Enrollment changes in WPIAL wrestling makes Class 2A larger

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 | 7:36 PM

Football and basketball aren’t the only high school sports will see major changes for the next two seasons because of new enrollment figures.

Class 3A in WPIAL wrestling is losing seven teams to Class 2A.

Heading down are Greensburg Salem, Belle Vernon, Albert Gallatin, Beaver, Hampton, Highlands and Indiana. Waynesburg and Woodland Hills also have Class 2A enrollments, but both schools have elected to stay in Class 3A.

So what does that mean for the WPIAL? There are now 45 teams in Class 2A and only 38 in Class 3A.

Qualifying numbers for individual and team championships may change drastically.

“I really haven’t looked into it yet,” Canon-McMillan athletic director and WPIAL wrestling committee chairman Frank Vulcano Jr. said. “It’s something that we will discuss. I’m not sure how it will affect the postseason.”

Currently, in Class 3A, the WPIAL sends four individuals in each weight class to the PIAA tournament. In Class 2A, it sends seven wrestlers at each weight to the Class 2A Southwest Regional. The WPIAL also qualifies four teams to the state tournament in Class 3A and three in Class 2A.

Vulcano was unsure how the enrollment changes would impact the PIAA qualification process or if WPIAL Class 2A teams would get their own regional tournament.

Greensburg Salem coach Randy Parsley said dropping down could help his program. The Golden Lions only have nine wrestlers on the varsity roster and 15 on the middle school roster.

“We’re hoping the drop down will help the program,” Parsley said. “It’s not any easier in Class 2A, but at least we should be able to compete against some of the teams.”

Greensburg Salem probably would be in a section with Derry, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland, Yough, Burrell and maybe Belle Vernon.

Greensburg Salem athletic director Frank Sundry said getting kids interested in wrestling again is the goal.

Greensburg Salem recently recorded its 800th victory in school history and numerous wresters have won state and WPIAL titles.

“We have to get the numbers built up again in the youth groups,” Sundry said. “I know Billy (McChesney) has gone down to the middle school and worked with kids.”

Parsley said covid-19 is one reason kids aren’t wrestling. He also said more kids are getting jobs.

Belle Vernon coach Bob Bove said he too hopes the move down will help the program. The Leopards also are hurting for depth.

Kiski Area athletic director John Peterman said he was a little surprised that Woodland Hills decided to continue in Class 3A. Peterman also is on the wrestling committee.

“I’d worry that we might lose a qualifier in Class 3A,” Peterman said. “But it might only be for two years. Some of the schools may return to Class 3A during the next cycle.”

Parsley said his team probably wouldn’t be able to compete against the larger schools, but he still hopes to wrestle Hempfield.

“Depending on how large they make the sections will determine who we’ll be able to schedule,” Parsley said. “It won’t change if we’re in a smaller section. We’d still like to go to some of the dual tournaments.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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