WPIAL Wins 32 Winter Sports State Titles in 2022-2023
Friday, April 14, 2023
Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) finished the 2022-2023 winter season at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) by claiming 32 championships across eight sports.
Additionally, WPIAL schools claimed six championships in gymnastics and rifle – sports that the PIAA does not sponsor state championships in.
The WPIAL earned eight team and 24 individual PIAA titles in the spring. Below is a brief recap of the league’s performance in each state championship event.
The WPIAL produced multiple PIAA champions for the third time in the last four seasons, with Lincoln Park (4A) and Imani Christian Academy (1A) emerging with the gold in their respective classifications.
Lincoln Park captured its third PIAA title with a 62-58 victory over District XII champion Neumann Goretti in the 4A classification on Thursday, March 23 at the GIANT Center in Hershey. The Leopards previously won in 2014 and 2019, and had an all-WPIAL lead-up to the title tilt – defeating South Allegheny (80-63) in the first round, Highlands (84-72) in the second round, Laurel Highlands (69-63) in the quarterfinals, and Uniontown (85-64) in the semifinals. In addition to Uniontown, Laurel Highlands, Highlands, and South Allegheny, Hampton was a PIAA qualifier from the WPIAL and fell in the second round.
In 1A, Imani Christian Academy won its first PIAA championship with a 81-64 triumph against District V champion Berlin Brothersvalley on Thursday, March 23. The Saints reached the final with victories over Clarion (78-43), District IX’s Union (80-48), Farrell (80-50), and District VII’s Union (72-40). The Scotties were semifinalists, Carlynton reached the quarterfinals, and Geibel Catholic and The Neighborhood Academy fell in the first round.
Deer Lakes was one of two WPIAL teams to finish as runners-up in their respective classification, as the Lancers fell in the 3A championship game to District XII champion West Catholic, 83-55. Deer Lakes made it to Hershey with wins over Seneca (75-34), Loyalsock Township (67-59), Neshannock (67-56), and Penn Cambria (61-56). Neshannock made the quarterfinals, and both Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Steel Valley won a game in the PIAA bracket. Seton LaSalle, Shady Side Academy, and Yough also qualified from the WPIAL.
Aliquippa fell to District III champion Lancaster Mennonite, 60-44, in the 2A championship game. The Quips knocked off Karns City (65-33), West Branch (84-29), Bishop Canevin (67-56), and Otto Eldred (56-28) to punch their ticket to Hershey. Bishop Canevin was a quarterfinalist, and both Northgate and Serra Catholic were victorious in their first round matchups. Greensburg Central Catholic, Eden Christian Academy, and Clairton all dropped their opening games.
Penn Hills and Peters Township were the WPIAL’s highest finishing teams in the PIAA 5A bracket, both departing in the quarterfinals to Cathedral Prep and Exeter, respectively. Mars made it to the second round, while North Hills, Gateway, South Fayette, and Fox Chapel fell in the first round.
New Castle reached the PIAA 6A quarterfinals before falling to Reading. Central Catholic won its opening round contest before being eliminated, and Upper St. Clair also qualified from the WPIAL.
Union kept the WPIAL’s streak alive of five consecutive seasons with a PIAA girls’ basketball champion, as the Scotties were victorious at the 1A classification.
Union won its first PIAA girls’ basketball title in school history with a 46-29 triumph over District IV third-place Lourdes Regional in the 1A classification on Friday, March 24 at the GIANT Center in Hershey. The Scotties knocked off Clarion (47-9), Elk County Catholic (39-35), Williamsburg (43-37), and Berlin Brothersvalley (45-31) to reach the championship game. Aquinas Academy made it to the second round before being eliminated, while Bishop Canevin, Saint Joseph, and Monessen also qualified from the WPIAL.
In 5A, South Fayette finished as the classification runner-up after falling to District XII champion Archbishop Wood in the championship game, 61-54. The Lions made it to Hershey with wins over West York (73-33), Mechanicsburg (69-29), Cathedral Prep (40-37), and Oakland Catholic (40-37). Oakland Catholic was a semifinalist, McKeesport reached the quarterfinals, and both Mars and Penn-Trafford won their first round games. Woodland Hills and Trinity fell in the opening round.
