20-man PIAA State Bracket on the Horizon

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547023_104087746423090_421395937_nBy Jeremy Elliott | jelliott@pennlive.com
on March 27, 2014

MECHANICSBURG: Wrestling coaches are known for their toughness and no-nonsense approach to the sport they love.

Winners and losers are determined through hard work, preparation and one-on-one skill in the middle of the mat. When adversity springs up, you deal with it head on, improve and move on to the next task.

No excuses.

That’s what is so perplexing by the decision that came out of Wednesday’s PIAA Wrestling Steering Committee meeting. Mediocrity and being more inclusive won out over excellence in the eyes of these same men.

The committee, which is made up of district chairmen, approved by unanimous decision a proposal that will expand PIAA Championship brackets at each weight from 16 to 20. It was an objective that was championed by the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association.

Read the entire article here.

About the Author:

Owner & Operator of PA Power Wrestling • 2015 PA Wrestling "Person of the Year" • Former Central Dauphin Wrestler


  1. Tim shutt 03/28/2014 at 2:30 am - Reply

    I totally agree with expanding the state bracket , for several reasons. First we are hands down the best wrestling state in the country , our regional qualifiers constantly beat high state placers from other states . So we obviously have the talented depth to advance more kids to states . Another reason can be the specific depth of a regional weight class. When you have four of the top guys in the state at the same weight and regional and only advance 3 , that’s ridiculous . And it happens a lot in pa .when you wrestle the caliber of kids that are in pa all year long . You deserve a trip to states.

    • kurt 03/28/2014 at 3:41 am - Reply

      totally agree with tim. If you look at the weight classes A lot of 4th 5th placers have won or placed 2nd or was on the metal stand. This is a great idea. Congrats for PIAA coming up with a winner! And shame on Mr Elliott for doing little research and just writing his biases opinion. AA 106 5th place finisher at regions placed1st at states. But he posted AA wasn’t deep!

    • bill 03/28/2014 at 10:08 am - Reply

      Go to a 32 man bracket with 16 AA and 16 AAA qualifiers qualifying seperately. KEEP AA and AAA for team championships. That will PACK the Giant Center with people, creat an awesome environment with AA vs AAA, and promote our awesome state with Awesome wrestling!!!! That is the change we need!!!! Not sure about the 20 man bracket????

    • Doug Kruger 03/29/2014 at 10:47 am - Reply

      To say that Pa. is the best wrestling state hands down is a little far-fetched. Granted that they have and excellent wrestling program and that my grandson wrestles for a Pittsburg area school, there are other states the should not be excluded. Two that come to mind without reproach are Iowa and Minnesota. And if you care to compare, please come on out. We would love to see what happens.

      • Tim shutt 03/31/2014 at 4:13 am - Reply

        To Mr. Kruger . The proof is in the numbers . Pa almost every year has the most NCAA qualifiers and all- Americans . In addition at most of the national caliber tournaments ie Fargo,nhsca,flo , Disney duals pa is rarely outside a top 3 finish individual and team wise . But I give Iowa and Minnesota cudos, I would put them in the top ten .

  2. Karen Young 03/28/2014 at 7:53 am - Reply

    How pathetic; when I watched wrestling in the late 50’s through 1961, you had one chance each week to move from districts through to states. Lock Haven had four champions in 1961 and they didn’t have multiple chances to accomplish the feat. Mike Johnson was not only undefeated in four years of wrestling, he was never taken down. California has one category and I would prefer PA do the same but instead they add even more wrestlers to the mix. Sad!

  3. Stephen 03/28/2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Don’t have a problem with it at all. As some have mentioned this is Pa., and Adding 4 per weight does not water down the competition.

  4. Kevin 03/28/2014 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    This is an exciting announcement! This should be a nice improvement to the PIAA tournament and it is a win-win scenario for the coaches, contestants, and the PIAA. The “old-time” wrestling fans are going to complain regardless of what changes are made. It is 2014…Complete wrestle-backs and going to 2- divisions were great modifications to this event. I think 20 kids/per weight is nice number for a bracket that places 8. Our wrestlers deserve to have more opportunities to compete for a state medal in a venue like the Giant Center. Congrats to the folks that came up with this plan!!!

  5. tim walter 03/29/2014 at 1:01 am - Reply

    I like the 20 man bracket when you use 16 man its only 2 wins to medal to me that’s a joke!!! 20 man brackets and go back to 6 medals then let’s hear the buracrats complain about being watered down

  6. Nick 03/30/2014 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    I agree with Karen. PA states are no longer SPECIAL like they once were. They started awarding 8 places which gives half the field a medal. Like she said “back in the day” you couldn’t lose in order to win a state title and there was ONE titlist, not AA and AAA. That should only be used for the team championships. Then, they went to eight mats (that’s when I stopped going) so you couldn’t really watch as much wrestling and enjoy it. A few years ago they added and adjusted the upper weight classes which MOST of the time produce more boring matches as opposed to the lower weights. Now they want to “water down” the field by adding four more qualifiers. Not sure if many of you younger folk realize it but the number of wrestlers in total across the state is nowhere near what it once was in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Just look at all the forfeits in duals!! The way wrestling has atrophied into what it is now has directly resulted into dwindling crowds during the season. Additionally, I watched states on TV and noticed many, many empty seats. It was never like that years ago. Very sad to see that the sport I love has changed so much, and not for the better!!

    • Tim shutt 03/31/2014 at 4:08 am - Reply

      Dear Nick and Karen , if you remember back in the day only the regional champions advanced to states , which was four. So if you got 4 th at states it meant you went 0-2. But in today’s states if you get fourth you have to win at least 3 matches . Hmmmm which is harder?

      • Nick 03/31/2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

        Tim, actually they never wrestled for 3rd and 4th. The semis were in the afternoon and losers were done. Another thing – you mentioned that to get 4th today you have to win at least 3 matches. That may be true but you can lose at any step along the way MORE THAN ONCE, i.e. sectionals, districts, and regionals and still advance!! That’s the point; today you can lose but back then YOU COULD NOT!! Every match was do or die. It was wrestling at its finest. I started watching wrestling in 1961 and nothing compares to the drama of WIN OR YOU’RE OUT!!! And one last thing – not featuring the finals ALONE on a single mat is an injustice to all wrestlers and fans. But, maybe you’ll eventually learn that the reason for all the changes/expansion is about one thing MONEY, more money for the PIAA. States has become a huge cattle call!! Sad!

  7. Kenneth Adams 04/01/2014 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    The 20 man bracket is a knee-jerk reaction to D7 losing one potential wrestler from the tournament this year. AAA may be able to handle the matter with quality participants but AA will have a tougher situation. Yes a AA 5th place finisher in a regional worn a title this year. Might he have been ill during the regional? If you watched AA wrestle backs you would have seen some wrestling that was not top notch. What will adding more wrestlers do to this bracket? Weaken it in my opinion.

  8. Steve Bird 03/08/2016 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Wow, who would complain about going from a 16 to a 20 person bracket? Some of you Keystoner’s are as backwards about wrestling as you are about hunting! Unbelievable! With PA’s wrestling talent, your state tourney should be a 32 person bracket at least for each class. I’m also not sure why you hold the tournament in such a small facility? Move it to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia where the NCAA’s were held in 2011. If you can’t fill that it would be a shame.

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