The National Federation of State High
School Associations (NFHS) reports that
track and field is the largest and fast-
est-growing sport among high schoolers.
The 2015-16 High School Athletics Par-
ticipation Survey indicated that track and
field was second only to football among
boys with 591,133 participants and remains
the most popular sport among girls with
The survey showed that the sport reg-
istered the largest increase for both boys
and girls with 12,501 boys and 7,243 girls
adding to track and field numbers last year.
Jill Geer, chief marketing officer for
USA Track & Field (USATF), credited the
sport's accessibility as part of the reason for
"Even though track is an individual sport,
there is great camaraderie between team-
mates during those afternoon practices,"
Geer said. "It is also the most accessible
sport in the world. All you need is a pair of
shoes, shorts and a shirt and you can com-
pete in track and field. You don't even need
a track in order to train or practice, so there
are extremely few barriers to participation."
But its popularity is more than just a
numbers game fueled by accessibility, ac-
cording to Becky Oakes, director of sports
for the NFHS.
"High school track and field is also a
sport where good sporting conduct and
respect is just a part of the competition with
our athletes, coaches, officials and spec-
tators," Oakes said. "It is the 'norm,' not
the 'exception' and this contributes to the
enjoyment of the sport." ►