District 1 wrestling's overhaul is complete, or at least it appears to be from now until the beginning of the 2006-07 season.
Just weeks after officially adopting a slew of national federation changes - most notably the overtime format for individual bouts and the maximum weight allowable for heavyweights - the District 1 Wrestling Committee recently realigned the entire postseason lineup, specifically in the sectional and district brackets.
When the postseason unfolds next winter, there will be seven sectionals and three district tournaments, the first change of its kind in District 1 since 1974, when the number of sectionals were reduced from eight to six and the all-inclusive district tournament was split into North and South championships.
The Philadelphia Public League, which for the past two seasons had been its own district (District 12) and advanced its top two wrestlers in each weight class directly to the AAA Southeast Regional, will now become Section Seven and advance its top four wrestlers in each weight class to the District 1-AAA Central Tournament.
Yes, the District 1-AAA Central Tournament.
Along with the addition of a new section will be a complete realignment in the district tournament format, with a 19 schools from Sections Two and Three forming District 1-AAA North; 31 schools from Sections One, Five and Seven forming the new District 1-AAA Central; and 19 schools from Sections Four and Six forming District 1-AAA South.
The most glaring change there, of course, is the addition of the District 1-AAA Central Tournament, with Section One moving in from the north, Section Five moving in from the south, and Section Seven (Philadelphia) joining the two.
"One of the main reasons (for the changes) was to get Philadelphia into the postseason earlier than the regional," said Great Valley head coach Joe Tornetta, the district representative on the Executive Board of the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association and secretary of the District 1 Steering Committee.
"The way it was, with (Philadelphia) coming in at the regional, created some problems. We felt we had to make it more efficient. So now (Philadelphia) will have its own sectional tournament and, instead of bringing just two into the regional, will be bringing four into the district tournament."
Tornetta added that representatives from the Public League were "agreeable" to the change.
"Everything was considered and taken into consideration while making these changes," explained Tornetta, acknowledging that geographics and level of competition were important issues as well in drawing up the moves. "We will take a look at it again next year and, if needed, iron out any wrinkles there may be."
Those advancing from each tournament has been simplified, too. Beginning next season, the top four finishers in each weight class will move on to the next tournament. That means the top four from sectionals advance to districts, the top four from districts advance to regionals, and the top four from regionals advance to states.
"It's four-four-four across the board now," Tornetta said.
* * *
The following is the new district alignment:
District 1-AAA North (Sections 2 and 3): Cheltenham, C.B. East, C.B. South, C.B. West, Hatboro-Horsham, Methacton, Norristown, North Penn, Pennridge, Perkiomen Valley, Plymouth-Whitemarsh, Pottsgrove, Quakertown, Radnor, Souderton, Upper Dublin, Upper Merion, Upper Perkiomen and Wissahickon.
District 1-AAA Central (Sections 1, 5 and 7): Abington, Academy Park, Bensalem, Central, Chichester, Council Rock North, Council Rock South, Dobbins, Edison, Frankford, Franklin, Germantown, Glen Mills, Harry S Truman, Haverford, Interboro, Kensington, Lincoln, Neshaminy, Northeast, Olney, Overbrook, Pennsbury, Penn Wood, Ridley, Springfield-Delco, Sun Valley, Upper Darby, Upper Moreland, Washington and William Tennent.
District 1-AAA South (Sections 4 and 6): Avon Grove, Boyertown, Conestoga, Coatesville, Downingtown East, Downingtown West, Garnet Valley, Great Valley, Kennett, Lower Merion, Marple-Newtown, Owen J. Roberts, Oxford, Penncrest, Spring-Ford, Strath Haven, Unionville, W.C. East and W.C. Henderson.