LEXINGTON - Despite the consolidation of three schools prior to the 2013-14 academic year, participation across Kentucky rose by 2.4 percent in 2013-14, with nearly 50,000 student-athletes occupying a total of 78,687 roster spots on KHSAA-sponsored sport and sport-activity teams. Football remains the most popular sport in the state in terms of individual participation, with 13,801 competitors (13 girls) playing for 221 schools – an increase of 486 students over the prior year.
The sport-activities of Archery, Bass Fishing and Bowling all saw significant growth in 2013-14. In their second years as KHSAA-sponsored activities, Archery and Bass Fishing were added by 30 and 14 additional schools, respectively. Student participation grew by 34.9 percent in Archery, with an increase of 1,051 students bringing the total participation to 3,012 student-athletes. Bass Fishing, meanwhile, saw a 78 percent increase in individual participation, as the number of student-athletes rose from 346 in 2012-13 to 616 in 2013-14.
Bowling also saw a rise in its numbers during its third season as a KHSAA-sponsored activity, as 12 schools added the program to their offering, helping the sport see a growth 13.1 percent with an additional 212 student-athletes bringing the total participation to 1,831 competitors. Competitive Cheer enjoyed a strong showing in its second season as a KHSAA-sponsored activity, finishing with 5,535 total participants (207 boys) while ranking as the sixth most popular offering for girls.
In terms of total competitors, basketball ranks second in the state with 12,163 participants (a decrease of 70 students from 2012-13), followed by track and field (11,706), soccer (11,460), baseball (7,359) and volleyball (6,131).
Basketball is the most-sponsored sport across Kentucky, with 275 of a possible 277 schools fielding teams last season. Softball ranks second in the state with 262 teams, followed by baseball (261), volleyball (259), track and field (254) and competitive cheer (251).
After football (13,788), baseball was the most popular sport for boys with 7,354 participants, followed by basketball (6,716), track and field (6,369) and soccer (5,894). Volleyball remained the most popular sport on the girls’ side with 6,125 participants, followed by softball (5,886), soccer (5,566) and basketball (5,447).
The upcoming 2014-15 season will mark the debut of field hockey as a KHSAA-sponsored sport, giving the Association 13 total sports and four sport-activities, for which it conducts 43 state championships.