PIAA ponders wrestling change
The PIAA wrestling steering committee is meeting Tuesday to consider the most sweeping change in the sport in 15 years.
The issue is whether to drop from 14 weight classes to 12. The PIAA Board of Directors will vote on the recommendation at its May 27 meeting.
If adopted, it would be the first major weight-class changes in Pennsylvania since 1989. There were 12 weight classes in the state from 1960-1988. A 13-weight class format was started in 1989, and the 215-pound weight class was added in 2003 for the current 14 weight-class system.
Under the proposed format, two weight classes below 145 pounds would be eliminated. The lowest weight class would be 106, replacing 103. The other “new” weight classes would be 115, 124, 131 and 138. Everything from 145 to 275 would remain the same, said PIAA associate executive director Bob Lombardi.
It would leave Pennsylvania with fewer than six weight classes under 145 pounds for the first time in its history. There have been seven weight classes under 145 pounds every year since 1942.
At its last meeting, the steering committee voted unanimously to submit a request to the National Federation of State High School Associations to move to 12 weight classes. The national association is looking for a state to run a pilot study with 12 weight classes.
Pennsylvania is believed to be the only state considering the change, which will reduce the number of forfeits in the nation’s sixth most-popular boys’ sport.
Coaches in the WPIAL vary on the proposal.
“With my situation, I’m not in favor of it,” said coach John Yates of Class AAA power Waynesburg. “But if you had asked me a couple of years ago, when my numbers were down, I’d have said it’s a good idea.”
Lombardi also said it is believed that widening the gap between the weight classes will reduce the temptation for wrestlers to cut weight. Yates said the intentions are good, but he’s unsure about the likely results.
“Regardless of what they do, kids are going to seek a competitive advantage by dropping a weight,” Yates said.
Highlands hiring delayed
Highlands will not be hiring a new football head coach at today’s school board meeting.
Administrators had hoped to have a replacement in place for Tim Karrs, who is leaving for Overhills High School in Fayetteville, N.C., but schedule conflicts among the administrators and board members involved in the interview process have slowed things down.
Highlands athletic director Bill Heasley said the committee will recommend three candidates to the board by May 24 and most likely the board will approve the new coach at a special meeting June 2.
“I wanted (the new coach) to have an opportunity to meet the kids before school is out and plan for the summer so we don’t get too far behind,” Heasley said. “June 8 is the last day for classes. We moved our football physicals to June 3, so hopefully the new coach can be there and set up a meeting (with the players) before school is out.”
Highlands made the playoffs the last eight seasons under Karrs and set out to find a candidate with head coaching and playoff experience. No members of the current Highlands staff applied for the job, though Heasley said most of them are hoping to stay with the new coach.
The WPIAL boys volleyball playoffs open with seven matches at the home gyms of the higher seeds Tuesday as top-seeded North Allegheny (14-0) gets a first-round bye. The other top seeds are No. 2 Ambridge (13-1), No. 3 Penn Hills (9-3) and No. 4 Central Catholic (9-1).
The Tigers will get their home match in he second round Thursday against either South Park (13-3) or Derry (11-3), while the other quarterfinal matches will be at neutral sites.
The WPIAL will no longer play the semifinals and finals together, with the championship match and consolation set for May 28. A site has not been selected yet, but it will be in a high school gym, either North Hills or Fox Chapel.
The PIAA Class AAA and AA boy’s team tennis championships are this week at West Branch Tennis Club in South Williamsport. In Class AAA, Upper St. Clair will represent the WPIAL while Allderdice is the City League team to advance. Sewickley Academy is the Class AA team from western Pennsylvania. The first round is Tuesday, with the quarterfinals on Friday and the semifinals and finals on Saturday.