Participation in high-school athletics has increased 11 percent since 2011, with a total of 285,020 students now competing in 32 sports, according to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Last year alone saw an increase of 5.5 percent.
The sports with the largest number of athletes are outdoor track and field, with more than 37,000 participants; soccer, with more than 33,000 participants; and football with more than 26,000 participants.
The NJSIAA said that participation has increased in less traditional ways. There are now 197 female football players; three years ago there were only three high-school players in the sport.
Female athletes have also increased their participation in wresting, with 83 participants in last year’s winter season.
The NJSIAA is the eighth-largest interscholastic athletic association and offers more championship tournaments than any other state association. It has 428 accredited public and private schools and oversees the activities of about 25,000 coaches and 11,000 officials.