High school notebook: PIAA classifications alter WPIAL landscape
Sto-Rox has played for a WPIAL Class A football championship the past three seasons at Heinz Field. That won't happen next fall.
The Vikings were one of five Class A football programs that will compete in Double-A in 2013 and ‘14, according to PIAA enrollment classification reports released Monday.
Sto-Rox, which was within 10 students of the Class A cutoff, will be joined by Apollo-Ridge, West Shamokin, Laurel and Carlynton in the jump to Class AA.
Yough is the only other team moving up, going from Class AA to AAA. Aliquippa, a Class A school by enrollment, again decided to “play up” in Class AA.
The PIAA realigns classifications every two years and divides schools based on enrollments for students in grades nine, 10 and 11.
Some of the other notable moves among football teams include Gateway (AAAA to AAA), Derry and Highlands (AAA to AA) and Riverside, Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette (AA to A).
In the City League, Carrick moved from Class AAA to Quad-A.
Two of Class AAAA's top boys basketball teams will drop down to Class AAA for the next two-year cycle, as top-ranked Hampton and No. 2 New Castle will move. Trinity also will drop to Class AAA.
East Allegheny and Waynesburg will drop from AAA to AA.
Dropping from AA to A are Jeannette, Serra, Springdale, Riverview, Jefferson-Morgan and West Greene.
Chartiers Valley will move up from Class AAA to Quad-A. Others moving up include Burrell, Deer Lakes and West Shamokin from AA to AAA, and Lincoln Park, OLSH, Carmichaels and Wilkinsburg, all from A to AA.
Beaver Falls, a Class AA school, decided to play up in AAA, and Class-A Greensburg Central Catholic will play up in Class AA.
Seneca Valley is now the largest school in the WPIAL with 1,088 male students, surpassing North Allegheny (1,076). Rounding out the top five are Butler (926), Hempfield (695) and Norwin (690).
For a complete list of WPIAL enrollments and cutoffs for each sport, visit sports.triblive.com and check out the H.S. Sports Insiders blog.
Westinghouse, McDowell denied membership
The WPIAL Board of Control voted Monday to deny requests from Erie McDowell and Westinghouse to join WPIAL football next season as associate members.
The move was made to maintain an easily dividable group with 124 teams, said WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley. That number allows the WPIAL to again schedule a nine-game regular season for every team.
The board did decide to retain Hollidaysburg and Altoona as WPIAL members for football.
After reviewing new PIAA enrollment numbers, the board also recommended maintaining the current number of conferences: three in Class AAAA (25 teams), three in Class AAA (27 teams), four in Class AA (38 teams) and four in Class A (34 teams). The football steering committee, which must divide teams into conferences, next meets Jan. 5.
Two of the state's top football recruits plan to make verbal commitments this week. Gateway senior defensive back Montae Nicholson will pick between Pitt, Florida State, Michigan State, Oregon and Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Washington running back Shai McKenzie will choose between Pitt, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech at 1 p.m. Friday.
USC soccer to be honored
Two-time PIAA Class AAA champion Upper St. Clair will be presented Tuesday with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy as part of the second annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions for boys soccer.
Upper St. Clair finished ranked No. 12 in the final MaxPreps Freeman rankings.
The presentation will be made during halftime of the basketball game Tuesday night.