Tuesday, January 21, 2014

WPIAL Alignment for 2014 Announced

The WPIAL announced the realignment of their conferences today with Quad-A seeing basically no change from the last two seasons while Class A sees a total overhaul. I'll be adding maps to this post later when I get them made, but for now here are the new conferences.


Foothills: Altoona, Connellsville, Hempfield, Kiski Area, Latrobe, McKeesport, Norwin, Penn-Trafford, Plum

View AAAA Foothills in a larger map

The Foothills Conference stays at 9 members after losing Gateway to AAA they gain Plum, who fits geographically but has also been one of the weakest Quad-A teams over the last few seasons.

Northern Eight: Butler, Central Catholic, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Shaler

View AAAA Northern Eight in a larger map

The Northern Eight Conference stays the same as it was the last two seasons. The only variable here will be where Central Catholic plays their home games. They played two "home" games at Highmark Stadium last year which, despite Mark Madden throwing a hissy fit about football being played in a soccer stadium, was a really cool venue for high school football.

Southeastern: Baldwin, Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, Mt Lebanon, Penn Hills, Peters Twp, Upper St Clair, Woodland Hills

View AAAA Southeastern in a larger map

The Southeastern loses Plum, who finished its two seasons in the Southeastern Conference with an 0-16 record. With 8 teams, this remains the strongest league in Quad-A.


Big Nine: Albert Gallatin, Belle Vernon, Elizabeth Forward, Laurel Highlands, Ringgold, Thomas Jefferson, Trinity, Uniontown, West Mifflin

View AAA: Big Nine in a larger map

The Big Nine stays the exact same as it has been the last two seasons, which isn't a surprise given that none of its teams changed classifications.

Greater Allegheny: Franklin Regional, Gateway, Greensburg Salem, Hampton, Hollidaysburg, Indiana, Knoch, Mars, Yough

View AAA Greater Allegheny in a larger map

This was a relatively easy swap. The GAC lost two teams (Highlands and Derry, both moving down to AA) while AAA as a whole gained two teams (Gateway and Yough). The relative geographic proximity of the schools moving in (Gateway is close to Franklin Regional and Yough is relatively close to where Derry is) made it easy to simply add these two teams into the GAC.

Parkway: Ambridge, Blackhawk, Central Valley, Chartiers Valley, Hopewell, Montour, Moon, New Castle, West Allegheny

View AAA: Parkway in a larger map

The Parkway Conference remains the same, though it's reign as "The best conference in AAA" might be under attack now that Gateway has joined the GAC.


Allegheny: Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Ford City, Freeport, Highlands, Kittanning, Shady Side Academy, Valley, West Shamokin

View AA Allegheny Conference in a larger map

If this alignment looks relatively familiar, it should. This is mostly the same teams that were in the Allegheny Conference from 2010 and 2011. This should provide for some great rivalries between Highlands, Freeport, Burrell and Valley along with having Kittanning and Ford City being in relatively close proximity. With the Armstrong Jr/Sr High set to open in 2015 (which will combine Kittanning and Ford City high schools) this conference could see a change after just one year.

Century: Carlynton, East Allegheny, Keystone Oaks, Quaker Valley, Seton-La Salle, South Allegheny, South Fayette, South Park, Sto-Rox, Steel Valley

View AA Century in a larger map

The Century Conference loses two of its bottom members (McGuffey and Burgettstown) and gains Carlynton and Sto-Rox from Class A and gets East Allegheny as a transfer from the Allegheny Conference. These additions all make sense geographically and this figures to be a brutal conference to navigate.

Interstate: Brownsville, Burgettstown, Charleroi, Derry, McGuffey, Mt Pleasant, Southmoreland, Washington, Waynesburg

View AA Interstate in a larger map

Washington has ping-ponged back and forth between the Interstate and the Century Conference over the last few realignments but finally gets some consistency by being kept in the Interstate Conference. Also added are Burgettstown and McGuffey from the Century Conference along with Derry to replace the departed GCC and Jeanette. The strangest addition here is Burgettstown, which does not fit geographically at all with the Interstate Conference. East Allegheny played in the Interstate Conference previously and would have been a much better geographic fit than Burgettstown.

Midwestern: Aliquippa, Beaver, Beaver Falls, Ellwood City, Freedom, Laurel, Mohawk, New Brighton, Summit Academy

View AA Midwestern in a larger map

The Midwestern Conference only saw two changes: swapping Laurel and Riverside (with Laurel moving up to AA and Riverside moving down to A, this was an easy decision) and Summit Academy moving in. The interesting thing to see from a scheduling standpoint will be if the WPIAL forces the two AA conferences with 9 teams (Midwestern and Interstate) to play each other in non-conference games or if the Midwestern Conference will be allowed to keep their traditional non-conference slate against teams from the Parkway Conference in AAA. If the WPIAL forces the two AA conferences to play each other, this would mean the temporary end of the Aliquippa-Ambridge rivalry game.


Big 7: Neshannock, Riverside, Rochester, Shenango, South Side Beaver, Union, Vincentian, Western Beaver

View A: Big Seven in a larger map

The Big 7 lost Sto-Rox and Laurel to AA and in their place were added Riverside (an easy geographic swap with Laurel) and Vincentian. Sto-Rox won the conference title the last two seasons while Riverside was one of the weakest teams in the Midwestern Conference in AA. Vincentian is relatively unproven having played their requisite "start-up" years, they did score a few victories against Tri-County South opponents last year. The Big 7 also lost OLSH who played just two seasons in the conference after starting in the Eastern Conference. One scheduling challenge for the WPIAL will be if Vincentian continues to play their home games at JC Stone Field in North Park, which is also the home stadium for the defending State Champion CWNC Trojans.

Black Hills: Avonworth, Bishop Canevin, Brentwood, Chartiers-Houston, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Fort Cherry Northgate, OLSH

View A: Black Hills in a larger map

The Black Hills Conference has traditionally been a conference comprised of teams from south of the Mon/Ohio Rivers, but that tradition got thrown out the window in this realignment. The WPIAL was in a tough situation with the geographic locations of some of their schools and obviously made the decision to group the Black Hills schools along the I-79 corridor. Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry is set to open in 2014, but the defending Class A State Champions are still scheduled to play their games at Lt. J.C. Stone Field in North Park.

Eastern: Clairton, GCC, Jeanette, Leechburg, Monessen, Riverview, Serra, Springdale, Wilkinsburg

View A Eastern in a larger map

In somewhat of a surprising move, the WPIAL moved Clairton, Monessen and Serra out of the Black Hills conference and into the Eastern Conferece, replacing Avonworth, Northgate and North Catholic. The addition of GCC and Jeanette to Class A brings two traditional AA powers and this figures to be a brutal conference with Clairton, Monessen and Springdale all being traditional Class A powerhouses. This is a bit of a blast from the past as the 2004/5 cycle featured Clairton, Serra, Springdale, Leechburg, Riverview and Wilkinsburg in the Eastern Conference (along with Apollo-Ridge and Duquesne).

Tri-County South: Avella, Bentworth, Beth-Center, California, Carmichaels, Frazier, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, West Greene

View A Tri-County South in a larger map

The TCS loses Geibel, who has struggled to field a team the last few seasons and apparently will not play in 2014. In their place, California gets to return to the TCS after two years of struggling in the Black Hills Conference. California has reportedly been lobbying the WPIAL for a return to the TCS for two years since they were moved to the Black Hills, and they should be one of the top teams in the TCS moving forward.

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