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Greetings, high school sports fans!

Ready to cheer on your favorite teams and athletes?

Jump into our high school sports list, sorted by popularity.

From die-hard football fanatics to steadfast supporters of lesser-known sports, there’s something here for everyone!

High School Sports List

  1. Football
  2. Basketball
  3. Track and Field
  4. Soccer
  5. Baseball
  6. Volleyball
  7. Cross Country Running
  8. Wrestling
  9. Tennis
  10. Softball

#1 Football

Football

Football, or American football as it is known outside the United States, traces its origins back to the early 19th century, with the first intercollegiate game played between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869.

It is now one of the most popular sports in the US, with the National Football League (NFL) governing the professional level and the NCAA overseeing collegiate football.

High school football is a beloved tradition across the country, with representation in every state. While football is not an Olympic sport, it remains a significant part of American culture.

#2 Basketball

Basketball

Created in 1891 by Canadian physical education instructor Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, basketball has become a global phenomenon. The sport is popular in many countries, including the US, Spain, and China, among others.

At the high school level, basketball is played across the US with state and national championships held annually. Basketball has been an Olympic sport since the 1936 Berlin games.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the sport’s most prominent professional league.

#3 Track and Field

Track and Field

Track and field is a collection of sporting events involving running, jumping, and throwing, dating back to the ancient Olympic Games in 776 BC.

The sport is popular worldwide, with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) governing it. High school track and field competitions take place across the US, with state and national championships held annually.

Many track and field events have been a part of the Olympic Games since its modern inception in 1896.

#4 Soccer

Also known as football in many countries outside the US, soccer has its roots in ancient civilizations, with the most recognizable form developing in England in the 19th century.

The sport is popular worldwide, with the FΓ©dΓ©ration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) governing it. In the US, soccer has gained popularity over the years, with high school programs in nearly every state.

Soccer has been an Olympic sport since 1900, and the FIFA World Cup is one of the most-watched sporting events globally.

#5 Baseball

Baseball

Baseball’s origins date back to the mid-18th century in England, but it became America’s national pastime in the 19th century. The sport is popular in many countries, including the US, Japan, and the Dominican Republic, among others.

High school baseball is widely played across the US, culminating in state championships.

Baseball was an Olympic sport from 1992 to 2008 but returned to the Olympic program in 2020. Major League Baseball (MLB) is the main professional league.

#6 Volleyball

Volleyball

Invented by American YMCA instructor William G. Morgan in 1895, volleyball is now enjoyed in over 200 countries. The sport is popular in nations such as the US, Brazil, and China.

High school volleyball programs exist in numerous states, with state championships showcasing the best teams.

Volleyball has been an Olympic sport since the 1964 Tokyo Games, with beach volleyball, a variation of the sport, added in 1996. The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) oversees the sport globally.

#7 Cross Country Running

Cross country running

Cross country running has its origins in 19th-century England, but it has become a popular sport worldwide.

In the US, high school cross country involves athletes racing through various terrains over a designated distance, typically ranging from 2.5 to 3.1 miles.

State and national championships are held annually, showcasing the best high school runners. While cross country itself is not featured in the Olympics, many cross country athletes transition into Olympic track and field distance events.

#8 Wrestling

Wrestling

The ancient sport of wrestling dates back to the first Olympic Games in 776 BC. Today, it continues to be popular worldwide, with various styles such as Greco-Roman, freestyle, and folkstyle.

In the US, high school wrestling typically involves folkstyle (scholastic) wrestling, with state and national championships taking place annually.

Wrestling has been a part of the modern Olympic Games since 1896. United World Wrestling (UWW) is the international governing body for the sport.

#9 Tennis

Tennis

Modern tennis originated in England during the late 19th century, and it has since become a widely popular sport across the globe.

High school tennis programs are offered in many states across the US, with singles and doubles competitions at state and national championships. Tennis has been an Olympic sport since the 1896 Athens Games.

The four Grand Slam tennis tournaments (Wimbledon, US Open, Australian Open, and French Open) are the most prestigious events in the sport.

