Log In

Reset Password

PIAA releases enrollment classifications

The PIAA has released the latest enrollment classifications for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 cycle, and several local schools will be impacted.

The biggest changes will come in football where five of the nine area teams will be playing in a different class next season.

Among the schools changing classes, Pleasant Valley, Lehighton, Northwestern and Northern Lehigh are all dropping one class, while Palmerton is going up one.

The most interesting move might involve Northern Lehigh, which won the District 11 Class 2A championship this past season and reached the PIAA State semifinals before falling to perennial powerhouse Southern Columbia. The Bulldogs will now be a Class 1A school in football as their male attendance in grades 9-11 dropped from 194 in the previous cycle to 116 in the upcoming cycle.

The other drops have Pleasant Valley falling from 6A to 5A; and Lehighton and Northwestern both going from 4A to 3A.

Palmerton, which lost to Northern Lehigh in the District 11 2A championship game this past season, is the lone area school moving up a class as the Bombers will now play in 3A.

Meanwhile, Tamaqua (3A), Jim Thorpe (3A), Panther Valley (2A) and Marian (1A) will all remain in the same classification next football season.

District 11 impact

The new numbers have created quite a shift in the District 11 football classes.

The biggest changes have come in Classes 3A and 4A.

Class 3A, which had six schools last season, will now have 13. Meanwhile, Class 4A went from 10 schools to three. There is a chance those numbers could change slightly since Bethlehem Catholic and Allentown Central Catholic are currently slotted as 3A schools based on their enrollments. Schools have the right to declare to play up in class, however, and both the Golden Hawks and Vikings have done that in the past.

In Class 6A, the district will now have 10 schools competing after having 12 this past cycle. In Class 5A, the number of schools is increasing from four to six. In Class 2A, there will now be nine schools after having 10 this past season. In Class 1A, there are now going to be six schools after having five the last couple years.

Heavy local presence

The fall of Lehighton and Northwestern, combined with the rise of Palmerton will give Class 3A a heavy local flavor. Those three schools will join Jim Thorpe and Tamaqua, giving the Times News area five schools in that class.

The only other class that will have more than one area team is 1A where both Northern Lehigh and Marian will compete.

Basketball changes

Area basketball teams won’t undergo as many classification changes next season as area football teams.

Only two boys basketball programs and two girls basketball programs will be shifting classes.

Pleasant Valley will move from 6A to 5A and Northern Lehigh will move from 3A to 2A in boys basketball. Lehighton (4A), Tamaqua (4A), Jim Thorpe (4A), Northwestern (4A), Palmerton (3A), Panther Valley (3A), Marian (2A) and Weatherly (1A) all will remain in the same class.

In girls basketball, Panther Valley and Northern Lehigh will both drop from 3A to 2A. Meanwhile, Pleasant Valley (6A), Lehighton (4A), Tamaqua (4A), Northwestern (4A), Jim Thorpe (4A), Palmerton (3A), Marian (2A) and Weatherly (1A) will all stay the same.

Odds and ends

District 11 has five of the 18 school districts in the state with a male enrollment over 1,000 in grades 9-11 ... Reading (2,222) and Hazleton (1,694) have the top two enrollments in the state ... Kennedy Catholic in District 10 is the smallest school that fields a football team. It has just 34 students in grades 9-11 ... Pottsville was just two students above the football cutoff line for Class 3A, which could have possibly left District 11 with just two 4A schools, pending the decisions by Bethlehem Catholic and Central Catholic ... To see the classifications for every school in every sport, go to the PIAA website at http://www.piaa.org/news/details.aspx?ID=4001


(Male enrollment in grades 9-11)

Class 6A (558 and up)

Allen (1,285), Easton (1,283), Parkland (1,277), Liberty (1,140), Emmaus (1.038), Dieruff (865), Northampton (756), Freedom (727), Stroudsburg (634), Nazareth (579).

Class 5A (383-557)

Pleasant Valley (501), East Stroudsburg South (481), Pocono Mountain West (472), Whitehall (437), Southern Lehigh (401), Pocono Mountain East (385).

Class 4A (263-382)

Bangor (372), East Stroudsburg North (340), Pottsville (264).

Class 3A (181-262)

Wilson (262), Blue Mountain (254), Lehighton (254), North Schuylkill (254), Tamaqua (250), Jim Thorpe (231), Notre Dame (228), Bethlehem Catholic (208), Pine Grove (208), Northwestern (206), Allentown Central Catholic (192), Palmerton (191), Saucon Valley (184).

Class 2A (124-180)

Pen Argyl (168), Salisbury (167), Catasauqua (161), Panther Valley (157), Executive Education Academy (154), Palisades (135), Schuylkill Haven (130), Shenandoah (127), Williams Valley (124).

Class 1A (123 and below)

Mahanoy Area (118), Northern Lehigh (116), Minerville (105), Tri-Valley (100), Marian (95), Nativity (81).

The Northern Lehigh football team celebrates its 2021 District 11 Class 2A championship. Next season, the Bulldogs will be dropping to Class 1A. RICH SMITH/TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO