WPIAL Earns 17 PIAA Titles in 2021 Fall Season
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) enjoyed a strong fall season at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) level, finishing with 17 championships across 10 sports.
The WPIAL earned 14 team and three individual titles in the fall, 10 more than the second-highest district. PIAA District I netted seven, with Districts IV and XI winning five each.
Below is a brief recap of the WPIAL’s performance in each PIAA Championship this fall.
For the first time in league history, the WPIAL claimed four PIAA football championships as Mt. Lebanon (6A), Penn-Trafford (5A), Aliquippa (4A), and Central Valley (3A) all emerged victorious. District VII previously collected three state crowns in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2017, and 2020.
Mt. Lebanon and Penn-Trafford picked up their first PIAA titles, doing so in impressive fashion. The Blue Devils romped through the 6A field, defeating McDowell (47-14) and State College (49-28) before knocking off St. Joseph’s Prep, 35-17, on Sat., Dec. 11. The Warriors were 49-14 semifinal winners against Exeter Township, then outlasted Imhotep Charter in overtime, 17-14, on Fri., Dec. 10 to pair their first WPIAL title with a PIAA one.
Aliquippa joins Thomas Jefferson, Central Catholic, and Clairton as the only WPIAL schools to win four PIAA championships. The Quips topped Jersey Shore in the semifinals, 41-16, before knocking off Bishop McDevitt, 34-27, on Thurs., Dec. 9 to claim the 4A crown. Central Valley repeated as 3A champions with wins over Central (35-21) and Wyomissing (7-0), topping the latter for the second consecutive year.
Serra Catholic made it five WPIAL teams in the PIAA finals, but fell to Southern Columbia, 62-25, in the 2A title tilt. Bishop Canevin was eliminated in the 1A semifinals to Redbank Valley, 23-14.
The WPIAL captured a record three PIAA boys’ soccer championships in 2021 as Hampton (3A), Quaker Valley (2A), and Winchester Thurston (1A) all won gold. District VII netted two titles in 1990, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2013, and 2020.
Hampton won its third PIAA title with a 1-0 triumph over Archbishop Wood in the 3A final on Sat., Nov. 20. The Talbots reached the championship match with wins over Hollidaysburg (6-0), Franklin Regional (2-0), and West Allegheny (2-1, 6-5 PK). Fellow WPIAL schools West Allegheny and Franklin Regional reached the semifinals and quarterfinals, respectively.
Quaker Valley added a league-best ninth PIAA crown with a victory over Lewisburg in the 2A final on Fri., Nov. 19, winning 5-4 in penalty kicks. The Quakers didn’t allow a goal over the course of the tournament, defeating Grove City (8-0), Somerset (7-0), and North Catholic (2-0) en route to the championship. North Catholic and Ambridge respectively made the semifinals and quarterfinals.
Winchester Thurston earned its first PIAA championship with a 1-0 overtime decision against Faith Christian in the 1A finale on Sat., Nov. 20. The Bears reached the championship match with wins over Everett (7-0), Mercer (6-0), and Eden Christian Academy (2-1). Eden Christian Academy and Greensburg Central Catholic advanced to the semifinals and quarterfinals, respectively.
Seneca Valley nearly made it 4-for-4 in the 4A classification, but ultimately fell to Conestoga, 1-0, on Fri., Nov. 19. The Raiders qualified for the title match with wins over Hempfield (3-0), Lower Merion (3-0), and Peters Township (2-1). Peters Township made the semifinals before its defeat to Seneca Valley.
Moon and Mars brought PIAA girls’ soccer trophies home for the WPIAL, as District VII produced multiple state champions in the sport for the sixth time.
Moon’s fourth PIAA title was its first at 4A, as it defeated Conestoga, 2-0, on Fri., Nov. 19. The Tigers reached Hershey by defeating Ephrata (1-0), Owen J. Roberts (1-0), and Central Dauphin (2-1). The other WPIAL qualifier, Seneca Valley, fell in the first round.
Mars earned its third consecutive PIAA championship and fourth overall with a 2-1 double-overtime triumph against Radnor in the 3A final on Sat., Nov. 20. The Fightin’ Planets netted wins over Red Land (2-0), Montour (1-0), and Plum (1-0) to defend their crown. Plum and Montour reached the semifinals and quarterfinals, respectively.
The WPIAL also made the championship games in the 2A and 1A classifications, only to see Avonworth and Greensburg Central Catholic fall. Avonworth lost 2-1 to Allentown Central Catholic after using three consecutive shutouts against Fort LeBoeuf (4-0), Trinity (2-0), and North Catholic (3-0) to reach Hershey. Greensburg Central Catholic won one-goal matches against Mercer (3-2), Freedom Area (1-0), and Steel Valley (2-1), before dropping a 4-0 decision to Southern Columbia.
