High School Sports

Record numbers playing KHSAA sports; see which are growing fastest

Herald-Leader Staff Report

Taylor County's Dylan Gaines shoots against Doss in the quarterfinals of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Sweet 16 boys' state basketball championship in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 18, 2016.
Taylor County's Dylan Gaines shoots against Doss in the quarterfinals of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Sweet 16 boys' state basketball championship in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 18, 2016.

A record 79,805 students participated in high school sports during the 2015-16 school year, the KHSAA said Tuesday.

That marked the fourth consecutive year in which participation levels increased.

Football was the most popular sport, with 14,336 competitors. Next came basketball with 12,626, soccer with 12,501 and track and field with 11,650.

Soccer is the state’s fastest-growing sport, with an increase of 461 participants over the previous year, followed by football with 370 and basketball with 353.

Basketball boasted the largest number of teams, with 275 of a possible 277 schools fielding squads last year. Baseball, softball and volleyball were next with 259 schools apiece.

The KHSAA sponsored 17 sports in 2015-16. Aided by the addition of archery, bass fishing, bowling, competitive cheer and field hockey, participation has increased by 7 percent over the past four years with an added 5,210 participating in KHSAA-sponsored activities since the 2012-13 season. Football (1,021) and soccer (877) have seen the largest increases in participants since 2012-13.

After football, baseball was the most popular sport for boys with 7,499 participants in 2015-16, followed by basketball (6,716), track and field (7,144) and soccer (6,485). Volleyball was the most popular sport for girls with 6,366 participants, followed by soccer (6,016), softball (5,846) and basketball (5,482).

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