Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Oct. 15, 2015 — Where will the PIAA draw the line?

Last week, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, the most influential field hockey state in the Union, changed the way its champions would be selected with the addition of classifications for most of its sports.

We talked about field hockey last week; this week, let’s look at what will happen with girls’ lacrosse. The sport is played by 213 PIAA member schools, plus private schools in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League, Friends School League, and the Inter-Ac Conference.

If you split the current pool of PIAA members into two using a round number as your boundary, you could use the metric of 450 female students. That would put 105 schools in our proposed Class AAA, and 108 schools in Class AA. A number of long-time powerhouses such as Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.), Glen Mills Garnet Valley (Pa.), West Chester (Pa.) East, and Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.), will compete with new and improving programs at field hockey schools like Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.), Emmaus (Pa.), and Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) for the large-school title.

As for the smaller schools, those with 449 or fewer female students? You can throw a blanket over them. Teams with great history such as Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.), Harriton (Pa.), Newtown Square Marple-Newtown (Pa.), Jenkintown (Pa.) and Wallingford Strath Haven (Pa.), will be competing for top honors in the small-school division.

Thing is, of those 108 schools in our new Class AA, 42 of these are either private or charter schools. I’d be willing to venture that a private schools is very likely to win the inaugural small-school championship. And if that becomes a pattern, might the PIAA decide on a non-public division? And if so, what happens to the public-school divisions?

These are issues that will receive some serious scrutiny as time goes on.


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