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What to know about the inaugural season of PIAA girls wrestling for District 10 teams

Girls wrestling on the high school level in Pennsylvania dates well before July 1.

Erin (Tomeo) Vandiver, the first-year coach for the Gannon University women’s wrestling program, began competing with Grove City’s boys team 25 years ago. She also wrestled for Lock Haven University and at the international level before she founded the girls wrestling program at Kingston’s Wyoming Seminary in 2017.

That team evolved into one of the nation’s elite programs.

It wasn’t until July 1, though, that girls wrestling formally became a PIAA-sanctioned sport. While the MyHouse Pennsylvania Girls State Championships have been held since 2020, such tournaments weren’t under the jurisdiction of the Mechanicsburg organization.

They are now.

Four years ago, PIAA executive director Robert Lombardi announced its board of directors would sanction girls wrestling if at least 100 of its schools agreed to do the same.

SanctionPA, an organization that lobbied for the sport, created an online petition to make it a reality. The century mark was reached on Feb. 14.

That total stood at 187 as of Friday, the first day of PIAA’s winter athletics and start of the inaugural girls wrestling season.

Here’s some of the vital information to know going into this historic campaign:

Format

All PIAA female wrestlers, as has been the case with its males, will compete in the folkstyle format approved by the National Federation of High Schools Association (NFHS). Wrestlers will be awarded points for successful attacks and control of an opponent’s legs more than the execution of such moves.

The latter format is known as freestyle.

Wrestlers grapple at the 2022 MyHouse Pennsylvania Girls High School State Championships organized by SanctionPA and hosted by Central Dauphin High School on March 13, 2022.
Wrestlers grapple at the 2022 MyHouse Pennsylvania Girls High School State Championships organized by SanctionPA and hosted by Central Dauphin High School on March 13, 2022.

Divisions

There will be 13 varsity weight classes. That’s the same number as the males, although the limits are different.

They are, by pounds: 100, 106, 112, 118, 124, 130, 136, 142, 148, 155, 170, 190 and 235.

There also will be 13 junior varsity weight classes. They are, by pounds: 71, 77, 83, 89, 96, 103, 110, 117, 125, 135, 148, 165 and 200.

The PIAA will permit two-pound weight differences after Dec. 25.

Match length

Also the same as those for PIAA males.

Each of the three periods of regulation will run two minutes. If the wrestlers are tied at that point, a 30-second, sudden-victory session will take place. The first wrestler who records a point or a pin automatically wins.

If the wrestlers are still tied, the tiebreaker format is invoked. Each wrestler will attempt to score points or a pin over two, 30-second periods to record points. A wrestler will start one period from the bottom position and the next on top, or vice versa.

If the wrestlers remain tied at that point, matches will be determined via a 30-second ultimate tiebreaker.

In most scenarios, the wrestler who recorded the match’s first point will have the option of starting from the top or bottom position. Upon the whistle, the bottom wrestler wins if by escaping or reversing the opponent from that position. The wrestler on top wins by preventing the bottom wrestler from escaping that position.

Northwestern's Sierra Chiesa takes down Journie Rodriquez of McCaskey near the edge of the mat in the 112-pound title match in the 2022 MyHouse Pennsylvania Girls High School State Championships on Sunday. Chiesa won by pin.
Northwestern's Sierra Chiesa takes down Journie Rodriquez of McCaskey near the edge of the mat in the 112-pound title match in the 2022 MyHouse Pennsylvania Girls High School State Championships on Sunday. Chiesa won by pin.

Girls can ...

  • Wrestle on a boys team for a school that doesn't have a girls team. This is why Sierra Chiesa will return as a competitor with Northwestern's boys team.

  • Wrestle on a boys team for a school that has a girls team if it's determined she can't consistently face opponents who are her same skill level. A principal's signature is among the requirements for this to happen.

  • Wrestle at the junior high level as a freshman, but not also at the varsity level at the same time.

Girls can't ...

  • Simultaneously compete for a school's boys and girls wrestling teams.

  • Simultaneously compete in the PIAA boys and girls tournaments. (Chiesa has indicated she plans to wrestle in the boys postseason tournaments. That means she would be ineligible for the state's inaugural postseason girls events.)

  • Switch between boys and girls wrestling teams in the same season.

  • Wrestle as a freshman in the varsity postseason if they've competed at the junior high level during the regular season.

Individual postseason

There will be no classifications, such as Class 2A and Class 3A, for the state’s inaugural season. No PIAA team wrestling tournament is scheduled, although such a competition could take place in the near future.

The postseason is comprised of three levels. District 10 and 9 wrestlers will compete at Sharon on Feb. 17. The top wrestlers from that event will advance to the March 2 Western Region tournament at Canonsburg.

The inaugural PIAA girls wrestling tournament will run in conjunction with the March 7-9 state boys tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Neither Lombardi or Mark Byers, the PIAA's chief executive officer, could be reached for comment regarding what the schedule will be for those three days of condensed competition.

Team postseason

There will be no PIAA state team tournament. However, officials will evaluate the possibility of holding one in the future.

District 10's girls wrestling teams

Erie High Royals

  • Coach: John Easter

  • Wrestlers (listed on pa-wrestling.com): Davaya Truman, fr.; DeOnna Chatfield, fr.