The WPIAL represented half of the PIAA girls’ volleyball championship four, with North Allegheny (4A) and North Catholic (2A) earning gold on Sat., Nov. 20. This is the 13th time that District VII has produced multiple PIAA champions.
North Allegheny made it five straight PIAA championships with a 3-1 (23-25, 27-25, 25-18, 25-15) win over Parkland. The Tigers knocked off State College (3-0), Elizabethtown (3-0), and Shaler (3-1) to reach the 4A title tilt. Shaler reached the semifinals before falling to North Allegheny.
North Catholic swept Trinity in three sets (25-20, 25-19, 25-23) to collect the 2A crown, its second in three seasons. The Trojans defeated Corry (3-0), Bedford (3-0), and Philipsburg-Osceola (3-2) in their march to the championship match. Other WPIAL qualifiers, Avonworth and Seton LaSalle, bowed out in the first round.
Hampton finished runner-up in 3A, falling to Spring Grove in four sets (21-25, 20-25, 25-22, 19-25). The Talbots earned wins over DuBois (3-0) and Armstrong (3-1) before knocking off Freeport, 3-1, in a WPIAL title tilt rematch. Freeport qualified for the semifinals, and Armstrong made the quarterfinals. Plum also reached the PIAA tournament, falling in the first round.
Bishop Canevin was the highest-finishing team in 1A, making the semifinals. The Crusaders defeated Oswayo Valley (3-0) and Cochranton (3-2) before losing to eventual PIAA champion Clarion in three sets. Greensburg Central Catholic and California also fell to Clarion in the quarterfinals and first round, respectively.
The WPIAL saw its three champions fall in the PIAA first round. Pine-Richland dropped a 2-0 decision to Central York in 3A, Penn-Trafford fell to Fleetwood, 4-0, in 2A, and Shady Side Academy was edged by Lancaster Mennonite, 1-0, in 1A.
Emmaus (3A), Twin Valley (2A), and Wyoming Seminary (1A) captured the PIAA championships on Sat., Nov. 20.
BOYS’ CROSS COUNTRY
North Allegheny claimed its second consecutive and 15th overall PIAA boys’ cross country title on Sat., Nov. 6, scoring 63 points to defeat La Salle College by 62 in the 3A classification. Butler placed fourth with 202 points, while Fox Chapel came home in 11th after scoring 309 points.
Individually, the Butler duo of CJ Singleton and Drew Griffiths claimed 3A gold and silver, respectively. Singleton won the title with a time of 15:52.9, besting his teammate’s 15:58.1 mark. Peters Township’s Brett Kroboth finished fifth with a 16:15.5.
In 2A, Hampton was the top finishing WPIAL school in seventh place, 111 points behind champion Lewisburg. North Catholic (9th, 256) and Blackhawk (11th, 265) also finished inside the top 11, and Ringgold’s Ryan Pajak was the top individual from District VII with an eighth-place finish (16:40.2).
Winchester Thurston came 43 points away from winning its fourth PIAA boys’ cross country title, ultimately finishing runner-up to Hughesville with 140 points. Riverview was right behind the Bears with 145 points for third, and Eden Christian Academy (7th, 237) and Our Lady of Sacred Heart (11th, 342) also placed inside the top 11.
Riverside’s Ty Fluharty earned 1A silver with a time of 16:39.5, about eight seconds off the winning time of Palisades’ Thomas Smigo. Eden Christian Academy’s Sean Aiken finished fifth with a mark of 16:54.6.
GIRLS’ CROSS COUNTRY
For the third time in league history, the WPIAL claimed multiple girls’ cross country team championships with North Allegheny (3A) and Montour (2A) both topping their respective fields on Sat., Nov. 6. Individually, Moon’s Mia Cochran became the second three-time champion from a WPIAL school by capturing gold in the 3A race.
North Allegheny’s seventh PIAA girls’ cross country title came off 62 points, 87 better than runner-up Dallastown. Mt. Lebanon (6th, 222) and Pine-Richland (7th, 227) were the other two WPIAL qualifiers, both finishing inside the top seven.
Cochran’s third individual state title was achieved with a time of 18:08.5, besting runner-up Logan St. John Kettler of Mt. Lebanon at 18:21.3. The WPIAL claimed four of the top six spots in the 3A race, with North Allegheny duo Eva Kynaston (18:38.2) and Wren Kucler (18:40.9) finishing fifth and sixth, respectively.
Montour topped Central Cambria, 84-97, to claim its first PIAA title at 2A. The Spartans were one of three WPIAL schools to finish inside the top seven, with Chartiers Valley (5th, 187) and Beaver (7th, 231) joining them.
There were three WPIAL student-athletes to finish inside the top four of the 2A race, led by Brownsville’s Jolena Quarzo. Quarzo was runner-up to Blue Mountain’s Olivia Haas with a time of 18:50.7, with Montour’s Harley Kletz (19:09.0) and Uniontown’s Hope Trimmer (19:27.4) claiming third and fourth, respectively.
