PIAA approves weight class reduction in wrestling

Thursday, May 23, 2019 | 6:10 PM

The PIAA Board of Control passed the wrestling committee’s proposal to reduce the weight classes from 14 to 12 for the 2020-21 season.

The PIAA will advance the proposal to the National Federation of High School Association to see if it will consider the change.

If it says no, the PIAA will petition the NFHS to allow the reduction of the weight classes as a pilot program.

The new weight classes would be: 110, 118, 125, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 190, 215 and 285.

The 14 existing weight classes are: 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285.

Norwin coach Vince DeAugustine said he’s against the change and feels there are other ways to grow the sport.

“I’d rather see them allow you to enter more than one wrestler at a weight class,” DeAugustine said. “Let’s say you have a good wrestler, and he’s behind Kurtis Phipps at a certain weight. It’s likely the kid might give up wrestling. But if you allow him to compete, there is a chance you can keep him in the sport.”

WPIAL wrestling committee chairman Frank Vulcano Jr. said the reduction is because there are too many forfeits.

By reducing the weight classes, dual meets become more interesting for fans.

“People don’t want to go to a match and see a lot of forfeits,” Vulcano said. “Granted, this will hurt teams that can fill 14 weight classes, but we want the sport to become more fan-friendly.”

PIAA executive director Dr. Robert Lombardi told PennLive.com, “We’ve had a couple years to look at it, and probably next year will be the third, maybe the fourth, that these weight classes have seen an increasing number of forfeits in the lower weights. We think our proposal is a better distribution than 14 and cuts down the number of forfeits and make dual meets more pleasing to fans and to coaches.”

Franklin Regional coach Matt Lebe said he’s against it because it takes away a chance for a wrestler to become a champion.

“Wrestling is more of an individual sport than a team sport,” Lebe said. “Sure it’s fun to win a WPIAL title, but the fan interest comes during the individual tournaments.”

DeAugustine does like the idea of allowing you to enter more than one wrestler at a weight at tournaments with nine or more teams during the regular season.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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