WPIAL Claims 12 PIAA Championships in 2022 Fall Season

Friday, December 16, 2022

Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) completed the 2022 fall season at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) level by claiming 12 championships across 10 sports.

The WPIAL earned 10 team and two individual titles in the fall. Below is a brief recap of the league’s performance in each PIAA Championship.

For the third straight season and the 14th year overall, the WPIAL claimed multiple PIAA football championships as Pine-Richland (5A) and Belle Vernon (3A) were winners at Cumberland Valley High School.

Pine-Richland’s 5A crown was its third in school history, joining titles from 2017 and 2020. The Rams defeated District XII champion Imhotep Charter in the championship game, 28-14, on Friday, Dec. 9, and reached the final with victories over Cathedral Prep (21-14) in the quarterfinals and Cocalico (34-12) in the semifinals.

Belle Vernon captured its first football state championship with a 9-8 win against District XII champion Neumann Goretti on Saturday, Dec. 10. The Leopards entered the bracket in the semifinal round, defeating Central, 21-17, to punch their ticket to Cumberland Valley.

The WPIAL went 2-2 overall on PIAA championship weekend, with Aliquippa (4A) and Union (1A) finishing as runners-up. The Quips advanced to the 4A championship game with a 31-10 win over Allentown Central Catholic, but fell to District III champion Bishop McDevitt, 41-18. The Scotties were 46-36 winners in the semifinals against Port Allegany, but dropped a 22-8 decision to District III champion Steelton Highspire in the final.

North Allegheny (6A) and Steel Valley (2A) both dropped their opening games in the PIAA Championships. The Tigers fell to State College, 28-7, while the Ironmen were topped by Westinghouse, 26-7.

With Pine-Richland and Belle Vernon’s titles, PIAA District VII has now won a football state championship in 35 of 36 seasons, with 1992 being the outlier.

The WPIAL claimed half of the four PIAA girls’ volleyball championships as North Allegheny (4A) and Freeport (2A) both raised the trophy at Cumberland Valley High School.

North Allegheny made it six consecutive at 4A and nine overall (1992, 1993, 1994, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022), thanks to a comeback four-set victory (26-28, 26-24, 25-8, 25-12) over District I champion Garnet Valley on Saturday, Nov. 19. The Tigers reached the final with wins over State College (3-0), Hempfield (3-1), and Pine-Richland (3-1). Pine-Richland’s path featured wins over McDowell (3-0) and Unionville (3-2) before falling to North Allegheny.

In 2A, Freeport added a second trophy to its 2017 one with a three-set sweep (25-21, 25-15, 25-18) over District III champion York Catholic on Saturday, Nov. 19. The Yellowjackets knocked off Corry (3-0), Quaker Valley (3-0), and Phillipsburg-Osceola (3-2) to make it to Mechanicsburg. Fellow WPIAL schools Shenango and Quaker Valley made the quarterfinals, while Avonworth fell in the first round.

North Catholic finished runner-up in 3A, falling in five sets (15-25, 25-12, 18-25, 25-16, 19-17) to District I champion Pope John Paul II in the championship match. The Trojans advanced to the final with wins over Greater Latrobe (3-0), Hollidaysburg (3-1), and Thomas Jefferson (3-1). Thomas Jefferson made the quarterfinals, and South Fayette and Greater Latrobe lost their opening matches.

In 1A, all three WPIAL schools dropped their first round matches. Frazier fell to Homer Center (3-0), Serra Catholic lost to Oswago Valley (3-2), and Bishop Canevin was knocked off by Conemaugh Township (3-0).

This is the 14th year that PIAA District VII has produced multiple girls’ volleyball champions, and the fourth time in the last six seasons (2017, 2019, 2021, 2022).

The WPIAL produced a PIAA boys’ soccer champion for the sixth straight season, as Seneca Valley emerged victorious in 4A at Eagle View Middle School.

Seneca Valley’s 4A title was its second in school history, with its first coming just two years ago in 2020. The Raiders earned it in dominant fashion, defeating District I champion Lower Merion, 6-0, on Saturday, Nov. 19. Seneca Valley knocked off State College (7-3), Spring-Ford (3-0), and Conestoga (2-0) to reach the final. Pine-Richland was District VII’s other qualifier in 4A, with the Rams falling in the first round.

Winchester Thurston was the 1A runner-up following a 2-1 double-overtime defeat to District XI champion Moravian Academy in the championship game. The Bears made the final with wins over United (9-0), Eden Christian Academy (2-0), and McConnellsburg (2-0). Charleroi and Eden Christian Academy both reached the quarterfinals in their respective playoff runs.

In 3A, Ambridge and Moon qualified for the quarterfinals, while Plum was eliminated in the opening round. Deer Lakes, Beaver, and Quaker Valley lost in the first round of the 2A bracket.

Moon made it four consecutive years for a WPIAL school to capture a PIAA girls’ soccer championship, doing so in back-to-back fashion at Eagle View Middle School.

