What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Jan. 31, 2024: New contenders take mat in Class 3A wrestling

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Wednesday, January 31, 2024 | 12:18 AM


On the final day of January, the WPIAL team wrestling playoffs take center stage with first-round and quarterfinal matches.

What a difference a year has made in Class 3A.

The two finalists from a year ago, Canon-McMillan and Waynesburg, did not qualify for the 2024 postseason. Of the final four teams in last year’s 3A bracket, only Connellsville is among the field of 16 teams in the first round.

In fact, you have to go back 2015 to find a 3A district champion school that was set in the field of 16. Kiski Area won three straight titles from 2017-2019, but the Cavaliers needed a win Monday in the preliminary round to earn the No. 16 seed.

It should make for an intriguing playoff this week with the opening round and quarterfinals set for four sites on Wednesday at Trinity, Franklin Regional, Connellsville and Bethel Park.

The quarterfinals follow the first round as the two winning teams collide.

The matches at each site include:

At Trinity: No. 16 Kiski Area vs. No. 1 Trinity and No. 9 Plum vs. No. 8 Norwin at 6 p.m.

At Franklin Regional: No. 15 Pine-Richland vs. No. 2 Franklin Regional and No. 10 West Allegheny vs. No. 7 Latrobe at 6 p.m.

At Connellsville: No. 14 Ringgold vs. No. 3 Connellsville and No. 11 Fox Chapel vs. No. 6 Peters Township at 6 p.m.

At Bethel Park: No. 13 North Hills vs. No. 4 Bethel Park and No. 12 Baldwin vs. No. 5 North Allegheny at 6 p.m.

The quarterfinal winners will meet in the district semifinals Saturday at AHN Arena at Peters Township at 1:30 p.m. with the championship and consolation finals to follow at 3 p.m.

2A grappling

Unlike Class 3A, the final four teams from a year ago have qualified for the 2024 2A team duals, with three of them seeded in the top four and hosting first-round and quarterfinal matches Wednesday.

The four host sites are defending champion Burgettstown, 2023 runner-up Burrell, last year’s consolation winner Quaker Valley and Derry.

The quarterfinals follow the first round as the two winning teams collide.

The matches at each site include:

At Burgettstown: No. 16 Laurel vs. No. 1 Burgettstown and No. 9 Montour vs. 2023 semifinalist and No. 8 seed this season Frazier at 6 p.m.

At Burrell: No. 15 Hampton vs. No. 2 Burrell and No. 10 Highlands vs. No. 7 Bentworth at 6 p.m.

At Quaker Valley: No. 14 Hopewell vs. No. 3 Quaker Valley and No. 11 McGuffey vs. No. 6 Freedom at 6 p.m.

At Derry: No. 13 Southmoreland vs. No. 4 Derry and No. 12 Indiana vs. No. 5 Mt. Pleasant at 6 p.m.

The quarterfinals winners will meet in the district semifinals Saturday at AHN Arena at Peters Township at 10 a.m. with the championship and consolation finals to follow at 11:30 a.m.

Mid-week roundball

There are a handful of boys and girls basketball section games slated for Wednesday.

The one with the biggest playoff ramifications has Indiana (12-4) visiting Penn Hills (7-10) in Section 1-5A girls basketball.

Both teams have different short-range goals, but both are in need of a victory.

The Little Indians lead the section at 8-0, but are only one game up in the loss column in their chase for the section title over Plum, which sits at 8-1.

Meanwhile, the Indians are in a three-way logjam for the third and fourth playoff spots in the section.

Woodland Hills is 5-4, Franklin Regional is 5-5 and Penn Hills is 4-5 in section play.

Indiana is 2-2 in its last four games while Penn Hills has dropped three straight games.

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