Blackhawk fell in the 4A championship game to District XII champion Lansdale Catholic, 53-45. The Cougars were victorious over Warren (51-32), Knoch (38-35), Fairview (40-34), and North Catholic (45-40) in their run to the title tilt. North Catholic was a semifinalist, and Knoch won its first round contest. Quaker Valley, Highlands, and Beaver also qualified from the WPIAL.
The WPIAL’s highest finisher in 6A was Norwin, as the Knights fell in the semifinals to Cedar Cliff. North Allegheny and Upper St. Clair both were quarterfinalists, while Mt. Lebanon fell in the second round.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was eliminated in the 3A semifinals against River Valley. Shady Side Academy was the next highest WPIAL team in the quarterfinals, and Avonworth and Laurel both won their first-round matchups. Neshannock, Keystone Oaks, and Waynesburg Central all dropped their opening round contests.
Greensburg Central Catholic fell one game shy of the 2A championship game, dropping its semifinal game to Kennedy Catholic. Shenango made the quarterfinals, and both Burgettstown and Freedom Area qualified for the second round. Aliquippa, Serra Catholic, Brentwood, and Chartiers-Houston were eliminated in the first round.
BOYS’ SWIMMING & DIVING
WPIAL student-athletes won eight individual events – seven coming in the 2A classification – at the PIAA Boys’ Swimming & Diving Championships from March 15-18 at Kinney Natatorium on the campus of Bucknell University.
The lone gold medal at the 3A classification came in the 200 medley relay, as Franklin Regional’s quartet of junior Holden Thomas, senior Aiden Bunker, junior Benjamin Holm, and senior Jason Tosh touched the wall in 1:32.18 – besting Conestoga by 0.35 seconds.
Indiana sophomore Preston Kessler defended his 2A championships in the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle. Kessler clocked in at 44.54 seconds for the 100 freestyle, topping Springfield Township’s Will Cross by 1.22 seconds. In the 200 freestyle, he finished in 1:39.27 to beat Dallas’s Maddoc Watkins by 1.02 seconds.
Southmoreland senior Henry Miller claimed his second 2A gold medal in the 100 butterfly, clocking in at 48.88 seconds – edging out Mt. Pleasant’s David Mutter by 0.18 seconds. Miller added a second gold in the 50 freestyle with a time of 20.16 seconds, topping Blue Mountain’s Noah Powers by 0.26 seconds.
Riverside junior Joseph Roth won his second consecutive 2A gold medal in the 100 backstroke, as his time of 48.66 seconds bested Warren’s Hugh Harrison by 1.35 seconds.
In the 100 breaststroke, Mt. Pleasant sophomore Joseph Gardner established a new PIAA 2A Championships record with a time of 55.23 seconds, topping Indiana’s Alex Bauer by 1.30 seconds.
Kiski Area senior Parker Sterlitz finished his high school career with a 2A gold medal in the 500 freestyle, edging out Northgate’s Matthew Purcell by 1.23 seconds with a time of 4:30.40.
GIRLS’ SWIMMING & DIVING
For the first time in 21 seasons, the WPIAL swept the team titles at the PIAA Girls’ Swimming & Diving Championships as Mt. Pleasant (2A) and North Allegheny (3A) reigned over the competition. Held from March 15-18 at Kinney Natatorium on the campus of Bucknell University, student-athletes from the WPIAL added nine individual gold medals – three coming in relays – with four of those titles being successful defenses.
North Allegheny scored 194 points in the 3A meet to top Hatboro-Horsham by 18. This is the Tigers’ eighth PIAA championship, previously raising the trophy in 1984, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2021.
Mt. Pleasant posted 218.5 points over the 2A meet to run away with its first PIAA title, besting runner-up Wyoming Seminary by 100.5 points.
North Allegheny senior Christina Shi became the 19th different WPIAL student-athlete to win three or more PIAA gold medals in an event, topping the 3A field in the 1-meter dive. Conducted in a six-dive format this year, Shi registered a score of 264.45 – defeating Greater Latrobe’s Hannah Polosky by 16.05 points.
The other 3A individual championship came in the 100 backstroke, as Mt. Lebanon sophomore Sylvia Roy finished with a time of 53.28 seconds to best State College’s Jade Castro by 0.50 seconds.
