According to the 2014-15 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the number of student-athletes in Washington state rose to 160,245, the WIAA announced Wednesday.
The Evergreen State’s student participation was 787 more than 2013-14 and kept Washington in 17th place out of the 51 State Associations in total participants.
“I commend our school coaches and administrators for providing a broad range of activities for a diverse student population,” WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. “The data and the trends that we see have a positive outlook for high school activities and athletics in this state.”
In boys athletics (92,160), Washington increased 600 participants with the largest difference coming from Track and Field (13,539), which saw 534 more participants than the previous year. Baseball also had a major influx in participation with 9,595, an increase of 348. Football (22,090) was next with 179, while Basketball (11,145) had 83.
On the girls side, the Association reported 68,085 participants, a gain of 187. Seven sports increased from last year’s numbers with Softball (7,416) leading the way with an increase of 566. Track and Field (10,163) had the next largest growth with 175 competitors, and Tennis (7,174) rounded out the top three with 145.
At the national level, girls participation set an all-time mark of 3,287,735, while the boys reported 4,519,312 student-athlete participants. Among the top 10 boys sports, Soccer registered the largest gain with an additional 15,150 participants, while Wrestling (11,306) and 11-player Football (9,617) had the largest declines in participation. Besides Soccer, other top 10 boys sports that had increases in the number of participants were Baseball (3,938) and Basketball (425).
Six of the top 10 girls sports registered national increases in participation this past year, led by Competitive Spirit Squads (5,170 additional participants) and Cross Country (3,495). While Track and Field remained the number one sport for girls with 478,726 participants, Volleyball (432,176) moved ahead of Basketball (429,504) to secure the second spot. Ten years ago, Basketball was ranked first for girls, followed by Track and Field, then Volleyball.