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WPIAL Boys Soccer 2020-21 realignment takeaways

Avonworth will move up to Class 2A while Greensburg Central Catholic remains in 1A (Ed Thompson File Photo)

Once every two years, in order to keep up with the changing school enrollments, the PIAA reclassifies schools in order of student populations.

Since 2016, both boys and girls high school soccer in Pennsylvania have been broken up into four classifications. 

On Monday night, the latest realigned sections in WPIAL boys and girls soccer wre revealed. The trend in Western Pennsylvania continues to see a very slight drop from top, as the majority of schools hovering in the middle two classifications.

Below is a closer look at each classification heading into the next two-year cycle (Fall 2020 and Fall 2021 seasons).

Class 4A (21 teams) 

Defending champion: Canon-McMillan

SECTION 1:  Butler, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Shaler

SECTION 2:  Baldwin, Bethel Park, Brashear, Canon-McMillan, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Twp, Upper St. Clair

SECTION 3:  Allderdice, Central Catholic, Connellsville, Hempfield, Latrobe, Norwin, Penn-Trafford 

Not much changes at the top, with the exception of the departures of Plum (Section 3 champions a year ago), Penn Hills and Woodland Hills. Central Catholic and Allderdice move from being in that brutal Section 1, over to Section 3 where they might have a bit more travel from the City of Pittsburgh to compete against Westmoreland County-based schools.

Class 3A (31 teams) 

Defending champion: Franklin Regional

SECTION 1:  Armstrong, Freeport ^, Hampton, Highlands, Indiana, Knoch, Mars

SECTION 2:  Beaver Area, Blackhawk, Central Valley ^, Chartiers Valley, Montour, Moon, South Fayette, West Allegheny 

SECTION 3: Albert Gallatin, Belle Vernon, Greensburg Salem, Laurel Highlands, Ringgold, Thomas Jefferson, Trinity, Uniontown 

SECTION 4:  Franklin Regional, Gateway, Obama Academy, Kiski, Penn Hills, Plum, West Mifflin, Woodland Hills, 

Both Freeport and Central Valley move upward into the largest classification, which should make things even more crowded in a 31-team field that will be vying for 16 playoff spots. Plum moves down, but it won’t be easy. Now they’re in the same section with neighboring rival Franklin Regional, who were the WPIAL champs for the second consecutive season, and fell short in its quest to win a PIAA crown in the State Semifinals. Finally, it also appears that the Parkway West schools (Char Valley, Montour, Moon, South Fayette and West Allegheny have been reunited in one section. Of the four, only Moon has not captured a recent WPIAL title.

Class 2A (29 teams) 

Defending champion: Quaker Valley

SECTION 1:  Avonworth ^, East Allegheny, Elizabeth Forward, Keystone Oaks, South Allegheny, South Park, Steel Valley

SECTION 2:  Burrell, Deer Lakes, Derry, Leechberg (C) , Ligonier Valley, Shady Side Academy, Valley 

SECTION 3: Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland, Waynesburg, Yough

SECTION 4: Ambridge, Elwood City, Freedom, Hopewell, Mohawk, New Brighton, North Catholic, Quaker Valley

One glaring omission from yesterday’s PIAA reclassification post, was Avonworth’s move-up to Class 2A. Just Class 1A champions a year ago, Avonworth will now be put in what’s an already competitive section with the likes of South Park, Keystone Oaks, Steel Valley, etc.  Shady Side Academy and Deer Lakes will once again continue as section rivals — and Quaker Valley — the reigning WPIAL/PIAA champions — will have some additional competition with nearby Ambridge joining its section. Leechberg continues as a co-op with Apollo-Ridge, in Section 2, as they did during its debut season in 2019.

Class 1A  (28 teams) 

Defending champion: Greensburg Central Catholic

SECTION 1: Beaver County Christian, Neshannock, Our Lady of Sacred Heart, Quigley, Riverside, Sewickley Academy, South Side Beaver

SECTION 2: Geibel Catholic, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Serra, St. Joseph, Trinity Christian, Winchester Thurston 

SECTION 3:  Aquinas Academy, Bishop Canevin, Carlynton, Eden Christian, Riverview, Springdale, Vincentian 

SECTION 4:  Bentworth, Beth-Center, Brentwood, California, Chartiers-Houston, Monessen, Seton-LaSalle

With Avonworth moving up, leaves everyone else remaining from the previous cycle in Class 1A. This has been a classification that was once dominated by just a few schools. However, since Seton-LaSalle’s back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011, in recent years there’s been a lot of parity in Class 1A, with six different WPIAL champions in the past six years.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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