WPIAL Concludes 2021-2022 with 25 PIAA Spring Titles
Thursday, July 14, 2022
Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) finished the 2021-2022 academic year with 25 championships at the state level across seven sports.
The WPIAL earned 17 individual and eight team titles in the spring, capturing 18 total in boys’ and girls’ track & field competition. Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) District VII produced a state champion in seven of the eight spring sports the PIAA sponsors a championship event in.
Below is a brief recap of the WPIAL’s performance in each state championship this past spring.
For the second consecutive season and seventh time overall, the WPIAL saw two of its teams win PIAA baseball championships in Bethel Park (5A) and Montour (4A). This also marks the second straight year that PIAA District VII schools earned gold in the 4A and 5A classifications.
Bethel Park’s 5A championship was a repeat, as it joined Moon (2001-2002) and Riverside twice (2005-2006, 2011-2012) as the only WPIAL schools to accomplish this. Montour’s title was its first in school history.
The Black Hawks completed their repeat bid with a 5-0 shutout victory over District IV champion Selinsgrove on June 17, which gave them their third title overall (1988, 2021, 2022). Bethel Park defeated Central Mountain (4-3), West Allegheny (7-0), and Donegal (8-5) to reach the championship game. Among the other WPIAL qualifiers, West Allegheny went 1-1 in the bracket, while Peters Township and Thomas Jefferson both bowed out in the first round.
The Spartans’ first PIAA crown came courtesy of a wild 10-9 triumph over District I champion Holy Ghost Prep on June 16. Montour punched its ticket to Penn State University with wins over Bellefonte (13-9), East Pennsboro (12-3), and West Mifflin (2-1) – that semifinal being a rematch of the WPIAL 4A Championship Game. West Mifflin won two games in the 4A bracket before falling to the Spartans, and Laurel Highlands won its first round game before being eliminated.
Neshannock was the PIAA runner-up for 2A after falling to District V champion Everett, 1-0, in nine innings. The Lancers’ run to Penn State featured nothing but nailbiters along the way, as they defeated West Middlesex (4-3), Riverside (5-4) in 11 innings, and Burgettstown (2-1) in nine innings. Burgettstown won two games to make the semifinals, Riverside qualified for the quarterfinals, and Serra Catholic fell in the first round.
In 6A, Upper St. Clair was the highest finishing WPIAL team by reaching the quarterfinals, while Mt. Lebanon lost in the first round. All the WPIAL qualifiers in the 3A (South Park, Mohawk, Hopewell) and 1A (Union, Eden Christian Academy, Rochester) brackets were eliminated in the first round.
The WPIAL made it five straight seasons with multiple PIAA champions in softball as Avonworth (3A) and Neshannock (2A) claimed the crown of their respective classifications. The pair of titles also stretches PIAA District VII’s streak to six consecutive campaigns with a state champion.
Neshannock’s crown in 2A was its second in school history, coming 10 years after its first. Avonworth’s title was its first after it fell in the 3A quarterfinals last season.
The Lopes collected PIAA gold for the first time with a 7-2 victory over District IV champion Lewisburg on June 16. Avonworth dispatched of Westmont Hilltop (6-3), Karns City (7-4), and Bald Eagle Area (9-2) en route to the championship game. Deer Lakes made it to the quarterfinals, while Southmoreland were defeated in the opening round.
The Lancers knocked off District XII winner Conwell-Egan, 4-1, to pick up their second PIAA championship on June 17. Neshannock began its march to Penn State with shutout victories over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (6-0) and Johnsonburg (14-0) in five innings, then defeated Laurel by a 13-6 scoreline to reach the final. Laurel reached the semifinals before bowing out, and Frazier and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart were eliminated in the first round.
Seneca Valley came a game shy of its first PIAA softball championship, falling to District I’s Spring-Ford, 5-0, in the 6A title tilt. The Raiders knocked off Central Dauphin (8-2), Quakertown (1-0), and Pennsbury (9-0) to make it to State College. North Allegheny was the other WPIAL school to qualify in 6A, as the Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals.
Like Seneca Valley, Armstrong also fell a win shy from its first state title in softball as it fell to District II champion Pittston Area, 4-0, in the 5A championship. The River Hawks had comfortable wins over Chartiers Valley (13-6) and Central Mountain (13-5) to begin the state playoffs, then qualified for the title tilt with a narrow 3-2 triumph over Penn-Trafford in a rematch of the WPIAL 5A Championship Game. Penn-Trafford won twice to make the semifinals, while fellow District VII qualifiers North Hills and Chartiers Valley fell in the first round.
In 4A, Beaver was the top WPIAL finisher after reaching the semifinals, while Burrell and Elizabeth Forward bowed out in the quarterfinals and first round, respectively. Union and West Greene both won their first round matchups in 1A, with Greensburg Central Catholic also qualifying from the WPIAL.
North Allegheny continued its reign as kings of PIAA boys’ volleyball in the 3A classification, winning its fourth consecutive title and ninth overall. The Tigers have lost a total of six sets during this four-season run, and the 2022 trophy joins 1979, 1987, 1991, 1999, 2013, 2018, 2019, and 2021 in their cabinet.
