League's 2022-2023 student participation ranks 10th nationally
Posted: Tuesday, September 5, 2023 - 11:37 AM
More than 272,000 students participated in Minnesota State High School League sponsored education-based activities during the 2022-2023 school year, according to data jointly released by the League and the National Federation of State High School Associations. In data collected by the NFHS, 219,094 students from the League’s more than 500 member schools participated in League-sponsored athletic programs in 2021-2022, ranking 10th nationally. This number is an increase over 2021-2022 school year when 209,560 participated. The remainder of the League’s participation totals for 2022-2023 include data from the Fine Arts, Clay Target and Robotics.
"The increase in student participation demonstrates the value of education-based activities in our schools,” League Executive Director Erich Martens said. “The League exists to provide these opportunities for students. A doubling of the number of girls participating in wrestling and large gains in track and field participation are great examples of the strength of our programs. Because of the outstanding work of Member school administrators, coaches and others, Minnesota remains a leader in student participation.”
The greatest increase in student participation was in track and field. Boys track and field grew by 1,917 to 16,173 and girls track and field grew by 1,200 to 14,956. These sports ranked second and third behind only football for the most student participants. Football, played across seven enrollment classes, had 22,534 participants. Music had the most participants in the Fine Arts activities with 24,538. The League’s newest sport, girls wrestling more than doubled going from 275 to 537 participants.
Boys volleyball will become a sanctioned League activity in 2024-2025 providing an additional opportunity for student-participation.
Nationally, participation surpassed 7.8 million during the 2022-2023 school year, an increase of more than 240,000 from the previous school year. This is the second year since the global pandemic that the NFHS has compiled the national data from the 51- member state associations, which includes the District of Columbia.
Eleven-player football remained the most popular sport nationally with more than 1 million participants. The 1,028,761 football participants mark an increase of 54,969 participants from 2021-2022. It is the first increase since 2013 and just the second increase since the all-time mark of 1,112,303 in 2008-2009.
One of the sharpest increases nationally came in boys and girls wrestling. Boys wrestling jumped 10 percent to more than 256,000, the largest total since 2014-2015. Girls wrestling added 17,473 participants, a 55 percent increase from 2021-2022, to reach a record 49,127.