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Thoughts on Year one of AA compared to AAA?


If I haven't given it away, then I have done a good job of being an unbiased high school wrestling fan in these posts. I am a Bald Eagle Area wrestling fan. The only difference from their schedule this year from last year has been the postseason, both as a team and individually. However, it has only been in the last few years that BEA has wrestled against Penns Valley, Central, Juniata, and Huntingdon (all AA schools). I know they used to wrestle Lewistown and Indian Valley instead (both AAA schools and what has become Mifflin County).

BEA used to wrestle in the Cumberland Valley Duals as well with some of the top AAA schools. It is a sign of the times as they continue to try to rebuild their program to prominence. They attend the Ultimate Warrior Tournament, which is a mostly AA tournament sprinkled in with a couple of AAA schools. When it comes to dual meets, BEA had 8 dual meets against AA opponents and 8 dual meets against AAA opponents. BEA was 2-6 against AAA opponents and 6-2 against AA opponents. Of course, quality of program matters, but those are the stats.

Anyways, the big difference is the postseason. It is hard to tell because BEA was pretty average this year (8-8 in dual meets) compared to last year (15-1 in dual meets). I would say the big difference is that it would be easier to win or advance in team duals in AA. To have an 8-8 BEA team in the top 8 in AA team duals (out of 27 teams) is pretty surprising. I think they could have been as high as 5th overall as a team. I think they would have had really close dual meets with West Branch and Glendale but would get crushed by Westmont, Forest Hills, Huntingdon, and Penns Valley. But on the AAA side, they got demolished by CM, Bellefonte, and that would have been the case against Mifflin County. They narrowly lost to State College and Altoona but narrowly beat Holidaysburg. Basically, what I am saying is that in AA, there are some really good programs but not much overall depth when you take into account that there are 27 teams.

This translates into the individual tournaments as well. With most D6AA brackets having 19-22 wrestlers, of course, it is going to be a grind. However, top 6 qualify for regionals. That sounds about right. I think both PO and BEA did well at AA districts (6th and 8th) but would have surely qualified more for AAA districts where they take top 4 out of 8-10 teams (10 teams with PO and BEA). However, I don't believe any of those wrestlers would have qualified for the state tournaments. Same case for SWAA Regional tournament, while it is a tough tournament, it can be forgiving at times as they qualify the top 6 for states. Some really tough wrestlers and many schools, but if you can't place top 6 then you probably don't deserve to advance this year. Meanwhile in NWAAA tournament, if you have a tough bracket, tough draw, or aren't at 100%, only taking top 3 to states may not be as forgiving. The overall depth of NWAAA is not as much as SWAA, but I believe it balances out when you take top 3 and top 6 for each region.

Just my two cents.