NFHS reports high school wrestling participation up for boys and girls in all categories for 2018-19

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 26, 2019, 12:03 p.m. (ET)
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has released its 2018-19 High School Participation Survey, and the sport of wrestling has grown in all five categories reported.

This is the second straight year that high school wrestling has grown in all categories.

This growth in wrestling has occurred while overall participation in all high school sports has declined, the first overall decline in 30 years.

The biggest jump within wrestling came in girls wrestling, which grew for its 30th straight year.

There were 21,124 girls participants in 2018-19, an increase of 4,562 athletes from the year before. This is a tremendous 27.5% increase from last year.

The number of schools with girls wrestling climbed to 2,890, an increase of 539 schools. This marks a 22.9% increase from the previous year.

Girls high school wrestling has climbed to the No. 17 most popular high school sport for girls. There are currently 18 state high school associations which have developed or announced official girls high school wrestling championships, an increase from just six two seasons ago.

Boys high school wrestling remained the No. 7 sport among boys on the high school level in terms of participants, and the No. 8 sport for boys in terms of number of schools.

For the second straight year, boys high school wrestling grew in terms of participants and teams. Prior to these two years of growth, boys wrestling had declined for six straight years.

In 2018-19, boys high school wrestling grew to 247,441 athletes, an increase of 1,877 athletes from last year. Among the top 10 participation sports for boys, wrestling saw the third biggest increase, behind only track and soccer.

The number of boys wrestling teams for 2018-19 grew to 10,843, up 68 teams from the previous year.

The combined number of high school wrestlers, including both boys and girls, grew to 268,565, an increase of 6,439 athletes, which comes in at a 2.5% growth.

The top 10 states for boys wrestling participation are: 1. California (22,602); 2. Illinois (14,170); 3. New York (11,184); 4. Texas (10,998); 5. Ohio (10,313); 6. New Jersey (9,648); 7. Pennsylvania (9,460); 8. Washington (9,251); 9. Michigan (9,167); 10. Minnesota (8,058)

The top 10 states for girls wrestling participation, from states that report to the NFHS, are: 1. California (6,014); 2. Texas (4,421); 3. Washington (1,864); 4. Missouri (956); 5. Illinois (676); 6. Hawaii (620); 7. Oregon (597); 8. Arizona (481); 9. New Jersey (477); 10. Florida (475)

Note: These states don't report their girls high school wrestling statistics: Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin

TEN MOST POPULAR BOYS PROGRAMS

Participants
1. Football - 11-player, 1,006,013
2. Track and Field - Outdoor, 605,354
3. Basketball, 540,769
4. Baseball, 482,740
5. Soccer, 459,077
6. Cross Country, 269,295
7. Wrestling, 247,441
8. Tennis, 159,314
9. Golf, 143,200
10. Swimming and Diving, 136,638

Schools
1. Basketball, 18,617
2. Track and Field - Outdoor, 17,052
3. Baseball, 16,170
4. Cross Country, 15,632
5. Football - 11-player, 14,247
6. Golf, 13,590
7. Soccer, 12,552
8. Wrestling, 10,843
9. Tennis, 9,809
10. Swimming and Diving, 7,704

The complete 2018-19 High School Athletics Participation Survey is available via the following link:
https://www.nfhs.org/media/1020406/2018-19-participation-survey.pdf