SportsEvents Magazine

MAR 2017

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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Page 46 of 75 March 2017 47 t SPORT Report 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 485,969 participants. 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 its popularity. "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." ►

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