The Greensburg Salem Golden Lions will face teams from schools with smaller entry numbers starting next fall, a drop that school officials say should be good for district athletics.
Greensburg Salem will move from Class 4A to Class 3A in Football, from Class 6A to Class 4A in Men’s Basketball, and from Class 5A to Class 4A in Women’s Basketball.
“We were the fourth smallest 4A team in the state last year, so 3A is a better position for us when it comes to the competition,” said Superintendent Ken Bissell. “We hope this brings us closer, perhaps to some closer local rivals”
In 4A, the Greensburg Salem football team traveled for over an hour for many games, Bissell said.
The change in PIAA classes, based on student numbers, comes with more consistent counting among non-traditional student districts, Bissell said.
Under PIAA rules, districts can only count 10% of non-traditional students, including those attending regional career and technology schools (CTC), for enrollment in grades 9-11 through sport classification purposes.
“A lot of local schools weren’t doing this with their CTC students,” Bissell said.
With the correct accounting in place at Greensburg Salem, its 90 CTC students only count for nine students.
“It brought down our entry count which puts us in 3A,” Bissell said.
According to figures released by the PIAA, Greensburg Salem’s athletic strength is 214. Districts assigned to class 3A in football have enrollments ranging from 181-262 students.
“I wish we could go back in time to play against local teams,” school board member Frank Gazze said at the board discussion meeting this week. “This is what we have to do, not to travel an hour and 15 minutes to play somewhere where you have no acquired rivalry.”
Gazze said he would like to see the Greensburg Salem teams play against their counterparts in other neighboring districts such as Mt. Pleasant Area, Hempfield Area, Jeannette and Yough.
Mt. Pleasant, with a PIAA registration of 181, will also be in Class 3A. Hempfield Area, with a staff of 553, is in class 5A. Young, with 168 registered, is in class 2A. Jeannette, aged 97, is in class A.
Bissell said it was not yet clear which teams the Lions are due to play in 2022-23.
Other WPIAL Class 3A football teams include Beaver (253 entries), Belle Vernon (251), Woodland Hills (245), Elizabeth Forward (238), Knoch (229), Hopewell (225), Southmoreland (224), West Mifflin (218), Shady Side Academy (213), Freeport (213), East Allegheny (207), Quaker Valley (205), South Allegheny (203), Avonworth (199), Deer Lakes (192), South Park ( 188) and Vallée (187).