Moon captured the 3A crown with a 2-1 victory over District I champion Upper Perkiomen on Friday, Nov. 18. The Tigers, who won in 4A last year, now have five a league-high PIAA titles with 2012, 2016, and 2017 joining the last two. Moon qualified for the championship game with victories over fellow District VII members Greater Latrobe (2-0) in the first round, Plum (4-1) in the quarterfinals, and Mars (2-0) in the semifinals.

Freedom Area finished as the runner-up in 1A after a 5-3 loss to District IV runner-up Southern Columbia in the final. The Bulldogs previously picked up wins over Rockwood (10-0), Karns City (4-3, 2OT), and Greensburg Central Catholic (3-0). Among other WPIAL qualifiers, Greensburg Central Catholic reached the semifinals, and Springdale made the quarterfinals.

Mt. Pleasant was the furthest advancing WPIAL team in 2A, making the semifinals, while Avonworth and North Catholic were knocked off in the first round.

In 4A, North Allegheny and Peters Township both reached the quarterfinals before being eliminated.

The WPIAL brought home three of the six available PIAA girls’ cross country championships, with North Allegheny (3A) claiming a team title, and Pine-Richland senior Natalie McLean (3A) and Brownsville senior Jolena Quarzo (2A) earning individual gold on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Hershey Parkview Course.

North Allegheny extended its streak to five straight titles, scoring 64 points to defeat State College by 58 in the 3A classification. The Tigers’ championship is their eighth overall (1975, 1998, 1999, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022), which is a league high. Sophomore Wren Kucler paced the team with a time of 18:58.5, claiming bronze individually, while junior Eva Kynaston (19:11.9) placed seventh overall.

McLean made it a WPIAL sweep in 3A, winning Pine-Richland’s first individual title with a time of 18:46.1, which bested runner-up Camryn Kiser of Chambersburg by 6.7 seconds. Also inside the top 10 individually among WPIAL student-athletes were Mt. Lebanon juniors Caroline Adams (18:59.1) and Logan St. John Kletter (19:12.1), who finished sixth and 10th, respectively.

Quarzo captured Brownsville’s first individual championship with a time of 18:11.3, which bested Montour senior Harley Kletz’s time of 18:49.9 by 38.6 seconds. Chartiers Valley sophomore Lilah Turnbull placed eighth after finishing the course in 20:02.3. Kletz and the Spartans were the highest finishing District VII team with 119 points, eight behind winner Cathedral Prep out of District X.

Winchester Thurston was the top WPIAL team in 1A, placing fourth with 160 points – 82 behind champion Notre Dame-Green Pond from District XI. The Bears’ first finisher was senior Cyd Kennard (21:23.7) in 25th, while Shady Side Academy junior Chelsea Hartman (19:35.8) and Riverside junior Lexi Fluharty (20:19.6) placed second and eighth, respectively.

This is the fourth time the WPIAL has had multiple girls’ cross country individual champions (2014, 2019, 2020, 2022) and fifth straight season that it produced a team champion.

North Allegheny extended its streak of PIAA boys’ cross country team championships to three, winning the crown at 3A on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Hershey Parkview Course.

The Tigers’ league-high 16th title (1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1974, 1980, 1997, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022) came in impressive fashion, as they scored 85 points to top runner-up La Salle College by 76. Sophomore Jack Bertram placed third overall with a time of 16:09.7 to lead North Allegheny. Butler junior Drew Griffith was the individual runner-up at 15:35.2, and Peters Township senior Brett Kroboth finished fourth with a time of 16:13.5.

Hampton was the top finishing WPIAL team in 2A, scoring 139 points – 72 off champion Grove City from District X. The Talbots had junior Dale Hall cross the finish line first with a time of 16:55.6, good for 14th overall. Ringgold junior Ryan Pajak was the classification runner-up after clocking in at 16:10.7, and Uniontown senior Mason Stewart placed ninth with a time of 16:46.1.

In 1A, Winchester Thurston scored 141 points to place third – 46 below champion Central Cambria from District VI. The Bears’ first finisher was junior Charlie Routledge (18:07.4) in 28th, while Eden Christian Academy senior Sean Aiken (16:42.2) and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart senior Maxwell Hamilton (17:23.3) placed third and eighth, respectively.

This is the fifth straight year that the WPIAL has claimed a boys’ cross country team champion.

For the fifth time in the last six seasons, the WPIAL claimed a PIAA girls’ tennis team championship as Knoch took the honors in 2A on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Hershey Racquet Club.

Previously winning in 2020, Knoch’s second PIAA title came in an all-WPIAL final as it defeated Sewickley Academy, 4-1. The Knights reached the title match with wins over Bedford (5-0), Conrad Weiser (4-0), and Lower Moreland (3-2), while Sewickley Academy defeated St. Mary’s (5-0), Scranton Prep (3-2), and Cathedral Prep (4-0) to set up a WPIAL championship rematch. South Park also qualified from 2A and fell in the first round.

