WPIAL reveals updated conference alignments for 2022, 2023 seasons

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 | 5:21 PM

The WPIAL took a multiple-choice approach when it drew up new conferences for the 2022 and ‘23 football seasons.

Aliquippa’s classification remains undecided, so the WPIAL board on Tuesday approved two realignment options for Class 5A, 4A and 3A football — one with Aliquippa and one without — with only slight differences between them. The Quips have a Jan. 26 hearing with the PIAA to contest their move to 5A under the competitive-balance rule.

“We wanted to be up front and let folks know we’ve taken that into consideration,” WPIAL executive director Amy Scheuneman said. “We don’t know where they’re going to be, but here’s what it looks like no matter where they’re going to be.”

The WPIAL also had to make some other decisions not tied to Aliquippa’s situation. Among them, the WPIAL stuck with the status quo and decided against merging Class 6A and 5A into one combined big-school classification.

As a result, WPIAL Class 6A football has just five teams next season, and those teams will play only four conference games apiece. A vast majority of Class 5A schools opposed the idea of a merger, said Scheuneman, who surveyed schools earlier this month.

“There was no sentiment from 5A schools that wanted to take that route,” she said.

Football teams in Classes 5A, 4A, 3A and 2A are divided into three conferences for the next two seasons. Class A — the WPIAL’s largest with 30 teams — has four conferences.

Conferences are realigned every two years.

The WPIAL hasn’t said how many football teams from each classification will qualify for the playoffs — those details will be announced in the coming weeks — but Scheuneman said it’s possible all five Class 6A teams might be included.

The WPIAL also released updated section alignments for soccer, golf, cross country, girls volleyball, girls tennis and field hockey. The league intends to release schedules in early February.

Updated section alignments for winter and spring sports will come later in the year.

Scheuneman said the WPIAL will continue to schedule nonconference football games by hand rather than return to a random approach. That question also was part of the recent WPIAL survey.

Woodland Hills in Class 5A and West Mifflin in 3A won’t know which conferences they’ll occupy until Aliquippa’s fate is decided.

If Aliquippa loses its PIAA appeal and is assigned to Class 5A, the Quips will join a football conference that includes Fox Chapel, North Hills, Penn Hills, Pine-Richland and Shaler.

With or without the Quips, Class 5A has a different look. Newcomers Hempfield, Norwin and Plum all join the Big East, a conference that includes reigning state champion Penn-Trafford.

Among other notable moves, two-time defending PIAA Class 3A champion Central Valley joins the 4A Parkway Conference, and WPIAL 4A runner-up Belle Vernon drops to the Class 3A Interstate, a conference won last fall by Elizabeth Forward.

Class 2A football shrunk from four conferences to three, creating a conference that now stretches from McKees Rocks to Waynesburg.

Scheuneman said the fall sports committees did their best to accommodate as many teams as possible.

“There is always going to be that swing team that is on the edge,” Scheuneman said, “and may be closer to these three teams from another section, but somebody has to go the opposite direction. We know that’s not a popular decision in a lot of those schools, but we have to look at the whole picture.”

WPIAL football 2022-23 alignment

Class 6A

Section 1: Canon-McMillan, Central Catholic, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, Seneca Valley

Class 5A

Section 1: Baldwin, Bethel Park, Moon, Peters Township, South Fayette, Upper St. Clair

Section 2: Franklin Regional, Gateway, Hempfield, Norwin, Penn-Trafford, Plum, Woodland Hills

Section 3: Aliquippa, Fox Chapel, North Hills, Penn Hills, Pine-Richland, Shaler Area

Class 4A

Section 1: Ambridge, Blackhawk, Central Valley, Chartiers Valley, Montour, New Castle, West Allegheny

Section 2: Armstrong, Hampton, Highlands, Indiana, Kiski Area, Mars, North Catholic

Section 3: Connellsville, Latrobe, Laurel Highlands, McKeesport, Ringgold, Thomas Jefferson, Trinity

Class 3A

Section 1: Avonworth, Beaver, Hopewell, Quaker Valley, Seton LaSalle, South Park, West Mifflin

Section 2: Deer Lakes, East Allegheny, Freeport, Knoch, Shady Side Academy, Valley

Section 3: Belle Vernon, Elizabeth Forward, Greensburg Salem, Mt. Pleasant, South Allegheny, Southmoreland

Class 2A

Section 1: Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Derry, Imani Christian, Ligonier Valley, Serra Catholic, Steel Valley, Yough

Section 2: Beaver Falls, Ellwood City, Freedom, Mohawk, Neshannock, New Brighton, Riverside, Western Beaver

Section 3: Brentwood, Charleroi, Keystone Oaks, McGuffey, Sto-Rox, Washington, Waynesburg Central

Class A

Section 1: Clairton, Frazier, Greensburg C.C., Jeannette, Leechburg, Riverview, Springdale

Section 2: Bentworth, Beth-Center, California, Carmichaels, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, Monessen, West Greene

Section 3: Avella, Bishop Canevin, Burgettstown, Carlynton, Chartiers-Houston, Cornell, Fort Cherry, OLSH

Section 4: Laurel, Northgate, Rochester, Shenango, South Side, Summit Academy, Union

• Subject to change depending on Aliquippa’s appeal to the PIAA to be placed in Class 5A via the competitive balance formula.

• If Aliquippa is placed in Class 3A or 4A, Woodland Hills would move from Section 2 to 3 in Class 5A.

• If Aliquippa is placed in Class 4A, it would be added to Section 1.

• If Aliquippa is placed in Class 3A, it would join Section 1 and West Mifflin would move to Section 2.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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