The landscape of WPIAL football will look a lot different next season.
The league released its new conferences earlier today, a realignment that comes every two years. A total of 26 teams will change either conferences or classifications, starting with the 2014 seasons. Changes in classifications are based on school enrollments.
This alignment is for one season. The league will have to realign next year because Ford City and Kittanning will merge to one high school after the 2014-15 school year.
Among the major changes in the realignment are:
• Gateway drops from Class AAAA to AAA and will play in the Greater Allegheny Conference against teams from Pittsburgh's eastern and northern suburbs.
• Jeannette and Greensburg Central Catholic drop from Class AA to A and will play in the Eastern Conference. The WPIAL created an extremely strong conference by also moving Clairton into the Eastern. Monessen will also be in the conference.
• Highlands moves from Class AAA to AA.
• Plum moves from the Southeastern Conference to the Foothills in Class AAAA.
• West Shamokin, which made the WPIAL playoffs last year for the first time in school history, moves up from Class A to AA.
• Summit Academy, which also made the playoffs last year for the first time in school history, stays in Class AA but moves from the Allegheny Conference to the Midwestern.
Here are the new conferences for the next two seasons.
• Northern Eight – Butler, Central Catholic, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Shaler.
• Southeastern – Baldwin, Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, Mt. Lebanon, Penn Hills, Peters Township, Upper St. Clair, Woodland Hills.
• Foothills – Altoona, Connellsville, Hempfield, Kiski Area, Latrobe, McKeesport, Norwin, Penn-Trafford, Plum.
• Big Nine – Albert Gallatin, Belle Vernon, Elizabeth Forward, Laurel Highlands, Ringgold, Thomas Jefferson, Trinity, Uniontown, West Mifflin.
• Parkway – Ambridge, Blackhawk, Central Valley, Chartiers Valley, Hopewell, Montour, Moon, New Castle, West Allegheny.
• Greater Allegheny – Franklin Regional, Gateway, Greensburg Salem, Hampton, Hollidaysburg, Indiana, Knoch, Mars, Yough.
• Century – Carlynton, East Allegheny, Keystone Oaks, Quaker Valley, Seton-LaSalle, South Allegheny, South Fayette, South Park, Sto-Rox, Steel Valley.
• Allegheny – Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Ford City, Freeport, Highlands, Kittanning, Shady Side Academy, Valley, West Shamokin.
• Midwestern – Aliquippa, Beaver, Beaver Falls, Ellwood City, Freedom, Laurel, Mohawk, New Brighton, Summit Academy.
• Interstate – Brownsville, Burgettstown, Charleroi, Derry, McGuffey, Mount Pleasant, Southmoreland, Washington, Waynesburg.
• Tri-County South – Avella, Bentworth, Beth-Center, California, Carmichaels, Frazier, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, West Greene.
• Eastern – Clairton, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Leechburg, Monessen, Riverview, Serra, Springdale, Wilkinsburg.
• Ohio Valley – Avonworth, Bishop Canevin, Brentwood, Chartiers-Houston, Fort Cherry, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Northgate, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
• Big Seven – Neshannock, Riverside, Rochester, Shenango, South Side Beaver, Union, Vincentian, Western Beaver.