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PIAA unanimously approves weight class change to 13 for high school wrestling

LH EXPRESS FILE PHOTO Central Mountain’s Derek Keen wrestles at the PIAA Class AAA championships this past season in Hershey at 113 pounds. The PIAA unanimously approved its weight class change to 13. While Keen’s weight class of 113 remains unaffected, the upper classes will see changes this winter.

For the first time in PIAA history, the organization is reducing the number of weight classes for high school wrestling. The PIAA Board of Directors unanimously approved the change in weight classes from 14 to 13 at its monthly meeting Wednesday afternoon.

This is the fifth time in the history of the state’s high school athletics governing body it has changed the number of weight classes offered in the sport. But Wednesday marked the first time it will take a weight class away.

The PIAA has wrestled with 14 weight classes since the 215-pound weight class was added in 2003. But on the recommendation of the PIAA Wrestling Steering Committee, the board approved a move to reduce the number of upper weights offered to student-athletes. The weight classes which will be offered for this winter’s season will be: 106 pounds, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 172, 189, 215 and 285.

The weight classes from 106 pounds through 160 pounds did not change. The vote condenses the previous five weight between 170 and 285 pounds to just four weight classes.

“I think it’s the right move,” PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Lombardi said. “It’s been a three-year process. The coaches association is supportive of this. They voted for it repeatedly. Having the support of the coaches association and the sports medicine committee was huge. They think it’s the right thing to do and I agree with them.”

Lombardi said the end goal of reducing the number of weight classes was to reduce the number of forfeits in dual meets. He said 93% of PIAA dual meets last year featured at least one forfeit.

The board was expecting the National Federation of High Schools to make changes to the weight classes at their meeting earlier this year, but no change came. Following that, the PIAA Wrestling Steering Committee made the recommendation to the board, based on three years of study, to make the reduction to 13 weight classes.

“That’s ridiculous,” Lombardi said. “It means we’re not having kids fulfill the weight classes that we have. It’s too many. And I think it’s important to follow the steering committee and the coaches association and move to 13.”

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