WPIAL Class 3A coaches working on proposal to save qualifiers

Tuesday, March 8, 2022 | 6:00 PM

With the PIAA individual wrestling tournament set to begin Thursday at Giant Center in Hershey, a group of WPIAL Class 3A coaches is pushing to figure out a proposal to save the district from losing a state individual and team qualifier beginning in the next two-year cycle.

The WPIAL currently sends four individual qualifiers and teams to the state tournament, but during the PIAA’s latest board meeting, a first reading was held on the new parameters for regions and districts.

The WPIAL, arguably the top district in the state in wrestling, stands to lose one qualifier in both tournaments.

“The PIAA goes strictly by the numbers,” Canon-McMillan athletic director and WPIAL wrestling committee chairman Frank Vulcano Jr. said. “The coaches are putting together a proposal that I can take to the state wrestling committee meeting on March 30. Hopefully, it will be considered.”

The Class 3A loss is a gain for Class 2A. The WPIAL had seven teams drop from Class 3A to Class 2A after the latest enrollment figures were compiled. Dropping were Albert Gallatin, Beaver, Belle Vernon, Greensburg Salem, Hampton, Highlands and Indiana. Two others schools — Waynesburg and Woodland Hills — have 2A enrollment figures but are opting to continue competing in Class 3A.

That leaves Class 3A with 38 teams and increases to 2A to 44 teams.

The largest Class 3A districts in the state are Districts 1 (61 teams) and 3 (58 teams). The WPIAL now has the largest number of 2A teams in the state.

“We’re looking to expand the brackets,” Latrobe coach Mark Mears said. “If the PIAA wants to continue to grow the sport, then taking away qualifiers isn’t the answer.

“The question is: Why are we cutting back? We feel there is still enough time to just to expand the pigtail rounds in each weight class by two matches. It’s number based, and if you add, no one (complains) and it continues to promote the sport.”

The number of placewinners from the WPIAL in Class 3A over the past 10 years backs the coaches’ argument. The WPIAL has dominated the state.

Since 2012, the WPIAL has had 30 wrestlers or more earn medals and has averaged 5.9 wrestlers win titles and 108 wrestlers reach the finals.

The highest amount a placewinners in a season was 36 in 2020, and the most champions in one season was nine in 2015.

Sidun wins title

Norwin’s Landon Sidun was the only wrestler from the WPIAL to win a PJW Junior High state title March 6 at Johnstown.

He defeated Bishop McCort’s Melvin Miller, 10-4, in the 107-pound final.

The only other WPIAL wrestler to reach the finals was Waynesburg’s Roan Tustin, who lost in the 167-pound final.

In the third-place matches, Pine-Richland’s Maclane Miller won at 157 and Mt. Pleasant’s Dylan Pitzer at 212.

Placing fourth were: Chartiers Valley’s Michael Lawrence at 132, Frazier’s Jackson Angelo at 147, Aliquippa’s Larry Moon at 157, Connellsville’s Chris Cook at 187 and Washington’s Joe Wilson at 252.

Placing fifth were: Franklin Regional’s Titus Colangelo (77), Shaler’s Brooks Blasko (87), McGuffey’s Lucas Barr (117), West Allegheny’s Cooper Smith (124), Connellsville’s Julian Ruggieri (132), Latrobe’s Hunter Snyder (147), Central Valley’s Brandon Singleton (167), West Greene Colin Whyte (187) and Hopewell’s Jance Henry (212).

Placing sixth were: Seneca Valley’s Zach Hill (117), Frazier’s Jonah Erdely (140), Highlands’ Nezumiro Green (157) and Mt. Pleasant’s Vito Barravecchio (187).

Placing seventh were: McGuffey’s Tucker Main (82), Butler’s Santino Sloboda (92), Connellsville’s Luke Lilly (97), Central Valley’s Antonio Boni (102), Trinity’s Dominick Canali (112), Mt. Lebanon’s Cole Gibbons (132), Kiski Area’s Matt Connolly (187) and Butler’s Diamond Cantera (252).

Placing eighth were: Shaler’s Anthony Jones (77), Mt. Lebanon’s Evan Sala (97), Elizabeth Forward’s Luke Boyer (107), Derry Area’s Brady Brown (140) and Seneca Valley’s Tommy Wuycheck (212).

Golding, Claassen win state titles

Kiski Area’s Ava Golding and Plum’s Alaina Claassen captured titles at the PJW Junior High girls state tournament.

Golding pinned Abby Taylor of Parkland at 117, and Claassen pinned Athens’ Halei Schlosser at 165.

Placing second were: Connellsville’s Trinity Moore (110), Norwin’s Josephine Dollman (148) and Gateway’s Heaven Brooks (185).

Laurel’s Allyssa Stewart placed third (185), and Derry Area’s Gabrielle Bateman (135) and New Castle’s Kaylee Flowers (148) placed fourth.

Knoch’s Braylee Ireland (117) and North Allegheny’s Sophia Folks (135) placed fifth, and Peters Township’s Elizabeth Crossan (96) placed sixth.

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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