Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association

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Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association
PIAA newlogo.png
Map of USA highlighting Pennsylvania.png
Abbreviation PIAA
Formation December 29, 1913
Type Volunteer; NPO
Legal status Association
Purpose/focus Athletic/Educational
Headquarters 550 Gettysburg Rd.
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Region served Pennsylvania
Membership 1,452 schools
Official languages English
Executive Director Robert Lombardi
Affiliations National Federation of State High School Associations
Staff 13
Remarks (717) 697-0374

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. (PIAA) is one of the governing bodies of high school and junior high school sports for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States.

PIAA member schools are known for some of the most highly regarded and competitive high school sports programs in the U.S. The state's lacrosse, football, field hockey, swimming & diving, wrestling, cross country, and basketball programs are generally considered among the best in the U.S.

The PIAA main office is based in the Harrisburg suburb of Mechanicsburg.


The old PIAA logo

Beginning in Pittsburgh, on December 29, 1913, the PIAA was charged with serving its member schools and registered officials by establishing policies and adopting contest rules that emphasize the educational values of interscholastic athletics, promote safe and sportsmanlike competition, and provide uniform standards for all interscholastic levels of competition.

As a result of the cooperative efforts of its membership, PIAA has assisted intermediate school, middle school, junior high school, and senior high school students in participating in interscholastic athletic programs on a fair and equitable basis, thus producing important education benefits.


The PIAA divides its member schools' counties into 12 geographical districts for the purpose of state championship competition. The following list is the district breakdown by county.

While this is a general outline of the districts, there are some notable exceptions:

East vs. West[edit]

Traditionally for state championship competition for team sports, Pennsylvania is divided into Eastern and Western regions. Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, and 12 usually make up the Eastern Region; Districts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 usually comprise the Western Region. The winners of each region compete against each other for the state championship. However, since the creation of District 12 with the admission of the Philadelphia Public Schools into the PIAA, the East vs. West format has been abandoned for some sports in certain classifications, particularly at the Class AAAA level where there are more large schools in the East. For example, in PIAA football, District 3 schools compete in the early rounds of the state playoffs against Philadelphia schools in some classes, and against Pittsburgh schools in others.


The PIAA sponsors 16 boys' sports and 16 girls' sports. However, the PIAA only sponsors state championships for 12 boys' sports and 11 girls' sports. The following is a list of PIAA sponsored sports championships.

  • Girls' sports: basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball

There are Pennsylvania schools that offer sports not fully sponsored by the PIAA such as gymnastics, ice hockey, bowling, rifle, water polo and other Olympic sports. These sports are governed by other sport specific bodies that use similar PIAA rules for classification and eligibility, but are not officially recognized as state champions by the PIAA. The PIAA took over jurisdiction of both boys' and girls' lacrosse in July 2008.

School classifications[edit]

Every two years, the PIAA divides the member schools into either two, three, or four different classifications for each sport, depending on the number of male or female students enrolled in each school.

The number of statewide member schools participating in a particular sport will determine how many different classifications there will be. For example, boys' volleyball, the sport with the smallest number of participating schools, only has a AA or AAA classification. By comparison, boys' basketball, which has the largest number of participating schools, has A, AA, AAA and AAAA classifications. The number of A's signify how large or small the school is; Class A is the smallest classification, while AAAA is the largest. The PIAA tries to place an equal number of schools in each classification.

Because the PIAA determines classifications separately for each sex in each sport, it is possible that a coeducational school may find its boys' and girls' teams in different classes in the same sport. Smaller schools can choose to compete at a higher classification—possible reasons are to maintain existing rivalries, or in rare cases to place their boys' and girls' teams in the same class—but larger schools can not choose to compete at a lower classification level. For purposes of all-star games and awards, the A and AA classes are referred to as "small schools", while AAA and AAAA are referred to as "big schools." In recent years, there has been a running debate over the possibility of splitting the football tournament into five or six classifications, instead of the current four.

Hershey, PA[edit]

While some sports' championship games have been held at various venues and cities across the state, no city is more associated with the PIAA than Hershey. Hershey's proximity to Harrisburg, as well as easy highway access via the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstates 81 and 83 for teams from across the state makes it an ideal location for the games. Hersheypark Stadium hosts the football and soccer championships; the Parkview Cross Country Course, located across the street from Hershey Park and Chocolate World, hosts the Cross Country Championships. Giant Center hosts wrestling, and the Hershey Racquet Club hosts the tennis championships.

