🏈 Roughly 70% of NJ high schoolers participate in school sports

⚽ There are over 30 sports sanctioned at the HS level

🏀 Many trending sports are played at NJ schools that made a new ‘best of’ list

If it seems like there are more sporting events than ever for teen athletes at high schools around New Jersey — it’s because there are.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association oversees competition for roughly 440 public and private high schools, and carries out tournaments and crowns champions in 33 sports — the newest of which has been girls’ ice hockey.

In March, the team at Morristown-Beard skated to this year’s state championship.

The sport has been in a pilot program, according to NJSIAA spokesperson Mike Cherenson, who said that "approving it as a sanctioned sport will be up for a vote at the May 2024 annual meeting."

Activity in both girls’ sports was seen among schools that made it into a recent top 25 compiled by Stacker, using data from Niche.

Cedar Creek HS (Google Maps)
Cedar Creek HS (Google Maps)

Among the “best high schools for sports across New Jersey” — at least a third of them already have added girls’ ice hockey programs.

Some schools that ranked high on the list have a storied history of championships or athletes turned pro — sending the hopes of current NJ student athletes soaring.

Delbarton (Google Maps)
Delbarton (Google Maps)

Factors in developing the list included K-12 sports championships, number of sports, parent and student surveys on sports, total high school enrollment and athletic participation rates.

These are the best NJ high schools for sports

Stacker put together a list of the best high schools for sports across New Jersey — using data from Niche that included sports championships, family surveys, student enrollment, athletic participation rate and sports options. Here's the top 25.

In the 2019-2020 school year, there were 401,924 high school students enrolled as of the fall, according to state data from the Department of Education.

The NJSIAA Executive Director said there were roughly 285,000 student-athletes amid the organization’s ranks that same year — putting athletic participation above 70% of all NJ high schoolers, even three years ago.

From 2021-2022, high school enrollment was slightly higher — 403,974 students — while the number of NJ teens playing a sport while at school was 264,139, according to parent and athlete surveys from the same year.

Sports already sanctioned by the NJSIAA were the following:

Girls: basketball, bowling, cross country, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, outdoor track, winter track, volleyball and wrestling.

Boys: baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, fencing, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, outdoor track, winter track, volleyball and wrestling.

Middletown HS South (Google Maps)
Middletown HS South (Google Maps)

Another sport quickly on the rise in NJ has been girls’ flag football.

“NJSIAA is aware of the 80+ teams participating this spring across all five football leagues and conferences,” Cherenson also said.

“While there are no formal proposals for sanctioning flag football, the association is actively collecting participation data, getting feedback from participating schools and meeting with key stakeholders across all five football leagues and conferences to monitor and consider next steps.”


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