Mt. Pleasant sophomore Lily King won both the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle at the 2A classification. King reigned in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle last year, and defended her title in the latter with a PIAA 2A Championships record time of 48.93 seconds – topping Northgate’s Elise Nardozzi by 0.60 seconds. She also edged out Nardozzi for the 200 freestyle crown by 0.57 seconds, touching the wall in 1:46.86.
Mapletown senior Ella Menear captured her third overall 2A gold medal and second in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:02.13, topping Lewisburg’s Kimberly Shannon by 0.62 seconds.
In the 100 breaststroke, Indiana sophomore Peyton Scott claimed the 2A gold medal with a time of 1:02.42 – besting Lower Moreland’s Sue Bin Park by 0.62 seconds.
Mt. Pleasant swept all three relay events at 2A. In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of King, sophomore Kiersten O’Connor, senior Trinity Graft, and senior SaraJo Gardner topped Cathedral Prep by 3.23 seconds with a time of 1:35.88. The Vikings bested Cathedral Prep by 2.25 seconds in the 200 medley relay, as O’Connor, Gardner, senior McKenna Mizikar, and senior Reegan Brown finished in 1:46.71. In the 400 freestyle relay, Brown, Mizikar, Graft, and King touched the wall in 3:31.57 – winning by 2.64 seconds over Northgate.
The WPIAL produced seven champions across the 2A and 3A classifications at the PIAA Wrestling Individual Championships, held from March 9-11 at the GIANT Center in Hershey. The seven gold medalists are tied with District XI for the most among all districts, and six of District VII’s seven champions claimed their second or third gold medals.
Greater Latrobe senior Vincent Kilkeary and Frazier junior Rune Lawrence both won their third PIAA championship, becoming the 26th and 27th WPIAL student-athletes to capture three or more individual state titles.
Kilkeary – previously the PIAA 3A champion at 106 in 2020 and 120 in 2022 – defeated Canon-McMillan’s Andrew Binni by an 8-5 decision to win gold at 127. He opened the tournament with a pin in 4:48 of Central Dauphin’s Liam Flanagan, followed by a 10-0 major decision of Easton’s Benjamin Fanelli. Kilkeary reached the final with a 3-1 decision against State College’s Hayden Cunningham.
West Allegheny senior Ty Watters claimed 3A gold at 152 with an 11-3 major decision against Central Dauphin’s Ryan Garvick. Watters, the 2022 champion at 145, started his run with a 23-7 technical fall versus Easton’s James Geiger, then pinned Boiling Springs’s Michael Duggan in 3:00 and Northampton’s Dagen Condomitti in 2:00 to qualify for the final.
At 160, Chartiers Valley senior Dylan Evans won the 3A title with a 3-2 ultimate tiebreaker decision against West Allegheny’s Shawn Taylor. Evans, the 2022 winner at 152, began the bracket with a 25-10 technical fall over Kennett’s Josh Barlow. He then used decisions of 8-3 against Bethlehem Catholic’s Andrew Harmon and 2-1 versus Shippensburg’s Dominic Frontino to set up the match against Taylor.
Waynesburg Central senior Rocco Welsh defended his 3A title at 172, defeating Canon-McMillan’s Matthew Furman by a 9-2 decision. Welsh opened the tournament with a fall in 1:10 against Penn-Trafford’s Tasso Whipple, then tallied a 25-10 technical fall over Central York’s Macon Myers and a 21-8 major decision versus Bethlehem Catholic’s Luke Thomas to qualify for the championship match.
Lawrence made it 3-for-3 for gold medals at the PIAA 2A Championships, as he pinned Brookville’s Jackson Zimmerman in 2:42 to win at 189. Previously the champion at 172 in 2021 and 2022, he won via fall in the first round over Milton’s Cale Bastian in 1:16 and in the semifinals against General McLane’s Magnus Lloyd in 0:55, with a 1-0 decision versus Saucon Valley’s Jacob Jones sandwiched in between.
Laurel senior Grant MacKay won his second PIAA 2A gold medal, topping the field at 160 with a 5-0 decision against Grove City’s Hunter Hohman. MacKay, previously the 2021 champion at 152, started the tournament with a 15-7 major decision against Northwestern Lehigh’s Luke Fugazzotto, then pinned General McLane’s Chance Kimmy in 2:50 and defeated Conneaut’s Collin Hearn by 9-1 major decision to reach the final.