In 2006, the PIAA announced that they had refused Hershey's application for a contract extension to host the basketball championships at Giant Center. Starting for the 2006–2007 season, the eight championship games will be played at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center. The PIAA cited monetary reasons for the move.

Even the non-PIAA sport of ice hockey hosted the 2005 Pennsylvania Cup championship at the historic Hersheypark Arena. The PIAA football championships have been contested since 1988, with the first games being held at various sites across the state. In the early 1990s, the game was moved to Altoona's Mansion Park, in part because playing four games in two days would not affect the artificial turf playing surface on the field. The football championships were moved to Hershey in the late 1990s to add to the tradition of PIAA championship competition near the state capital.

Altoona hosts the baseball championships at Peoples Natural Gas Field, home of the Altoona Curve of the Class AA Eastern League. The track and field championships are contested at Seth Grove Stadium on the campus of Shippensburg University, 40 miles southwest of Harrisburg. Shippensburg also hosts the softball finals at Robb Field.

Championship sites[edit]

Fall 2010–2013[1][edit]

Sport Facility Location Tournaments
Cross Country Parkview Cross Country Course Hershey Boys' AA, AAA

Girls' AA, AAA

Golf Heritage Hills Golf Resort York Boys' Team, Individual

Girls' Team, Individual

Field Hockey Whitehall-Coplay School District Whitehall AA, AAA
Football Hersheypark Stadium Hershey A, AA, AAA, AAAA
Soccer Hersheypark Stadium Hershey Boys' A, AA, AAA

Girls' A, AA, AAA

Tennis Hershey Racquet Club Hershey Girls' AA Team, AAA Team;

AA Singles, AAA Singles;
AA Doubles, AAA Doubles

Volleyball Central York High School York Girls' A, AA, AAA

Spring 2011–[2][edit]

Sport Facility Location Tournaments
Baseball Medlar Field at Lubrano ParkPennsylvania State University State College A, AA, AAA, AAAA
Basketball Bryce Jordan CenterPennsylvania State University State College Boys' A, AA, AAA, AAAA

Girls' A, AA, AAA, AAAA

Lacrosse Hersheypark Stadium Hershey Girls' & Boys'
Soccer Hersheypark Stadium Hershey Girls' AA, AAA
Softball Nittany Lion Softball ParkPennsylvania State University State College A, AA, AAA, AAAA
Swimming and Diving Kinney Natatorium - Bucknell University Lewisburg Boys' AA, AAA

Girls' AA, AAA

Tennis Hershey Racquet Club Hershey Boys' AA Team, AAA Team;

AA Singles, AAA Singles;
AA Doubles, AAA Doubles

Track & Field Seth Grove StadiumShippensburg University Shippensburg AA, AAA
Volleyball Recreation BuildingPennsylvania State University State College Boys' AA, AAA
Central York High School York Girls' A, AA, AAA
Wrestling GIANT Center Hershey AA Team, AAA Team,

AA Individual, AAA Individual

Recent Football Champions[edit]

Class AAAA:

  • 2013: Saint Joseph's Prep (District 12)
  • 2012: North Allegheny (District 7)
  • 2011: Central Dauphin (District 3)
  • 2010: North Allegheny (District 7)
  • 2009: LaSalle College (District 12)
  • 2008: Liberty (District 11)
  • 2007: Pittsburgh Central Catholic (District 7)
  • 2006: Upper St. Clair (District 7)
  • 2005: McKeesport (District 7)
  • 2004: Pittsburgh Central Catholic (District 7)
  • 2003: North Penn (District 1)
  • 2002: Parkland (District 11)
  • 2001: Neshaminy (District 1)
  • 2000: Cathedral Prep (District 10)

Class AAA:

  • 2012: Cathedral Prep (District 10)
  • 2011: Archbishop Wood (District 12)
  • 2010: Allentown Central Catholic (District 11)
  • 2009: Selinsgrove (District 4)
  • 2008: Thomas Jefferson (District 7)
  • 2007: Thomas Jefferson (District 7)
  • 2006: General McLane (District 10)
  • 2005: Franklin Regional (District 7)
  • 2004: Thomas Jefferson (District 7)
  • 2003: Manheim Central (District 3)
  • 2002: Hopewell (District 7)
  • 2001: West Allegheny (District 7)
  • 2000: Strath Haven (District 1)

