Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association
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|Formation||December 29, 1913|
|Headquarters||550 Gettysburg Rd.
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
|Executive Director||Robert Lombardi|
|Affiliations||National Federation of State High School Associations|
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.
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.
- District 1: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery
- District 2: Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming
- District 3: Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York
- District 4: Bradford, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union
- District 5: Bedford, Fulton and Somerset
- District 6: Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Huntingdon, Indiana and Mifflin
- WPIAL : Allegheny (except for City of Pittsburgh), Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland. Classified by the PIAA as District 7.
- District 8: Pittsburgh Public Schools
- District 9: Cameron, Clarion, Elk, Jefferson, McKean and Potter
- District 10: Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango and Warren
- District 11: Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill
- District 12: Philadelphia Catholic League and the Public League
While this is a general outline of the districts, there are some notable exceptions:
- Private schools within District 8 (City of Pittsburgh) compete in District 7.
- Inter-Academic League and the Friends Schools League are not members of the PIAA, but compete independently as their own organizations. Other private schools in Philadelphia County compete in District 1.
- Philadelphia Catholic League schools previously competed independently as its own organization, but joined the PIAA for the 2007–2008 school year and began participating in playoffs by 2008–2009 within District 12.
- Boyertown Area Senior High School, in Berks County, is a member of District 1.
- Slippery Rock Area High School, in Butler County, is a member of District 10.
- Indiana High School, in Indiana County, is a member of District 7.
- Altoona High School and Hollidaysburg Area High School are members of District 6 but compete in District 7 for football only.
- Palisades High School, in Bucks County, is a member of District 11.
- Fannett-Metal High School, in Franklin County, is a member of District 5.
- Curwensville Area High School, DuBois Area Senior High School, and Clearfield Area High School, in Clearfield County, are members of District 9.
- Ligonier Valley High School, in Westmoreland County, is a member of District 6.
- Keystone Central School District is the only district entirely composed of Clinton County municipalities. The larger of the district's two high schools, Central Mountain, is a member of District 6, while the other, Bucktail High School, is a member of District 4.
East vs. West
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.
- Boys' sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball and wrestling
- 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.
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.
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.
State College hosts the baseball and softball championships at Pennsylvania State University. Altoona previously hosted 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.
|Cross Country||Parkview Cross Country Course||Hershey||Boys & Girls||AA, AAA|
|Golf||Heritage Hills Golf Resort||York||Boys & Girls|
|Field Hockey||Whitehall High School||Whitehall||Girls||AA, AAA|
|Football||Hersheypark Stadium||Hershey||Boys||A, AA, AAA, AAAA|
|Soccer||Hersheypark Stadium||Hershey||Boys & Girls||A, AA, AAA|
|Tennis||Hershey Racquet Club||Hershey||Girls||AA, AAA|
|Volleyball||Richland Senior High School||Richland||Girls||A, AA, AAA|
|Baseball||Medlar Field at Lubrano Park||State College||Boys||A, AA, AAA, AAAA|
|Basketball||Giant Center||Hershey||Boys & Girls||A, AA, AAA, AAAA|
|Lacrosse||Hersheypark Stadium||Hershey||Boys & Girls|
|Soccer||Hersheypark Stadium||Hershey||Girls||AA, AAA|
|Softball||Nittany Lion Softball Park||State College||Girls||A, AA, AAA, AAAA|
|Swimming & Diving||Kinney Natatorium||Lewisburg||Boys & Girls||AA, AAA|
|Tennis||Hershey Racquet Club||Hershey||Boys||AA, AAA|
|Track & Field||Seth Grove Stadium||Shippensburg||Boys & Girls||AA, AAA|
|Volleyball||Recreation Building||State College||Boys||AA, AAA|
|Wrestling||Giant Center||Hershey||Boys||AA, AAA|
- 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)
- 2013: Archbishop Wood (District 12)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 2014: New Castle (District 7)
- 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)
- 2014: Neumann-Goretti (District 12)
- 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)
- 2014: Constitution (District 12)
- 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)
- 2014: Lincoln Park (District 7)
- 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)
- PIAA announces sites for 2014-17 fall sports championships
- PIAA baseball, softball title games moved to Penn State