In 2A singles competition, the WPIAL came away with second, third, and fourth-place finishes. Sewickley Academy junior Ashley Close dropped a 6-0, 6-0 decision to Wyoming Seminary sophomore Ilana Rosenthal of District II to finish as runner-up, while South Park senior Nicole Kempton won 6-0, 6-2 over Knoch junior Emily Greb in the third-place consolation match. Close qualified for the final with victories over Punxsutawney Area senior Chloe Presloid (6-0, 6-0), Jersey Shore sophomore Peyton Dincher (6-0, 6-0), and Greb (3-6, 6-4, 6-3).

Knoch senior Ally Bauer and junior Lindsey Greb took bronze in 2A doubles competition, defeating Sewickley Academy sophomore Rayna Thakkar and junior Gwyn Belt in straight sets (6-1, 7-6[1]) in a WPIAL championship rematch. Chartiers Valley sophomore Kaitlyn Kuczinski and freshman Delaney Fox dropped their first round match.

Mt. Lebanon was the top finishing WPIAL team in the 3A team bracket, reaching the semifinals with a 5-0 win over District I third-place Council Rock South. North Allegheny made the quarterfinals with a 5-0 triumph against District X champion Riverview, while Bethel Park was eliminated in the first round.

Two WPIAL pairings made the quarterfinals in 3A doubles as Mt. Lebanon junior Sophia Cunningham and sophomore Sylvie Eriksen and North Allegheny seniors Emily Wincko and Abbey Swirsding won their first round matches. Bethel Park juniors Lily Sierka and Katie Peterson also qualified, dropping their opening match.

The top finishing WPIAL student-athlete in 3A singles was Penn-Trafford freshman Amelia Williams, who made the quarterfinals. Upper St. Clair senior Maggie Stief and North Allegheny junior Sara Fernandez both fell in the first round.

Central Catholic tied Sewickley Academy for the league lead in PIAA boys’ golf team championships, claiming its third on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Penn State White Golf Course.

The newest Vikings’ crown joins 2016 and 2018 among their trophy case. Central Catholic bested District III champion Dallastown by six strokes, finishing with a four-player total of 299 (+11). Senior Rocco Salvitti fired the lowest score of the team championships with a 68 (-4), while seniors Connor Walker (74, +2), Daniel Donahue (77, +5), and Aidan Burchianti (80, +8) rounded out the Vikings scoring. Sophomore Regan Logan posted an 83 (+11) as the team’s fifth player.

Salvitti came a stroke shy of forcing a play-off with Cedar Crest freshman Dylan Crest for the 3A individual title, ultimately claiming runner-up honors with a two-day total of 141 (-3). Other WPIAL players to finish inside the top 10 included Central Catholic senior Connor Walker in a tie for sixth (148, +4), and Peters Township sophomore Colton Lusk (149, +5) and Plum sophomore Wes Lorish (149, +5) sharing 10th.

Sewickley Academy finished third in 2A team competition, posting a score of 322 (+34) – 26 strokes off champion Lake Lehman of District II. The Panthers were led by senior Joey Mucci, who carded a 78 (+6), and sophomore Severin Harmon’s tally of 79 (+7).

Two WPIAL golfers claimed top-10 finishes in 2A individual play, as Uniontown junior Logan Voytish (147, +3) tied for sixth and Eden Christian Academy junior Luke Gronbeck (151, +7) placed 10th.

This is the seventh time in the last eight seasons that the WPIAL has produced a PIAA boys’ golf team champion.

Peters Township claimed runner-up accolades in the PIAA 3A Girls’ Golf Team Championships, registering a score of 242 (+26) to finish two strokes shy of champion Phoenixville from District I. The Indians’ scorers included sophomore Brooke Vowcheck (79, +7), freshman Ellie Benson (81, +9), and sophomore Sophia Severns (82, +10), with junior Amelia Severns (91, +19) and sophomore Gabby Catalogna (91, +19) also competing.

Benson shared top honors among WPIAL student-athletes at the 3A individual competition, tying for fourth with a score of 149 (+5). South Fayette senior Marissa Malosh and Elizabeth Forward freshman Mya Morgan also claimed fourth, while North Allegheny senior Katie Rose Rankin finished seventh with a score of 150 (+6).

Greensburg Central Catholic and Mt. Pleasant both qualified for the 2A team competition, finishing fourth and sixth, respectively. The Centurions’ score of 285 (+69) was 49 strokes from champion Hickory of District X, with junior Izabela Aigner firing an 80 (+8) for the event’s third lowest score. The Vikings posted a tally of 326 (+110), as junior Allison Tepper (107, +35) led the team.

The lone WPIAL student-athlete to place inside the top 10 at the 2A finals was Quaker Valley senior Eva Bulger, as her score of 160 (+16) allowed her to share seventh. Aigner finished 12th overall with a two-day total of 168 (+24).

The WPIAL saw its three champions fall in the PIAA first round. Pine-Richland was edged 2-1 by Manheim Township in 3A, Penn-Trafford dropped a narrow 2-1 decision to Twin Valley in 2A, and The Ellis School was knocked off by Newport, 8-0, in 1A.

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