sport for 4,105 total participants as of 2016.
Football continues to lead the top 10 boys’ sports with 100,205 participants, but that is a decrease by 3.39 percent (3,520 participants), for the first time since 2013. Track and field (55,877) is the second most popular sport, which increased participation by 1.85 percent since 2015 followed by soccer (52,266); basketball (45,685) and baseball (44,131) round out the top five boys’ sports. Additionally for the second consecutive year, boys’ volleyball finishes out the top 10 boys’ sports with 18,173 participants.
For girls, soccer captured the top spot the first time since 2007 with 46,778 participants, ousting the former top 10 leader track and field (45,974 participants for a 1.19 percent or 541 increase). Volleyball still trails a close third (43,423), which increased participation by 3.93 percent since 2015, followed by basketball (34,386) and softball (33,366).