#10 Softball

Softball

Softball, a variant of baseball, was invented in the US in 1887. The sport is popular in numerous countries, with a stronghold in the US, Japan, and Australia.

High school softball programs are prevalent across the US, with state championships held annually.

Softball first became an Olympic sport in 1996 and was included in the program until 2008, returning in 2020. The International Softball Federation (ISF) oversees the sport globally.

More High School Sports

  1. Golf: Golf’s origins can be traced back to 15th-century Scotland. Today, it is popular worldwide, with major tournaments such as The Masters, US Open, The Open Championship, and PGA Championship. High school golf programs exist in many US states, with annual state championships. Golf was an Olympic sport in 1900 and 1904 and returned to the program in 2016.
  2. Swimming: Swimming has a long history, dating back to the Stone Age. It is popular worldwide, with competitive swimming events held globally. High school swimming competitions take place across the US, culminating in state championships. Swimming made its Olympic debut in 1896 and is governed by the International Swimming Federation (FINA).
  3. Cheerleading: Cheerleading originated in the US in the late 19th century as a way to support sports teams. Today, it combines elements of dance, gymnastics, and acrobatics. High school cheer programs exist throughout the US, with regional and national championships showcasing the best teams. Although not an Olympic sport, cheerleading is recognized by the International Cheer Union (ICU).
  4. Lacrosse: Lacrosse has its origins in Native American and First Nation cultures. Modern lacrosse is popular in the US, Canada, and Australia. High school lacrosse programs are prevalent throughout the US, with state championships held in applicable regions. The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) oversees the sport, but it is not currently an Olympic sport.
  5. Field Hockey: Field hockey is believed to have ancient origins, with modern rules developed in England during the 18th century. The sport is popular in Europe, Asia, and Oceania. High school field hockey programs exist in many US states, with state championships showcasing top competitors. Field hockey has been an Olympic sport since the 1908 London Games.
  6. Gymnastics: Gymnastics dates back to ancient Greece, where it was practiced as a form of physical training. The sport is popular worldwide, with various disciplines such as artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline. High school gymnastics programs are available in many US states, with state championships occurring annually. Gymnastics has been a part of the Olympic Games since 1896, governed by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
  7. Ice Hockey: Ice hockey originated in Canada in the 19th century and is popular in countries such as the US, Sweden, and Russia. High school ice hockey programs exist throughout the US, particularly in colder climates, with state championships showcasing the best teams. Ice hockey has been an Olympic sport since the 1920 Games, and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) governs the sport.
  8. Water Polo: Water polo was developed in England and Scotland in the late 19th century. It is popular in countries such as the US, Hungary, and Italy. High school water polo programs are prevalent in many US states, with state championships held annually. Water polo has been an Olympic sport since the 1900 Paris Games and is governed by the International Swimming Federation (FINA).
  9. Rugby: Rugby originated in England during the early 19th century. The sport is popular worldwide, particularly in countries such as New Zealand, England, and South Africa. Some US high schools offer rugby programs, with regional and national championships. Rugby sevens, a variant of rugby, is part of the Olympic program, first included in the 2016 Rio Games.
  10. Ultimate Frisbee: Ultimate Frisbee was invented in the US in the late 1960s as a non-contact, self-officiated sport. High school ultimate programs exist in various US states, with state and national championships held annually. Although not an Olympic sport, the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) oversees ultimate frisbee competitions.
  11. Badminton: Badminton’s origins can be traced back to India in the 19th century. It is popular worldwide, particularly in countries such as China, Indonesia, and Denmark. Some US high schools offer badminton programs, with regional and state championships held annually. Badminton has been an Olympic sport since the 1992 Barcelona Games, governed by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
  12. Table Tennis: Table tennis, or ping pong, originated in Victorian England and has become popular globally. High school table tennis programs and club competitions exist in various US states. Table tennis has been an Olympic sport since the 1988 Seoul Games, with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) governing the sport.
  13. Fencing: The sport of fencing has roots in ancient civilizations but gained prominence in Europe during the 15th century. Fencing is popular in countries such as Italy, Russia, and France. Some US high schools offer fencing programs, with state and national championships held annually. Fencing has been a part of the Olympic Games since 1896, governed by the International Fencing Federation (FIE).
