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High School Bowling Continues Growth

ARLINGTON, Texas - Bowling continued its growth as a high school sport in the 2008-09 school year, according to the most recent National Federation of State High School Associations participation survey.

With more than 51,000 students competing at the 4,857 schools that offered high school bowling during the 2008-09 school year, the sport saw a 2.6 percent increase over the number of competitors from the 2007-08 school year. The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations.

"With school districts having to make tough decisions about sports programs because of a tight economy, it is great to see that high school bowling has been able to continue its growth," said United States Bowling Congress Director of Youth Development Brian Graham. "The sport has consistently grown for the last decade and we expect the trend to continue as more states make bowling a varsity sport."

High school bowling has seen double-digit growth in five of the last eight seasons and the number of varsity bowlers has more than doubled this decade. This season, 19 states will have high school bowling as a varsity sport and 27 states will offer it on the club level. New Hampshire has made bowling a sanctioned sport for the 2009-10 school year, and Iowa is adding boys' bowling as a varsity sport.

"Each year more schools are finding out about the benefits of making bowling a part of their sports curriculum," said USBC High School Manager Breanne Eoff. "It is a sport that is accessible to all students and the costs to start a program are minimal compared to other sports."

USBC High School is working to continue the sport's upward trend by providing rules and instructional opportunities. USBC High School also offers a free membership program, which enables coaches to nominate outstanding bowlers to the national Dexter/USBC High School All-American Team, and provides high-score recognition to student-athletes. Coaches also receive resource materials such as the USBC High School Guide.

The complete results of the 2008-09 participation survey are available at the NFHS Web site at

Continuing its climbThe number of high school bowlers has more than doubled since the start of the decade and the sport has shown double-digit growth in five of the last eight years, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.


Top participating states

With more than 8,000 bowlers, New York has the largest number of high school competitors in bowling programs, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. The states with the highest participation in high school bowling:


1. New York, 4,630

2. Michigan, 3,690

3. Ohio, 3,641

4. New Jersey, 2,771

5. Illinois, 2,690


1. New York, 3,450

2. Illinois, 3,290

3. Ohio, 2,788

4. Michigan, 2,709

5. New Jersey, 1,857

*By Terry Bigham
USBC Communications