As the 2018-19 high school sports season begins, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) reports participation is at a record high nationally but it is  down slightly here in the state of Maine.

The NFHS has released statistics from the 2017-18 year and they show 7.979,986 boys and girls played high school sports across the country. An increase of more than 16,000 over the previous year.

In Maine, the total number (51,849) of high schoolers playing sports was down by 512 from the previous year.

While, football (boys) and outdoor track & field (girls) lead in total numbers nationally, in Maine, soccer leads the way in participation in both boys and girls.

27.693 boys played high school sports in Maine in the 2017-2018 season. That's down 361 from the previous year. Check out the top five boys sports and up/down from previous year...

1. Soccer:  4,255  (up 43)

2. Basketball:  3,536  (down 87)

3. Football:  3,443  (down 188)

4. Baseball:  3,086  (down 119)

5. Track&Field/Outdoor:  2,858  (down 46)

Sports Radio 92.9 The Ticket / File Photo

24,156 girls played high school sports in 2017-2018. That's down 151 participants from the previous year.

Check out the top five sports girls sports in Maine and up/down from previous year...

1.  Soccer:  3,665  (up 62)

2.  Basketball:  2,662  (down 130)

3.  Softball:  2,631  (even)

4.  Track&Field/Outdoor:  2,544  (down 14)

5.  Field Hockey:  2,250  (up 37)

NOTE: The Maine Principals' Association is a member of the NFHS. Check out the full breakdown on high school participation in Maine and nationally by clicking here...