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PIAA adopts new format for counting team competitions in wrestling

October 18th, 2011 by Tom

Wrestling The biggest piece of news to emerge from the fall PIAA Board of Directors meeting Thursday night was the adoption of a new method of counting dual meets that go toward each wrestling team's allotment of 22 regular season wrestling contests.

Effective July 1, 2012, every time one team wrestles against another, it will count as one team competition, regardless of whether this takes place as a regular dual, or part of a multiple team tournament.

This is a change from the previous rule, where in dual meet tournaments, each team could wrestle up to five others, but have the tournament count as only three points towards its allotment of 22.

"The wrestling steering committee saw that people were going to combination tournaments where they'd wrestle in pool play and then after that, go out into an individual bracket and wrestle a few more bouts there, and people were coming in with a high number of bouts," PIAA Associate Executive Director Bob Lombardi said. "It was a health and safety concern with the number of bouts."

On pace for a dip in field hockey injuries?
More than halfway through the first season of field hockey in which goggles have been mandated during games, Lombardi reports that the number of injuries reported is actually a little lower compared to this point last year.

The PIAA has received 10 injury reports from its game officials thus far. Only two have been directly attributed to the use of goggles on the field of play.

Lombardi also attributed the lower injury rate to the increase in the number of teams that now play on turf fields " long grass and ill-kept fields often brought about more hacking before " and the general increase in the players' overall skill level.

In 2010, 46 total injuries were recorded during the field hockey season.

Another step taken toward 15-week football season and competitive cheer
The committee passed on a second-reading basis the proposal to trim the football season from 16 to 15 weeks, and to allow schools to use their second scrimmage date to play the first regular season game if they chose. This moves on to a third and final reading at the December board meeting. If it passes, it will become official. The same goes for competitive cheer, which will become a PIAA-sanctioned winter sport if it clears third reading in December.

On the horizon...
The fragile economy continues to influence policy making in high school sports. The PIAA examined, on a first reading basis, bylaw amendments that would allow school principals to accept donations to defray participation fees for student-athletes in need, without risking their eligibility or amateur status in any way. An amendment allowing schools to accept donations of equipment or product was also proposed.

Another proposal that passed on first reading basis was a requirement that foreign exchange students meet three provisions in the PIAA bylaws to be deemed eligible: age (under 19), health (pass the physical evaluation) and amateur status (they are deemed amateurs if they have never been paid for their athletic services in any sport). This comes after PIAA officials heard about an exchange student in another state who'd been paid to play basketball in Germany, but was now seeking eligibility for high school sports.

Penn State-bound Alton twins cap junior careers with freestyle titles

August 1st, 2009 by Tom

Penn State-bound twins cap junior careers with freestyle titles

by Guy Cipriano

Future Penn State wrestlers Andrew and Dylan Alton handled their last appearances in the Junior National Championships with the same demeanor they display everywhere else they compete.

They left the boasting to others. They didn't drop any tears as they left the FargoDome for the final time as competitors.

"I'm sort of glad it's the last time," Dylan said Sunday afternoon. "I'm ready to move onto the next level."

The Central Mountain duo will bring incredible resumes to Penn State in 2010.

Andrew and Dylan captured the 140 and 145 titles, respectively, during Saturday night's freestyle finals in Fargo, N.D. The twins shared Outstanding Wrestler honors.

The Altons spent plenty of time atop the Fargo podium. They combined to win nine cadet and junior freestyle and Greco-Roman titles. The twins captured junior freestyle titles the past two years.

Most wrestling experts consider the tournament the nation's premiere scholastic event. Dozens of college coaches, including Penn State's Cael Sanderson, attended this year's tournament, which started July 18.

Pennsylvania's presence in the event fluctuates, with some of the state's best wrestlers choosing to stay home and heal between grueling seasons. The Altons have never missed the tournament, although they didn't enter the Greco-Roman portion of this year's event.

"We never really practice Greco," Andrew said. "We just go out there and wrestle it. We wanted to focus on one style."

Andrew, coincidentally, met another 2009 PIAA champ in the finals, ending his tournament with a 3-0, 3-4, 1-0 victory over Blue Mountain's Josh Kindig. Andrew also defeated Kindig twice during this past spring's FILA Junior National Championships.

"He gets tougher and tougher," Andrew said. "This was the third time I faced him this year. He was a lot tougher for some reason. I knew I had to get my offense going."

Andrew and Kindig are friends, but awkward situations develop when they enter the same weight class.

"We usually don't speak with each other," Andrew said. "We don't know what to say."

Andrew went 12-0 on his way to the title. He also received challenges from Minnesota's Dylan Ness, New Jersey's Chris Villalonga and Wisconsin's Nazar Kulchytsky.

Dylan went 10-0, handling California's Vlad Dombrowskiy 6-0, 2-3, 3-1 in the finals. He defeated his first six opponents by either fall or technical fall.

"The title meant a lot to me," Dylan said. "I wanted to go out a champ."

The Altons were two of three Pennsylvania wrestlers to earn junior freestyle titles. Council Rock South's Josh Dziewa started a streak of three straight Pennsylvania victories by winning at 135.

Andrew and Dylan were centerpieces of a tight-knit Pennsylvania team. The group traveled to Fargo by bus, a trip that took 22 hours and Penn State assistant Troy Letters served as one of its coaches.

The team also included West Mifflin's Sam Sherlock, who orally committed to Penn State earlier this month. Sherlock dropped his opening bout, but recovered to take third at 130.

Once the tournament ended and the socializing increased, Andrew said the twins received multiple questions about Penn State's future. The Altons committed to the program in April, one week after Sanderson's hiring.

"We're both looking forward to it," Dylan said. "We can't wait for it to start and to get rolling through."

The junior national championships marked the duo's final tournament this summer. They are using the next month to relax and prepare for 2009- 10. Dylan is attempting to become a three-time PIAA champion. Andrew captured his first state title this past spring.