West Xtra: Central Valley will drop to Class AA

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The Central Valley wrestling team is moving down in classification and coach Randy Ramsey couldn't be happier.

"It's fantastic," said Ramsey, responding to the news that Central Valley's enrollment figures for the 2014-15 school year are under the cutoff for Class AAA teams of 337 or more male students in grades 9, 10 and 11. "It's great for the team we have coming back next year."

Schools with 336 or fewer male students are designated as Class AA teams, unless they decide to wrestle up. That means Central Valley will return to Class AA for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

"Our current team is dominated by freshmen and sophomores," Ramsey said. "And I've got six more kids moving up from our junior high team next year. The future is very bright for our program."

The WPIAL Wrestling Steering Committee will have to make several changes when it meets in February to determine the section alignment for the next two seasons.

Central Valley's enrollment total of 309 is the same as Elizabeth Forward, another team that is dropping. McGuffey (275) and Indiana (330) are also dropping to Class AA. Blackhawk (304) is also below the cutoff, but a co-operative agreement with New Brighton will most likely keep the Cougars in Class AAA.

McGuffey has been eligible to compete in Class AA for almost two decades, but the Highlanders have chosen to wrestle up.

"It's just common sense," Caffrey said. "If we have the enrollment numbers to compete in Class AA, then why not try it. The good thing is that we are only tied in for two years. We can re-evaluate after the two years and decide what is best for the program."

Late start for Lions

The success of South Fayette's football team has kept the wrestling team from beginning its wrestling schedule. The Lions did appear in the Chartiers-Houston Tournament the opening week of the season, but they entered only seven wrestlers because most of the team was playing football.

"I considered pulling out of the Chartiers-Houston tournament and finding another tournament later in the season, but I knew we would be rescheduling some dual meets and probably wouldn't have been able to find anything that would fit in our schedule," South Fayette coach Rick Chaussard said.

South Fayette's football season ended Dec. 14 with the Lions winning WPIAL and PIAA titles. That forced Chaussard to reschedule two section matches.

"Our first full squad practice was [Dec. 17]," Chaussard said. "Fortunately, I didn't have us scheduled for a Christmas tournament. That gives us a couple weeks to get ready for a busy month of January."

South Fayette has six dual meets and four tournaments scheduled in January. Two are dual-meet tournaments, which means the Lions will wrestle five opponents in each.

"We're in a tournament all four weekends in January," Chaussard said.

Holiday tournaments

Nine West Xtra teams are entered in holiday tournaments, which begin today.

* Chartiers Valley is one of 46 teams in the Powerade Christmas Tournament, which will take place at Canon-McMillan High School.

* Burgettstown, Elwood City, Freedom and South Side Beaver will compete in the 33-team Southmoreland Holiday Classic.

* Ambridge Area, Carlynton, Hopewell and Montour are entered in West Mifflin Area's Steve DeAugustino Holiday Classic.

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