The oldest and greatest sport continues to welcome growing numbers of participants at the high school level.
The number of girls and boys participating in high school wrestling showed continued growth during the 2018-19 school year, bucking a trend of lower participation rates in high school sports overall, according to a report issued by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) on Monday.
Boys’ wrestling was one of four sports ranked among the top ten to see an increase in the number of participants. During the 2018-19 school year, 1,877 more boys went out for high school wrestling than in the previous year. (247,411 boy wrestlers in high school during the 2018-19 school year vs. 245,564 in 2017-18.)
Girls’ wrestling continued to see incredible growth. This past school year, 4,562 more girls participated in high school wrestling than in the previous academic year — a 27% increase in just one year. (21,124 girls wrestled in high school in the 2018-19 school year compared to 16,562 in 2017-18.)
These growth trends in boys’ and girls’ wrestling counter an overall decline in sports participation levels. During the 2018-19 school year, 7,937,491 high school students participated in sports … a decline of 43,395 from the 2017-18 school year. This is the first decline in overall participation levels since the 1988-89 school year.
The biggest contributors to the decline: football and basketball, each seeing fewer participants.
This year’s survey — officially titled the 2018-19 High School Athletics Participation Survey, conducted by the NFHS — indicated participation by high school students in 70 different sports, as well as 14 adapted sports for students with disabilities. The survey has been conducted each year since 1971-72.