It’s has been a busy week in the world of Pennsylvania high school wrestling. Not only has postseason play just kicked off this week, Monday, Feb. 8, but also we are seeing numerous teams, both WPIAL and non-WPIAL, opt out of the team portion of the playoffs in an effort to maintain maximum health and safety as the induvial portion of playoff nears.
At this juncture, with respect to WPIAL schools, there have been five to forgo events since Thursday, Feb. 4. They are: No. 3 Hempfield withdrew Thurs. (Feb. 4). No. 4 Franklin Regional pulled out on Sun. (Feb. 7). No. 6 Canon-McMillan and No. 11 Butler pulled out Mon. (Feb 8). All decisions to opt-out were related to COVID-19 and related safety concerns, largely fears that participation in the team playoffs could lead to contracting the virus, thus further jeopardizing an athlete’s ability to take part in the individual portion of the postseason.
UPDATE: List of postseason opt-outs keeps growing. No. 3 Hempfield withdrew Thurs. (Feb. 4). No. 4 Franklin Regional pulled out on Sun. (Feb. 7). No. 6 Canon-McMillan and No. 11 Butler pulled out Mon. (Feb 8). All related to COVID & related safety concerns. @PghSportsNow https://t.co/aS3li8nEWd
— Christopher Miller (@MLLRC93) February 9, 2021
Hempfield and Canon-McMillan were not replaced in their respective section tournaments, giving Thomas Jefferson and Peters Township a bye in the semifinals. Plum replaced Franklin Regional, and West Allegheny replaced Butler.
In Class 2A, No. 10 Knoch, in a COVID-19 shutdown, withdrew before the seeding meeting and was replaced by Valley, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The WPIAL isn’t the only district that had teams opt out of postseason tournaments, according to the Tribune Review.
District 10 (Northwest Pennsylvania) announced that due to the overwhelming number of opt-outs by Class AAA teams, the tournament will not be held and Erie’s Cathedral Prep will be declared district champion. The Class AA tournament is still scheduled to be held.
District 11 (Allentown-Bethlehem area) has also announced that its team tournaments will not be held. Bethlehem Catholic (Class AAA) and Notre Dame-Green Pond (Class AA) were announced as champions.
Results from Section Championships:
• No. 1 Waynesburg won its second Section 4 title in a row with a 66-6 win over Peters Township. The Raiders beat Mt,. Lebanon, 72-6, in the semifinals.
— RAIDER NATION (@WBG_RAIDERS) February 9, 2021
• No. 2 Seneca Valley earned its fourth consecutive Section 3 title with a 36-27 win against No. 6 North Allegheny. The Raiders blanked Mars, 78-0, in the semifinals.
• No. 8 Kiski Area won its fifth Section 1 title in six years with a 39-36 win over Penn-Trafford. Ethan Connor’s pin at 138 pounds clinched the victory. The Cavaliers advanced to the final with a 42-26 win over Plum.
• No. 7 Connellsville earned its 43rd consecutive WPIAL team tournament berth with two victories in Section 2. The Falcons opened with a 40-25 semifinal win over Norwin, then beat Thomas Jefferson, 43-27.
• No. 1 Burrell increased its streak of consecutive section victories to 130 and claimed its 18th title in a row with a 49-18 win over No. 3 Mount Pleasant. The Buccaneers beat No. 9 Derry, 51-12, in the semifinals.
— Burrell Wrestling (@BurrellWrestlin) February 9, 2021
• No. 2 Burgettstown rallied from an 18-6 deficit to claim its a second Section 1 title with a 46-18 win over No. 5 Beth-Center. The Blue Devils earned their title berth with a 65-9 semifinal domination of No. 6 McGuffey.
• No. 4 Quaker Valley won its third consecutive Section 2 title with a 45-21 win over No. 8 Montour. The Quakers advanced with a 54-12 win over Freedom.
The top two teams in each section qualify for the WPIAL team tournaments, which begin Wednesday, Feb. 10.