  14. Skiing: Skiing dates back thousands of years, with various disciplines such as alpine, cross-country, freestyle, and Nordic combined. High schools in colder climates may offer skiing programs, with competitions held at the regional and state levels. Skiing has been an Olympic sport since the first Winter Olympics in 1924, overseen by the International Ski Federation (FIS).
  15. Archery: Archery has ancient origins in hunting and warfare, and today is a popular competitive and recreational sport. Some US high schools offer archery programs, with state and national championships held annually. Archery has been an Olympic sport since the 1900 Paris Games (with gaps), and the World Archery Federation (WA) governs the sport.
  16. Bowling: Bowling has roots in ancient Egypt but gained popularity in the US and Europe during the 20th century. Several US high schools offer bowling programs, with state championships held annually. While not an Olympic sport, bowling is governed by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) and the International Bowling Federation (IBF).
  17. Cycling: Cycling has a long history dating back to the 19th century. It is a popular sport in countries such as France, Spain, and Italy. Some US high schools offer cycling programs, with regional and state championships held annually. There are various disciplines, including track, road, and mountain biking, which are part of the Olympic program, governed by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
  18. Equestrian: Equestrian sports involve horse riding and have ancient origins in civilizations such as ancient Greece and Rome. High school equestrian programs are available in some US states, with regional and national championships. Equestrian sports have been part of the Olympic Games since 1900, governed by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
  19. Martial Arts: Martial arts encompass various combat sports and disciplines originating in countries such as China, Japan, and Korea. Some US high schools offer martial arts programs, such as judo, taekwondo, and karate. Judo and taekwondo have been Olympic sports since 1964 and 2000, respectively. Various organizations govern martial arts, including the International Judo Federation (IJF) and the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
  20. Rock Climbing: Rock climbing has its roots in ancient civilizations but gained popularity as a sport in the late 19th century. Some US high schools offer rock climbing programs, with state and national championships taking place. Sport climbing made its Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games, governed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC).
  21. Sailing: Sailing is an ancient sport that involves navigating a boat using the power of wind. High school sailing programs can be found in coastal areas and large lakes. Sailing has been part of the Olympic program since the 1900 Paris Games, with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) overseeing the sport.
  22. Shooting: Shooting sports have ancient origins in hunting and warfare, but modern organized competition began in the 19th century. Some US high schools offer shooting sports programs, with state and national championships held annually. Shooting has been an Olympic sport since the 1896 Athens Games, governed by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF).
  23. Surfing: Surfing has its origins in ancient Polynesian culture, with modern counterparts popular in countries like the US, Australia, and Brazil. Although not widely available as a high school sport, some schools in coastal areas may offer programs. Surfing made its Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games, with the International Surfing Association (ISA) overseeing the sport.
  24. Triathlon: The triathlon combines swimming, cycling, and running, originating in the US in the 1970s. Triathlon programs may be available in some US high schools, with state and national championships taking place. Triathlon has been an Olympic sport since the 2000 Sydney Games, overseen by the International Triathlon Union (ITU).
  25. Weightlifting: Weightlifting has ancient roots in strength training and competitive displays. It is popular worldwide, with high school weightlifting programs available in many US states, culminating in state championships. Weightlifting has been a part of the Olympic Games since 1896, governed by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
  26. Yoga: Yoga has origins in ancient India, but it has gained popularity as a modern practice for physical and mental wellbeing. While not a competitive sport, high school yoga classes can be found in many US schools, providing students with an option for fitness, relaxation, and stress relief. Yoga is not part of the Olympic program.

FAQ

What are the most popular high school sports?

The most popular high school sports include football, basketball, track and field, soccer, baseball, volleyball, cross country, wrestling, tennis, and softball.

How many different high school sports are there?

Our high school sports list includes 36 unique sports.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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