most popular high school sports

Top 10 Most Popular High School Sports in America

Most popular high school sports: There are many high school sports for students to pick from in the fall, winter, and spring, but the ones that garner the most attention are the ones that are the most widely played. They draw the largest crowds on game days in addition to having the highest levels of student participation.

The most famous high school sports are those with the most participants each year, both males and girls together. No matter what state or town you live in, high school kids will often have access to the most popular sports in high school.

Here is the list of the top 10 most popular high school sports by the state in America. The study includes information on 69 sports, 16 adapted sports, and 16 unified sports from 50 member states and the District of Columbia.

Most Popular High School Sports in America


most popular sports in american high schools

There was a 3% decline in 11-player football participation (1,006,013 to 973,792) but a 13% rise in 6-, 8-, and 9-player football participation when it was given. Those modified formats were offered by more schools (from 1,563 to 1,790), whereas 11-player football was offered by fewer schools (14,247 to 13,733).

Girls’ participation in tackle football increased across the board by 39% (2,604 to 3,633), while their participation in flag football increased by 40%. (11,209 to 15,716).

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Girls’ volleyball

Girls' volleyball

Only one of the top 10 most popular high school sports, girls’ volleyball, has seen its popularity increase from 2019–20. With 454,153 players, volleyball has overtaken outdoor track and field as the second most popular sport among females. Participation in boys’ volleyball increased by 4.6% as well.


most popular high school sport

The number of players in golf increased across the board, with boys’ participation increasing by 4% to 148,585 players and girls’ participation increasing by 1% to 80,829 players.

Boys and girls both like playing golf in high school, which often begins in the spring or ends in the fall. In reality, it is barely outside the top ten for girls and ranks as the sixth most popular sport for guys. Texas, California, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania are the states where it is most common.

Girls’ wrestling

most popular sports in high school

It is one of the most popular sports in American high schools. In 32 states, there are now separate state wrestling championships for girls. According to the poll, it is indicated that participation in girls’ wrestling increased by 50% (from 21,124 to 31,654). The number of boys’ wrestling matches dropped by 6%.

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The smallest decline among the top ten boys’ sports was seen in baseball. A total of 481,044 participants instead of 482,740 were present. Baseball is still the third most popular boys’ sport, after basketball, outdoor track, and football.

Basketball has its presence in more high schools than any other sport, and it would feature many more players if the rosters were bigger. Instead, it ranks as one of the most popular high school sports among girls and boys. Texas and California have the most participation.



Badminton is a distinct and enjoyable activity that is primary in the fall for girls and boys in high school. The two states with the highest badminton popularity are California and Illinois, but it is also widely played in Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Arizona, and Minnesota.

Water Polo

Water Polo

In the most popular high school sports list, water polo is a winter sport that often attracts an equal number of boys and girls. California dominates high school water polo with 16,568 girl competitors and 17,304 boy participants. In Illinois and Florida, it’s also dominant in many high schools.

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Ice hockey

what is the most popular high school sport

A well-liked sport that is typically performed in the winter is ice hockey. Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin are heavily represented in the sport. It is no accident that some of the top institutions for hockey are located in those states.



Many individuals visit their neighborhood bowling alley for recreation, but tens of thousands of high school students go there for competition. The states with the highest popularity are Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Alabama, and Iowa. It is typically played during the winter months.

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Swimming and diving

most popular high school sports in america

Swimming and diving are the eighth and tenth most popular high school sports, respectively, for girls and boys. The states with the highest attendance are California, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, Georgia, and Illinois. It often occurs in the spring.


So, what are the most popular high school sports in America? Growing up, every one of us had a favorite high school sport. It provided us with something to look forward to, gave us something to keep us sane during the school year. And it is where we met most of our friends who helped teach us a variety of principles through life.

Are there other sports that you think it is among the most popular high school sports in your area? If so, let us know in the comment below, we are happy to hear from you. 

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