Fort LeBoeuf Bison

  • Coach: Shane McChesney

  • Wrestlers: Abigail Falk, jr.; Ella McGuire, so.; Kiai Miklovic, fr.; Hayden Ramey, fr.

General McLane Lancers

  • Coach: Lorraine Zacherl

  • Wrestlers: Ashley Campbell, jr.; Ella Clark, fr.; Haven Teed, sr.

Hickory Hornets

  • Co-coaches: Eric Mount and James Phillips

  • Wrestlers: Brynn Adams, fr.; Areia Cminsky, fr.; Abby Hoffman, fr.; Haley Hoffman, jr.; Emma Johnston, fr.; Jillian Mount, jr.; Mariah Myers, fr.; Taylor Pears, fr.; Cecilia Perman, jr.; Abby Ruffo, fr.; Avry Ryhal, sr.; Marissa Tanner, fr.; Aryah Veres, fr.; Trinity Webster, so.; McKenna Weirick, so.

Reynolds Raiders

  • Coach: Casey Taylor

  • Wrestlers: Makenzie Glaister, jr.; Emily Michaels, fr.; Sophia Wise, fr.

Saegertown Panthers

  • Coach: Melissa Bartholomew

  • Wrestlers: Matalyn Bish, fr.; Elora Dillinger, sr.; Jazzlee Green, so.; Lilly Hoogstad, so.; Kacie Mook, sr.; Jazmyn Pisarchick, jr.; Royale Reno-Gaus, so.; Leah Sample, so.; Zoey Sample, jr.; Emma Spencer, so.; Kylie Stafford, sr.

Seneca Bobcats

Note: No roster was posted for Seneca, according to pa-wrestling.com.

Sharpsville Blue Devils

Coach: Tim Findley

  • Wrestlers: Isabella Colello, fr.; Kaylee Cresswell, fr.; Chloe Engstrom, fr.; Emma Gourley, so.; Katherine Hurley, jr.; Laney Kilgore, fr.; Riley Knechtel, jr.; Lillian Morrison, jr.; Kendall Rodgers, jr.; Alivia Sorg, fr.; Kaylee Sowash, jr.; Maddelyn Thomas, fr.; Riley Tighe, sr.; Cecilia Ward, fr.; Haley White, jr.

Warren Dragons

  • Coach: Glenn Baldensperger

  • Wrestlers: Jenna Kophazy, so.; Kasey Kophazy, sr.; Alyssa Reichle, fr.; Katrina Semens, sr.; Emily Wiles, fr.

Returning 2023 MyHouse Girls State champs

  • Valarie Solorio, Sr., Canon-McMillan (100 pounds): The University of Iowa recruit went 21-1 en route to her championship.

  • Journie Rodriguez, Jr., J.P. McCaskey (112): One of the two losses in her 26-2 varsity record was to Northwestern’s Sierra Chiesa in their 112 final of the 2022 MyHouse tournament.

  • Sierra Chiesa, Jr., Northwestern (118): The two-time MyHouse gold medalist plans to compete in the PIAA boys postseason next spring, which is permitted by the PIAA’s new rules and regulations. Should she do that, though, she would be ineligible for the inaugural all-girls tournament.

  • Aubre Krazer, Jr., Easton (124): The two-time MyHouse titlist went 34-0 over the first two seasons of her varsity career.

  • Jordyn Fouse, Jr., Bishop McCort (130): She went 7-0 as a Northern Bedford freshman and 27-1 as a coed for the 2022-23 Crushers.

  • Haylie Jaffe, Sr., Kennett (136): The Blue Demons middleweight goes into the second half of her varsity career at 21-0.

  • Zoey Haines, Jr., Gettysburg (142): She has a varsity record of 32-4. That doesn’t count her 17-8 regular season mark against male opponents.

  • Leyna Rumpler, Sr., North Allegheny (148): The Baldwin-Wallace University recruit is 61-18 going into her last season for the Tigers.

  • Alyssa Favara, Sr., Bishop McCort (170): Her 22-1 junior season for the Crushers was notable enough to warrant recruitment by Lock Haven University.

  • Caroline Hattala, So., Quakertown (190): Her victory in last season’s MyHouse final capped a 19-1 season.

  • Brenda Banks, So., Panther Valley (235): Seven of her eight victories as a freshman were with falls.

Western Pennsylvania tournaments

December

  • Sunday: Hickory Invitational at Hermitage

  • 9: Butler Tournament

  • 9-10: The Women of Ironman at Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

  • 23: Bishop McCort Open at Johnstown

  • 27: Powerade Girls Tournament at Canonsburg

January

  • 6: North Allegheny Duals at Wexford; and Curwensville Invitational

  • 13: Mid-Winter Mayhem at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; and Mt. Lebanon Girls Winter Classic at Pittsburgh

  • 20: Battle Against Breast Cancer Tournament at Sharpsville

February

  • 3: Philipsburg-Osceola Lady Mountie Duals at Philipsburg; and North Allegheny Invitational at Wexford

Postseason tournaments

February

  • 17: District 9-10 tournament at Sharon

March

  • 2: West Regional at Canon-McMillan, Canonsburg

  • 7-9: PIAA tournament at the Giant Center, Hershey

Boys wrestling: Meet the Erie Times-News' Top 25 District 10 Wrestlers to Watch this winter

Contact Mike Copper at mcopper@timesnews.com. Follow him on X @ETNcopper.

This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Girls wrestling: District 10 outlook for the first PIAA season