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In a few minutes, I will walk down the hill to cheer on the Hilltoppers at our first football game of the year. School doesn’t start until Wednesday, but all of our fall athletes have been practicing for a few weeks and will have had at least one competition by the time we’re all back in class.

Record Athletic Participation
In a survey released by the National Federation of State High School Associations, the number of student athletes has hit an all-time high — at more than 7.5 million in 2010–2011. In fact, the number of student athletes has grown for 22 years in a row.

Top 10 National High School Sports
by student participation 

Male Female
Sport # Sport #
Football 1.1M Track & Field 475K
Track & Field 579K Basketball 438K
Basketball 545K Volleyball 409K
Baseball 471K Softball 373K
Soccer 398K Soccer 361K
Wrestling 273K Cross Country 204K
Cross Country 246K Tennis 182K
Tennis 161K Swimming 160K
Golf 156K Spirit Squads 96K
Swimming 133K Lacrosse 74K

In terms of the number of schools that offer sports, basketball is the most popular for both boys and girls, followed by track and field.

Minnesota Sports
According to a report done in 2010 by our athletic director, the most popular sports for boys in Minnesota, in order of popularity, are: football, baseball, track, basketball, soccer, golf, hockey, cross country, tennis, swimming. For girls, they are: volleyball, track, basketball, softball, soccer, tennis, swimming, cross country, high kick dance, and golf.

Here at Marshall, we offer 15 different sports and support 23 different teams. Last year, track was the most popular by a wide margin.

Marshall Participation Well Above National Average
We are rightfully proud of our reputation as the most academically focused school the region. This does not mean that our students shy away from athletics. In fact, last year 84% of our students participated in at least one sport.

What does that number mean?

Well, nationally, despite a new record this year, only 55% of students participated in HS athletics.

We believe that our students learn a great deal outside of the classroom, and I’m looking forward to a great fall season.