Burrell junior Cooper Hornack was the lone WPIAL student-athlete to win his first PIAA gold medal, besting Bentworth’s Chris Vargo by a 2-1 decision in the 127 bracket at 2A. Hornack won each of his matches by decision, starting with a 6-1 score against Bermudian Springs’s Hayden Yacoviello-Andrus, a 5-0 score over Berks Catholic’s Marvin Armistead, and a 7-4 score versus North East’s Cyrus Hurd.
In 3A, the WPIAL produced runner-up finishers in Thomas Jefferson sophomore Maddox Shaw (133) and Waynesburg Central senior Mac Church (145). Church’s classmate Brody Evans finished third at 189, while Butler freshman Santino Sloboda (107), Chartiers Valley senior Brody Joling (121), Hempfield Area junior Eli Carr (139), Waynesburg Central senior Eli Makel (215), and Penn-Trafford senior Joe Enick (285) placed fourth. Greater Latrobe sophomore Luke Willochell finished fifth at 114.
At 2A, Central Valley junior Brenan Morgan finished as the runner-up at 215. Fourth-place finishers included Burrell freshman Cam Baker (107), Indiana sophomore Nico Fanella (114), and Fort Cherry sophomore Braedon Welsh (172), while Burgettstown junior Joseph Baronick placed sixth at 285.
The PIAA Wrestling Team Championships were held from February 9-11 at Hershey’s GIANT Center with preliminary rounds at home sites on February 6.
Canon-McMillan was the highest finishing team among WPIAL schools, placing fourth in the 3A classification. Waynesburg Central won its first round match and reached Round IV of the consolation bracket before being eliminated, while Hempfield Area picked up victories in the preliminary and first rounds before going out in Round II of the consolation bracket.
Burgettstown went furthest in the 2A tournament, winning its first round and quarterfinal matches before being eliminated in Round IV of the consolation bracket. Burrell fell in Round II of the consolation bracket, while Quaker Valley and Frazier were defeated in preliminary round matches.
The WPIAL took home the trophy in three of the five divisions at the PIAA Competitive Spirit Championships, held on January 27-28 at the GIANT Center in Hershey. Hempfield Area claimed the 3A Large Varsity title, Neshannock took home the 2A Large Varsity title, and Butler was the Co-Ed Varsity champion.
This was the first time that the WPIAL produced three champions, and extended its streak to eight straight years with a PIAA champion from District VII. The WPIAL previously won multiple titles in 2019 and 2022.
Hempfield Area was one of two repeat champions from the WPIAL, claiming the 3A Large Varsity title with a score of 92.50 points – besting runner-up Saint Huberts by 0.73 points. The Spartans were one of three District VII schools to qualify for the final, with Baldwin and North Allegheny finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Penn-Trafford also competed in the 3A Large Varsity division and qualified for the semifinals.
Neshannock defended its 2022 2A Large Varsity crown, registering a score of 84.47 points to top Hickory by 3.34 points. The Lancers were the only WPIAL school that competed in the 2A Large Varsity division.
Butler scored its fourth PIAA Competitive Spirit championship, posting a tally of 87.53 points to edge McDowell by 3.03 points. The Golden Tornado previously won the Small Varsity titles in 2013 and 2016, and then claimed the Co-Ed Varsity championship in 2019.
South Fayette finished as the runner-up at 3A Small Varsity, netting a score of 94.37 points – 0.20 behind champion Garnet Valley. The Lions were one of four WPIAL schools to reach the finals, with Thomas Jefferson placing fifth, Pine-Richland coming in eighth, and North Hills finishing ninth. Mars and Mt. Lebanon also competed in the division in the preliminary round.
Hampton was the highest finishing WPIAL school in the 2A Small Varsity division, placing fifth with a score of 81.5 points. Elizabeth Forward and Central Valley qualified for the finals and finished seventh and eighth, respectively. Hopewell also competed in the 2A Small Varsity division and made the semifinals.
The WPIAL represented well at the PA Classic Gymnastics Championships on February 17-18 at Moon High School, winning a team title, three events and the all-around individual crown at the top division. Moon captured the team crown, the Tigers’ Hayley Bates won the all-around title and balance beam event, and Baldwin’s Abby Rexrode and Freedom Area’s Daisy Lewis posted the top scores in the uneven bars and floor exercise, respectively.
