By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Football still county's most popular high school sport
FCN PARTICIPATION 070316 web
Football was again the most popular high school sport in Forsyth County this school year with 756 athletes, an increase of 97 from the previous season. - photo by Micah Green

Spring is the most stressful time for Forsyth County high school athletic directors. Too many teams, not enough space.

It doesn’t look like their jobs are going to get easier any time soon.

Forsyth County’s high school participation grew by almost 300 athletes this past school year, according to data provided by athletic directors from the county’s six Georgia High School Association member schools.

Every spring, GHSA-member schools are required to provide participation numbers, which the state’s leading athletic organization has been collecting since the 1988. The GHSA submits the data to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Here are a few interesting things from this past school year’s data:

Football is still king

Never underestimate the South’s devotion to football.

The sport was once against tops in participation in the county in 2015-16. Almost 100 more high school male athletes played the sport this past school year than the year before.

No school saw the difference more than Forsyth Central. The Bulldogs went from 80 players in 2014-15 to 110 this past season.

Maybe the increase was due to excitement following the program’s first winning season in 13 years? Maybe it was the prospect of joining Class 7A next school year in a region with the rest of the county’s public high schools?

Or maybe, according to Central athletic director Dan Kaplan, it was much simpler.

“Just the growth of our school,” Kaplan said. “Two, three years ago I think we were at 1,800 students. Now we’re pushing 2,400. So I think just the sheer growth of students coming into our school is filtering into all of our programs and we’re seeing an increased amount of participation in all our sports.”

Burst on the track

While football saw healthy gains, track and field saw even more.

The sport jumped from 504 athletes in 2014-15 to 680 this past season, an increase of 176 athletes.

The increase was mostly fueled on the girls side, where several teams almost doubled in size in just one school year. Central’s girls team went from 29 to 50. North went from 28 to 57 (although North’s most recent data was from the 2013-14 school year).

Lambert’s increase was striking; the Lady Longhorns team went from 55 athletes in 2014-15 to 95 this past season.

“[Lambert track and field coach] John McCormick has done a fantastic job of getting kids involved,” Lambert athletic director Drew Ferrer said. “Track is one of those sports, like cross country and even swimming, where it can be a very inclusive type of sport.”

Breaking 1,000

Speaking of Lambert, the Longhorns crossed the threshold of 1,000 athletes this school year, going from 988 in 2014-15 to 1,133 in 2015-16.

And Lambert won’t be alone for long. South’s athletic program grew to 997 athletes. West’s grew to 925.

All hands on deck

Pinecrest Academy, of course, will probably never reach the same level of participation as Lambert, South or West, and that’s by design. Pinecrest had 283 high school students in 2015-16.

But of those students, 230 participated in a sport this past school year, or 81.3 percent of its high school population.

“I think we’re getting more and more students now because the public schools are big – so big – that I think families are realizing that if they want their son or daughter to have the whole experience of high school, they can send them somewhere smaller and they can play,” Pinecrest athletic director Chris Kane said. “… At Pinecrest you have opportunity. I think that’s attractive to people. We’re in an age where youth sports are becoming so professionalized. People are looking to sort of back off and say, Hey, go do want you want. If you want to try two sports, try two sports.”

Number of high school athletes in Forsyth County, by school

Lambert 1,133

South 997

West 925

North 787

Central 767

Pinecrest 297

Number of high school boy athletes, by school

Lambert 635

South 619

West 562

North 470

Central 467

Pinecrest 171

Number of high school girl athletes, by school

Lambert 498

South 378

West 363

North 317

Central 300

Pinecrest 126

Baseball

West 59

Central 57

South 56

Lambert 55

North 53

Pinecrest 24

Boys basketball 

Lambert 52

Central 43

North 38

West 37

South 36

Pinecrest 16

Girls basketball 

Lambert 36

North 32

West 30

South 26

Central 19

Pinecrest 10

Competition cheer 

Lambert 38

West 35

Central 32

South 32

North 28

Pinecrest 20

Boys cross country

West 46

Lambert 42

South 39

Central 35

North 28

Pinecrest 13

Girls cross country

Lambert 58

West 42

South 35

North 27

Central 20

Pinecrest 16

Football

South 170

Lambert 165

West 146

North 124

Central 110

Pinecrest 41

Boys golf 

South 16

Central 14

Lambert 14

West 14

North 12

Pinecrest 8

Girls golf

Lambert 10

West 7

North 6

South 6

Central 3

Pinecrest 0

Gymnastics

Central 15

West 13

Lambert 12

South 9

North 0

Pinecrest 0

Boys lacrosse 

Lambert 82

South 77

West 66

North 53

Central 40

Pinecrest 29

Girls lacrosse 

Lambert 65

South 43

West 41

North 34

Central 27

Pinecrest 23

Boys soccer

West 40

Central 39

Lambert 34

North 33

South 32

Pinecrest 23

Girls soccer 

Central 39

West 36

North 34

Lambert 32

South 31

Pinecrest 19

Softball

Central 36

Lambert 36

West 31

North 26

South 22

Pinecrest 0

Boys swim/dive

Lambert 40

South 35

West 24

Central 22

North 20

Pinecrest 7

Girls swim/dive

Lambert 60

South 50

Central 28

West 27

North 24

Pinecrest 10

Boys riflery

North 2

West 0

Central 0

Lambert 0

Pinecrest 0

South 0

Girls riflery

North 4

West 0

Central 0

Lambert 0

Pinecrest 0

South 0

Boys tennis

Lambert 24

South 24

Central 14

North 12

Pinecrest 10

West 10

Girls tennis 

South 25

Lambert 24

Central 15

North 14

Pinecrest 11

West 10

Boys track and field

South 85

West 81

Lambert 79

North 63

Central 61

Pinecrest 0

Girls track and field

Lambert 95

North 57

West 55

South 54

Central 50

Pinecrest 0

Volleyball

South 42

West 36

North 34

Lambert 32

Central 24

Pinecrest 17

Weightlifting

West 0

North 0

Central 0

Pinecrest 0

South 0

Wrestling

South 49

Lambert 48

West 39

North 29

Central 24

Pinecrest 10