Franklin Regional teams gearing up for new-look conference alignments

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Saturday, July 16, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Fall sports will introduce WPIAL teams to a new two-year cycle, which means classifications and sections have been realigned.

Here’s what Franklin Regional teams will face in 2022:

Beginning with football, the Panthers will remain in the Class 5A Big East Conference, which has undergone change. It now has Franklin Regional, Gateway, Hempfield, Norwin, defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Penn-Trafford, and Plum.

Latrobe moved to Class 4A.

That means returning WPIAL and PIAA champion Penn-Trafford is back. The other regulars are Gateway, Woodland Hills, Latrobe and Connellsville.

The Panthers girls soccer team will be in one of the better Class 3A sections. They join title contenders Latrobe and Penn-Trafford, teams down from 4A, in Section 3 with Gateway, Greensburg Salem, Penn Hills and Plum, a WPIAL finalist.

Boys soccer, fresh off another section title, will be in a widely revamped Section 4-3A with newcomer McKeesport, Gateway, Latrobe, Obama Academy, Penn Hills, Penn-Trafford and Plum.

Franklin Regional girls cross country was a big mover as the Panthers runners go to Section 4 with Armstrong, Fox Chapel, Gateway, Kiski Area, Penn Hills, Plum and Woodland Hills.

The girls volleyball team joins Armstrong, Greensburg Salem, Highlands, Indiana, Kiski Area and Latrobe in Section 5-3A.

Section 1-3A will house girls tennis teams from Franklin Regional, Armstrong, Connellsville, Gateway, Hempfield, Kiski Area, Latrobe, Norwin and Penn-Trafford.

Just a couple of years removed from a WPIAL title, Franklin Regional boys golf will be in Section 4-3A, and despite not having to play Fox Chapel anymore in section, Central Catholic poses a continuous threat. Other section teams are Gateway, Kiski Area, Penn Hills, Plum and Woodland Hills.

In girls golf, Franklin Regional will be in Section 3-3A with Connellsville, Gateway, Hempfield, Indiana, Norwin and Penn-Trafford.

The WPIAL will move to a new, cumulative 36-hole format for the individual golf championships.

Qualifiers will play an 18-hole opening round, with the top 36 players and ties advancing to an 18-hole championship round a week later at a different course to determine champions.

The first practice date for golf is Aug. 8 with team play beginning Aug. 11.

The rest of the sports will begin official practice Aug. 15 with opening day for games set for Aug. 26.

Tennis starts matches on Aug. 22.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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