Moon has now won the last three team titles at the PA Classic, doing so this year with a score of 149.000 – 6.125 better than runner-up Altoona. The Tigers were the top scoring team in all four events, posting a 37.875 in the vault, 36.650 in the uneven bars, 35.925 in the balance beam, and 37.650 in the floor exercise. Baldwin finished third with a score of 141.725, and Montour placed fourth with a score of 140.075.
Bates secured top-four finishes in each individual event, ultimately taking home the all-around title with a score of 37.950 – 0.7 better than teammate Tessa Romah. Her score of 9.525 was good enough for the gold in the balance beam ahead of Montour’s Eliana Knause, and she added finishes of third in the uneven bars (9.400), and fourth in the floor exercise (9.525) and vault (9.500) to come away with the all-around win.
Rexrode was victorious in the uneven bars, posting a score of 9.500 to top Altoona’s Abigail Donlan by 0.05. She added a runner-up effort in the floor exercise (9.575) and placed fifth overall with a tally of 37.000.
Lewis registered a score of 9.650 to claim gold in the floor exercise. She also added a second-place finish in the vault (9.550) and fourth-place effort in the uneven bars (9.400) to finish 10th overall with a tally of 36.350.
The WPIAL claimed six out of the top 10 spots on the all-around leaderboard, with the aforementioned three joined by Moon’s Piper Gillespie (4th, 37.075), Hopewell’s Meghan Kelly (6th, 36.900), and Montour’s Eliana Knause (9th, 36.500).
The PA Classic also featured a Silver Division team competition, and individual competitions in the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Divisions.
Thomas Jefferson was the runner-up in the Silver Division team championship with a score of 138.525, with Central Valley (3rd, 137.300), Hopewell (4th, 136.775), and West Allegheny (5th, 136.525) also competing.
In the Gold Division individual championship, Moon’s Aubrey Marasco posted the best all-around score at 35.575, thanks to wins in the vault (9.300) and balance beam (9.200). Thomas Jefferson’s Riley Barna placed second in the uneven bars (8.775) and Beaver’s Alexandra Biela finished second in the floor exercise (9.075).
In the Silver Division individual championship, Seton LaSalle’s Cassidy Rega registered the best all-around score at 34.150 with runner-up finishes in the vault (9.125) and uneven bars (8.175). Lincoln Park’s Ava Rossi won the balance beam (8.900), and Bethel Park’s Lacey Hartman posted the best floor exercise score (8.575).
In the Bronze Division individual championship, Baldwin’s Ella Scurry recorded the best all-around score at 32.400 with second-place finishes in the floor exercise (8.275) and uneven bars (7.550). Beaver’s Emma Ferricks won the vault (8.925) and Trinity’s Kelsey Flynn finished second in the balance beam (8.350).
Penn-Trafford was victorious at the Pennsylvania State Prone Team Rifle Championship on February 14, finishing with a score of 1023.3 to beat out Butler by 4.4. The Warriors and Golden Tornado were two of four WPIAL schools in the 12-team field, with Mt. Lebanon (1006.9) and Trinity (995.8) placing fifth and seventh, respectively.
Ivy Thomas had the best individual score at the event, leading Penn-Trafford with a mark of 206.6. Carlee Valenta was fourth with a 205.2 and Seth Baughman placed fifth with a 204.7.
Butler’s Hayleigh Gorog finished with runner-up honors at the Pennsylvania State Prone Rifle Individual Championships, registering a score of 412.7 – 3.3 behind champion Griffin Lake of Emmaus. The WPIAL had five student-athletes place inside the top 10, with Gorog followed by Bethel Park’s Gianni LaMolinare (3rd, 411.4), Mt. Lebanon’s JT Westwood (5th, 409.1), Frederick Mach (9th, 407.3), and Washington’s Chelsea Patrick (10th, 407.2).
At the Pennsylvania Interscholastic 3-P Smallbore Individual Championships, McGuffey’s Riley Dunn claimed silver with a score of 573-21x. Upper St. Clair finished 14th in the team championships with a score of 1856-25x.
Dunn placed third in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Air Rifle Individual Championships with a tally of 388-24x.
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