The PIAA Board of Directors provided the first expansion of the state individual wrestling brackets in 41 years by adding four wrestlers per weight class, expanding the previous 16-man bracket to a 20-man bracket.


The change passed on a 26-5 affirmative vote; District 3’s representatives – Chairman Ron Kennedy of Donegal and Vice-Chairman Doug Bohannon of ELCO – voted against the proposal.  While District 3 does not oppose opportunities for participation, it opposes the notion that the additional wrestlers that advance to the state tournament will do so by losing a place match, rather than winning that match.


District 3 has advanced 4 wrestlers from its Class AAA wrestling championships directly to states the last two years.  But the 3-AAA championships are also the PIAA’s Southcentral Region, and the PIAA’s proportional representation gave District 3 a fourth qualifying spot at states.  District 3 will advance four AAA wrestlers to states in 2014-2015 and five AAA wrestlers to states in 2015-2016.  District 3 and District 1 have the same number of Class AAA wrestling schools and will split the additional qualifier between those two seasons.


In addition, District 3’s Class AA wrestlers must qualify to states through the PIAA Class AA Southeast Region Tournament.  That region, which includes Districts 1 and 11, has advanced 5 wrestlers per weight to states for several years.  With the expansion, that region (along with the AA Southwest Region) will advance 6 wrestlers per weight class.  Wrestlers who place sixth at regionals lose three matches during the region tournament.


It is now possible for a District 3 Class AA wrestler to lose 11 matches in the post-season and still claim a PIAA medal.  A Class AA wrestler could place sixth in sections (3 losses), fifth in districts (2 losses), sixth in regions (3 losses) and either sixth or eighth in states (3 losses).


But that is an unlikely scenario, and District 3 welcomes the opportunity for its wrestlers to advance into state competition.