It’s now official. The Pine-Richland High School football team will be in Class 5A next season and has decided not to play “up” in Class 6A.
On Thursday evening, the PIAA approved official school enrollment numbers and classifications for all sports for the next two school years. Pine-Richland, which played in three of the four WPIAL Class 6A championships since the PIAA changed from four to six classes in 2016, moves down to Class 5A because the school’s boys enrollment dropped.
The PIAA realigns classifications for all sports every two years, based on school enrollment for students in grades 9-11. Pine-Richland has 571 boys in those three grades. Schools with 583 boys or more are in Class 6A.
Schools can play “up” in classification if they choose. Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz said previously the school would consider playing in 6A, but the school ultimately decided to stay where the enrollment placed the Rams.
“We’re going to play where we belong,” Kasperowicz said. “Why should we play schools that have double the enrollment as us? Why do people think you have to play up? What are you proving? Just because you have success doesn’t mean you should play up.”
Here are some other major changes involving WPIAL schools:
- South Fayette moves from Class 4A football to Class 5A.
- Avonworth won the WPIAL Class 2A football championship this year, but will be in Class 3A next season.
- McKeesport drops from Class 5A to 4A. McKeesport’s enrollment placed the Tigers in Class 4A the past two years, but they chose to play up in 5A. This time, McKeesport decided to stay in 4A.
- Baldwin moves up from 5A to 6A in football. That means the WPIAL still has nine Class 6A football teams. The WPIAL will have 18 Class 5A teams. But there is a chance that the WPIAL might have only eight 6A teams because Butler is considering dropping out of the league for football only because the Golden Tornado program has struggled mightily.
- Mars moves from Class 5A to 4A in football.
- Sto-Rox, a WPIAL Class 1A finalist in football this season, moves to Class 2A. Sto-Rox is one boy over the limit for Class 1A.
- A major change in boys basketball is New Castle moving from Class 4A to 5A. New Castle has won the past three WPIAL Class 4A titles.
Also on Thursday, the PIAA released all teams that chose to play up in classification. Here are the WPIAL schools that chose to play up:
- Aliquippa Class 3A in football and 3A in boys basketball
- Apollo-Ridge 2A in girls soccer
- Clairton 2A in boys basketball and 2A in baseball
- Greensburg Salem and North Hills 6A in boys basketball
- Serra 2A in football and 2A in girls volleyball
- Sewickley Academy 3A in boys tennis and 3A in girls lacrosse
- Shady Side Academy 3A in six sports — boys golf, boys lacrosse, boys tennis, girls golf, girls lacrosse and girls tennis
- Washington 2A in boys soccer
- Waynesburg 3A in wrestling