The lone set North Allegheny dropped in its run to the state championship came in the 3A title tilt, as it defeated District III champion Central Dauphin, 3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 25-12, 25-23), on June 11. The Tigers swept their first three opponents on the road to Penn State, knocking off Palmyra (3-0), Shaler (3-0), and Pennridge (3-0). The other two WPIAL qualifiers, Shaler and Seneca Valley, fell in the quarterfinals and first round, respectively.
In 2A, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart reached the quarterfinals and Montour was eliminated in the first round.
The WPIAL produced the first PIAA boys’ lacrosse champion in league history this season as Mars captured the 2A title. The Fightin’ Planets previously became the first District VII team to reach the championship game in 2021, finishing the job this time around after a 14-5 defeat to Allentown Central Catholic last season.
Mars claimed the elusive crown on June 11 with a 9-6 triumph over District I champion Marple Newtown. The Fightin’ Planets were dominant on their run to Harold Zimmerman Stadium at West Chester East, topping Cocalico (18-2) and Susquehannock (16-5) by double-digits before topping Penncrest, 16-8, in the semifinals. Quaker Valley also nabbed a playoff win, reaching the quarterfinals with a 14-4 win over Cathedral Prep, while South Fayette was defeated in the first round.
Shady Side Academy earned a playoff victory in the 3A bracket, topping McDowell, 15-4, before falling to eventual champion Radnor, 10-7. Mt. Lebanon was knocked off in the opening round.
Two WPIAL teams reached the quarterfinals in their respective brackets and five teams qualified overall for the PIAA girls’ lacrosse championships.
In 3A, Shady Side Academy started its playoff run with an 8-5 triumph over District III’s Hempfield before bowing out in the quarterfinals. Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair both were defeated in the first round.
Chartiers Valley qualified for the quarterfinals in 2A, thanks to a 17-4 victory over District X champion Conneaut. Mars fell in the opening round.
After the WPIAL went without a PIAA boys’ tennis champion in singles, doubles, or team competition last season, North Catholic’s Nicolas Scheller snapped the drought by bringing home the 2A Singles title. PIAA District VII also produced a pair of runner-up finishers in 2A Doubles and 3A Singles, and a fourth-place finish in 3A Doubles.
Scheller is North Catholic’s first boys’ tennis state champion in any competition, capturing the 2A Singles gold with a 6-0, 6-0 blanking of District X champion Toby Frantz of Faith Christian Academy on May 28. The Trojan defeated Conrad Weiser’s Armaan Malik (6-0, 6-1), Saucon Valley’s Deven Pandey (6-1, 6-1), and Cathedral Prep’s Jonah Ng (6-0, 6-2) to reach the final at Hershey Racquet Club.
In 2A Doubles, Scheller’s teammates Brody Golla and Alex Garvey took home silver after falling to District II champions Kyle and Tucker Chesman from Dallas in straight sets (1-6, 1-6). Golla and Garvey defeated duos from Lancaster Mennonite (Reece Girdharry, Will Stillman), Bethlehem Catholic (Armaan Makwana, Anthony Barczynski), and Fairview (Aravind Turaga, Nathan Kisiel) on their match to the championship match.
South Fayette’s Jacob Patterson finished runner-up in 3A Singles following a three-set defeat (6-4, 4-6, 3-6) to District VI champion David Lindsay of Central Mountain. Patterson knocked off Council Rock South’s Alex Sterin (6-2, 6-2), Northeast’s David Mamalat (6-1, 6-3), and Conestoga’s Justin Xu (6-1, 6-1) to make it to the final.
The Shady Side Academy duo of David Mnuskin and Sam Bitzer finished fourth in 3A Doubles after picking up a pair of victories over Central Bucks East’s Yevgen Kuryanov and Alex Knyazkov (6-1, 6-4) and St. Joseph’s Prep’s Dwyer Barrett and Jordan Sztejman (6-0, 6-1).
In team competition, Quaker Valley reached the semifinals in the 2A bracket, ultimately falling to champion Masterman of District XII, 3-2. The Quakers defeated Bedford (5-0) and Juniata (3-1) to make it to the final four. Fox Chapel (3A), Shady Side Academy (3A), and Central Valley (2A) all reached the quarterfinals of their respective brackets, and North Catholic fell in the first round of the 2A playoffs.
Also reaching the quarterfinals of their respective competitions were North Allegheny’s Trey Davidson (3A Singles) and Franklin Regional’s Prerit Yadav and Dhruv Kulkarni (3A Doubles). Quaker Valley’s Mike Siranni and Mars’s Josh Dunham fell in the first round of the 2A Singles tournament, and South Park’s Tim Lakatos and Alex Duing and Thomas Jefferson’s Drew Dimidjian and Tony Sparta dropped their opening 2A Doubles matches.
BOYS’ TRACK & FIELD
For the fifth time in league history, the PIAA boys’ track & field team champion was a representative of the WPIAL as Butler’s 47 points topped the 3A field. PIAA District VII saw four student-athletes claim individual championships across six events at Shippensburg University on May 27-28.