Class AA:

  • 2013: South Fayette (District 7)
  • 2012: Wyomissing Area (District 3)
  • 2011: Lancaster Catholic (District 3)
  • 2010: West Philadelphia Catholic (District 12)
  • 2009: Lancaster Catholic (District 3)
  • 2008: Wilmington Area (District 10)
  • 2007: Jeannette (District 7)
  • 2006: Wilson (District 11)
  • 2005: South Park (District 7)
  • 2004: Lansdale Catholic (District 1)
  • 2003: Aliquippa (District 7)
  • 2002: Mount Carmel (District 4)
  • 2001: Washington (District 7)
  • 2000: Mount Carmel (District 4)

Class A:

  • 2013: Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (District 7)
  • 2012: Clairton (District 7)
  • 2011: Clairton (District 7)
  • 2010: Clairton (District 7)
  • 2009: Clairton (District 7)
  • 2008: Steelton-Highspire (District 3)
  • 2007: Steelton-Highspire (District 3)
  • 2006: Southern Columbia (District 4)
  • 2005: Southern Columbia (District 4)
  • 2004: Southern Columbia (District 4)
  • 2003: Southern Columbia (District 4)
  • 2002: Southern Columbia (District 4)
  • 2001: Rochester (District 7)
  • 2000: Rochester (District 7)

Recent Boys' Basketball Champions[edit]

Class AAAA:

  • 2013: Lower Merion (District 1)
  • 2012: Chester (District 1)
  • 2011: Chester (District 1)
  • 2010: Plymouth-Whitemarsh (District 1)
  • 2009: Penn Wood (District 1)
  • 2008: Chester (District 1)
  • 2007: Schenley (District 8)
  • 2006: Parkland (District 11)
  • 2005: Chester (District 1)
  • 2004: Penn Hills (District 7)
  • 2003: State College (District 6)
  • 2002: Harrisburg (District 3)
  • 2001: Coatesville (District 1)
  • 2000: Chester (District 1)

Class AAA:

  • 2013: Imhotep Charter (District 12)
  • 2012: Neumann-Goretti (District 12)
  • 2011: Neumann-Goretti (District 12)
  • 2010: Neumann-Goretti (District 12)
  • 2009: Archbishop Carroll (District 12)
  • 2008: Steelton-Highspire (District 3)
  • 2007: General McLane (District 10)
  • 2006: Franklin Area (District 10)
  • 2005: Steelton-Highspire (District 3)
  • 2004: Moon (District 7)
  • 2003: Lancaster Catholic (District 3)
  • 2002: Kennett (District 1)
  • 2001: Franklin Area (District 10)
  • 2000: Steelton-Highspire (District 3)

Class AA:

  • 2013: Beaver Falls (District 7)
  • 2012: Imhotep Charter (District 12)
  • 2011: Imhotep Charter (District 12)
  • 2010: South Fayette (District 7)
  • 2009: Imhotep Charter (District 12)
  • 2008: Jeanette (District 7)
  • 2007: Prep Charter (District 12)
  • 2006: Prep Charter (District 12)
  • 2005: Beaver Falls (District 7)
  • 2004: Sto-Rox (District 7)
  • 2003: Trinity (District 3)
  • 2002: Bishop Hennan (District 2)
  • 2001: Trinity (District 3)
  • 2000: Shady Side Academy (District 7)

Class A:

  • 2013: Vaux (District 12)
  • 2012: Constitution (District 12)
  • 2011: MCS Charter (District 12)
  • 2010: Sewickley Academy (District 7)
  • 2009: Girard College (District 12)
  • 2008: Serra Catholic (District 7)
  • 2007: Reading Central Catholic (District 3)
  • 2006: Elk County Catholic (District 9)
  • 2005: Bishop O'Reilly (District 2)
  • 2004: Bishop O'Reilly (District 2)
  • 2003: Scotland School (District 3)
  • 2002: Scotland School (District 3)
  • 2001: Kennedy Christian (District 10)
  • 2000: Kennedy Christian (District 10)

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ PIAA baseball, softball title games moved to Penn State

External links[edit]