Four Westmoreland County football schools to drop in classification

Hempfield and Norwin will lower to 5A while Greater Latrobe and Kiski Area will move to 4A

Thu Dec 23, 2021 - 3:36AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
In the new realignment starting in Fall of 2022, Hempfield Area will play in Class 5A. (Photo by the new realignment starting in Fall of 2022, Hempfield Area will play in Class 5A. (Photo by

Last Updated: Thu Dec 23, 2021 - 3:48AM

Student enrollment numbers have already been submitted for the upcoming two-year realignment for PIAA sports, and a nuance in how those numbers were calculated will likely have a drastic effect on several Westmoreland County schools.

Based on the new cutoff numbers for football, Hempfield Area and Norwin will both drop from 6A to 5A, while Greater Latrobe and Kiski Area will descend from 5A to 4A for the next cycle. Schools have until January to notify the PIAA if they want to play up in classification but none of those districts indicated that they do.

The changes resulted from an array of districts resubmitting their enrollment numbers recently after reviewing how vocational and technical education students were counted. Previously, schools were counting all of their vo-tech students towards their total enrollment but recently uncovered a provision that allows them to only have to claim 10 percent of those students. So, for example, if a school has 100 vo-tech students they were claiming all 100 towards their enrollment. Now, they would only need to count 10 of those 100 students.

This lowered enrollment for many Western Pennsylvania schools.

As a result, with Hempfield Area, Norwin, and Baldwin all dropping from 6A, the WPIAL’s largest classification is likely to only include five teams for football.

In the current cycle, the Spartans and Knights were the only Westmoreland teams that played in 6A for football. The other county schools in football this fall included: Class 5A Penn-Trafford, Franklin Regional, Greater Latrobe, and Kiski Area; Class 4A Belle Vernon Area and Greensburg Salem; Class 3A Mount Pleasant Area, Derry Area, Southmoreland, Yough, Burrell, and Valley; Class 2A Ligonier Valley; Class 1A Jeannette, Greensburg Central Catholic, and Monessen.

Although these expected changes with football realignment have been paramount, all high-school sports sanctioned through the PIAA will be impacted by the impending realignment. The WPIAL is expected to approve fall alignments at a meeting on Jan. 18, with schedules to be released the following month.

The parameters for 2022-23 and 2023-24 for football dictate that 1-123 falls into the 1A classification, while 124-180 is 2A, 181-262 is 3A, 263-382 is 4A, 383-557 is 5A, and 558 and above is 6A. The parameters differ for each sport, however, and by male and female distinctions. For instance, enrollment for boys basketball to play in 1A is 1-83, while 508 and above constitutes playing in 6A.