Mohawk finished second in 1A with 160 points, 43 behind champion Notre Dame-Green Pond. Our Lady of Sacred Heart (5th, 187), Winchester Thurston (9th, 257), and Avonworth (15th, 329) completed the WPIAL contingent, and Aquinas Academy’s Alexis Abbett placed sixth with a time of 20:14.3 to pace all District VII runners.
The WPIAL added a PIAA championship in 2A doubles as Knoch duo Emily Greb and Lindsey Greb were victorious on Sat., Nov. 6. The pair defeated Conrad Weiser’s Emma Perkins and Michelle Timothy in two extended sets (7-6(4), 7-6(4)) to claim gold.
Greb and Greb advanced to the 2A doubles final with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Wyomissing’s Elise Wang and Ananya Rai, a 7-6(4), 6-2 triumph against Moravian Academy’s Isabella Bartolacci and Francesca Bartolacci, and a 6-3, 6-3 decision versus Villa Maria Academy’s Anne Marie Prichard and Abby Consiglio.
District VII also earned one silver and two bronze medals across the 2A and 3A classifications. Sewickley Academy nearly captured the 2A team title, falling to Wyoming Seminary, 3-2, on Sat., Oct. 30. Bethel Park’s Mia Gorman finished third in 3A singles with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Council Rock South’s Dasha Chickina. Sewickley Academy’s Ashley Close also earned bronze with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 triumph against Knoch’s Ally Bauer.
In the team tournaments, only Sewickley Academy advanced past the quarterfinals. Upper St. Clair, Greater Latrobe, and Peters Township won one match each on the 3A side, and Knoch and Beaver each earned a win in the 2A bracket.
Outside of the aforementioned Greb and Greb, two doubles teams reached the quarterfinals in their respective classifications. Shady Side Academy’s Elana Sobol and Rachel Nath won against Abington Heights’ Rina Hanumali and Susan Arp in two sets (6-4, 6-1) in 3A, while Sewickley Academy’s Kirsten Close and Roshni Thakkar defeated Archbishop Wood’s Laura Gaylord and Claire Cardle, 6-0, 6-1 in the 2A first round.
In 2A singles competition, Bauer and South Park’s Nicole Kempton earned at least one win in the bracket. Bauer advanced to the third-place consolation match after knocking off Masterman’s Glulia Sheth (6-2, 6-2) and Lancaster Catholic’s Anna Millen (7-6(3), 6-0), and Kempton opened the tournament with a 6-3, 6-1 triumph against Merion Mercy Academy’s Ashley Gomes.
Fox Chapel came just shy of its second PIAA boys’ golf championship, falling in a playoff to State College on Mon., Oct. 25. The Foxes fired a 292 as a team, with Davey Fuhrer’s 70 leading the way.
The WPIAL had two student-athletes share silver in the 2A individual final on Mon., Oct. 18 with Quaker Valley’s Jackson Bould and Avonworth’s Kai Carlson each posted a three-over 74. The two finished two strokes off the top spot, which was claimed by Union City’s Josh James.
Fox Chapel’s Eli Yofan and Penn-Trafford’ Nick Turowski both carded a one-over 72 in the 3A individual final on Tues., Oct. 19, sharing fourth place. Gold was won by Downingtown West’s Nick Gross, who outlasted two others in a playoff after firing a 69 (-2) over the 18 holes.
North Catholic placed fourth in the 2A team final after posting a score of 334. Tommy Burke led the Trojans on the day by carding an 80. Devon Prep registered a 304 to claim the 2A team title.
Peters Township nearly netted its first PIAA girls’ golf championship in the 3A final on Mon., Oct. 25, coming in second with a 238 – two strokes behind champion Downingtown East. Delaney Kern led the Indians with a 71, while Nina Busch’s 76 helped secure a third-place finish for Fox Chapel at 241.
Greensburg Central Catholic also collected a second-place finish in the 2A final on Mon., Oct. 25, finishing 14 strokes behind Hickory with a score of 239. Meghan Zambruno’s 75 paced the Centurions, who were one of two WPIAL teams in the field. Central Valley placed 5th after posting a tally of 291.
Zambruno finished a stroke off the top spot in the 2A individual final on Mon., Oct. 18, firing a two-over 74 to place behind Camp Hill’s Paige Richter. She was one of four District VII student-athletes inside the top 10, joining teammates Ella Zambruno and Izzy Aigner, and Quaker Valley’s Eva Bulger – all of which tied for 10th with scores of 83.
Peters Township’s Allison Poon and Uniontown’s Adena Rugola were the top WPIAL finishers in the 3A individual final on Tues., Oct. 19, sharing sixth place with rounds of five-over 77. The two were nine strokes off Lower Merion’s Sydney Yermish, who claimed gold with a four-under 68. Mt. Lebanon’s Lindsey Powanda also placed inside the top 10 with a score of 78 (+6).