Butler’s team title is its first in school history. The Golden Tornado join Aliquippa (2005), North Allegheny (1979, 2018), and Steel Valley (1983) as the only WPIAL teams to win a state team championship.
The lone event win for Butler came courtesy of CJ Singleton, who took gold in the 3,200-meter run. Singleton was the only competitor to clock in under the nine-minute mark, finishing with a time of 8:57.73 – 5.15 seconds quicker than runner-up Rory Lieberman of Danville.
The remainder of the WPIAL’s individual victories came in 2A, beginning with Carson McCoy’s double in the 1,600 and 800-meter runs. McCoy crossed the line in 4:13.14 for the mile, edging Schuylkill Valley’s Luke Seymour by 1.67. Later in the day, he topped Seymour again – this time by a margin of 0.83 seconds – with a mark of 1:51.02 in the 800-meter.
Eden Christian Academy’s Sean Aiken brought home 2A gold in the 3,200-meter run, posting a time of 9:13.47 to top East Juniata’s Logan Strawser by 1.15.
North Catholic’s Alex Brown won the 100-meter dash wheelchair (23.23) and shot put wheelchair (12-04.50) events.
Three WPIAL student-athletes claimed silver in their respective events: CJ Singleton, Butler (1600-meter run); Andrew Layton, Waynesburg Central (pole vault); Will Patton, Shenango (discus).
There were 10 WPIAL student-athletes and relay teams who finished third in their competitions: Butler (4×800-meter relay); Winchester Thurston (4×800-meter relay); Central Catholic (4×100-meter relay); Washington (4×100-meter relay); Alden Wetzel, Riverside (400-meter dash); Amberson Bauer, Riverview (800-meter run); Ty Fluharty, Riverside (3,200-meter run); Tristan McGarrah, Butler (pole vault); Peyton Murray, Hempfield Area (discus); Miles Higgins, Ligonier Valley (javelin).
GIRLS’ TRACK & FIELD
Thanks to a clean sweep in the middle and long-distance events, Moon captured the PIAA 3A girls’ track & field team championship with 30 points. The WPIAL saw six student-athletes earn gold across 10 events, with the Tigers’ Mia Cochran winning three to bring the school its first state title at Shippensburg on May 27-28.
Moon is the sixth different WPIAL school to collect the WPIAL team title, joining Avonworth (2018), Farrell (1988), Hempfield Area (2013, 2014), Penn Hills (2010), and Washington (1996).
Cochran was victorious in the 1,600, 800, and 3,200-meter runs – repeating as state champion in the 1,600 and 3,200. She finished 8.24 seconds ahead of runner-up Claire Paci of Greencastle in the 1,600-meter, clocking in with a time of 4:46.53. Cochran posted a mark of 2:12.26 to top Mt. St. Joseph’s Ella Woehlcke by 1.71 in the 800-meter, and dominated the 3,200-meter with a time of 10:13.62 – besting second-place Paci by 22.34 seconds.
Hempfield Area’s Elizabeth Tapper captured 3A gold in a pair of field events – shot put and discus. In the shot put, her throw of 46-04.25 was nearly six feet farther than Strath Haven’s Alexa Brown. She then took the win in the discus with a toss of 153-00.00, which was 11-05.00 ahead of Warwick’s Ella Lucas.
New Castle’s Maria Owens also earned a 3A title, taking home the long jump crown with a leap of 18-10.25 – besting State College’s Shannon Mullin by a foot.
Brownsville’s Jolena Quarzo swept the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs in 2A. In the 1,600-meter, she was the lone competitor to finish under five minutes as her time of 4:54.08 was 7.52 seconds faster than Forest Hills’s Delaney Dumm. She then shattered her older sister Gionna’s PIAA record in the 3,200-meter to repeat as champion, posting a time of 10:19.41 to top Dumm by 26.64 seconds. The previous standard of 10:25.91 was set in 2019.
Quaker Valley’s Nora Johns was a repeat champion in the 300-meter hurdles, crossing the line in 44.78 seconds to edge Bedford’s Autumn Becker by 0.09.
The final 2A champion came in the shot put, as Shenango’s Emma Callahan matched the PIAA record with a throw of 50-10.75. Callahan’s toss was 7-10.25 farther than Homer Center’s Justley Sharp, and matched the 2006 record throw of Center’s Allyn Laughlin.
Three WPIAL student-athletes claimed silver in their respective events: Rose Kuchera, Canon-McMillian (100-meter hurdles); Dani Prunzik, Upper St. Clair (100-meter dash), Emma Callahan, Shenango (discus).
There were 10 WPIAL student-athletes and relay teams who finished third in their competitions: South Fayette (4×100-meter relay); Winchester Thurston (4×400-meter relay); Clara Barr, McGuffey (100-meter hurdles); Tori Atkins, Laurel (400-meter dash); Kena Shannon, North Allegheny (300-meter hurdles); Callie Wetzell, Riverside (300-meter hurdles); Abbie Huey, Indiana (200-meter dash); Natalie McLean, Pine-Richland (3,200-meter run); Elliot Oliphant, South Park (high jump); Rose Kuchera, Canon-McMillian (triple jump).