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Bracketology: WPIAL playoff projections

Written by Mike White on .

The WPIAL football committee meets tomorrow and announces playoff pairings and seedings tomorrow night. But is there really a need for that meeting tomorrow? Let's just do the brackets right here.

Keep in mind there is no way the WPIAL can truly seed all the teams. The reason is that teams that finish in certain spots in the conference are guaranteed home games, which means they have to be seeded in the top eight, even if they don't deserve it.

For example, Carmichaels finished second in the Tri-County South and will get a home game. But I don't think there is anyone out there who believes Carmichaels is one of the top eight teams in Class A. So the WPIAL sometimes has to do some creative seeding.

Also remember the WPIAL never puts teams from the same conference against each other in the first round. That affects seedings. For example, Baldwin is the wild-card team in Class AAAA and should probably be seeded No. 16. But Upper St. Clair is the No. 1 seed and plays in the same conference as Baldwin. So Baldwin goes to 15.

Well, here goes ...

CLASS AAAA

Jim RenderMain question: Who should be the the No. 1 seed, Central Catholic or Upper St. Clair. Opinions seem to vary. They both dominated everyone this year. I think Upper St. Clair has the best quality win, though, beating Woodland Hills. I've seen them both play. They're both very good. If you made me choose, I'd go with Upper St. Clair and coach Jim Render (pictured).

The games: Kiski Area (16) at Upper St. Clair (1); North Allegheny (9) at Bethel Park (8); Pine-Richland (13) at Woodland Hills (4); Hempfield (12) at Seneca Valley (5); Baldwin (15) at Central Catholic (2); Penn Hills (10) at Gateway(7); Peters Township (14) at McKeesport (3); North Hills (11) at Penn-Trafford (6).

NOTE: North Hills and Penn-Trafford have met so many times over the years that maybe the WPIAL will make a slight change there. I'm good with that. Maybe have North Hills go to play at Gateway and put Penn Hills at Penn-Trafford. I know Penn Hills beat North Hills in the season but those matchups might be better.

CLASS AAA

Main question: Who is the No. 1 seed, Thomas Jefferson or West Allegheny? They are both undefeated and WestChayse Dillon Allegheny had a couple close games this year while Thomas Jefferson handled everyone. But West Allegheny's Parkway Conference is stronger than the Big Nine. Plus West Allegheny is the defending champ so look for the WPIAL to put WA first. (Pictured is West Allegheny running back Chayse Dillon). If they played, it might be a great game.

Also, since Franklin Regional and Mars tied for the Greater Allegheny Conference championship, do you seed them No. 4 and No. 5 and let them play in the quarterfinals, or do you break them up because Franklin Regional beat Mars?

The games: Hampton (16) at West Allegheny (1); New Castle (9) at Highlands (8); Montour (13) at Franklin Regional (4); Indiana (12) at West Mifflin (5); Hollidaysburg (15) at Thomas Jefferson (2); Moon (10) at Ringgold (7); Belle Vernon (14) at Central Valley (3);  Elizabeth Forward (11) at Mars (6).

CLASS AA

The main question: What to do with Beaver Falls? The Tigers were the only team to give Aliquippa a game, losing late, 34-28. After that, you could make a point that Beaver Falls should still maybe be the No. 3 seed. But then Beaver Falls was thumped by a good Class AAA team Central Valley in a non-conference game last week. I know, Central Valley is Class AAA. But what does the WPIAL do? Does theTerry Swanson WPIAL put Beaver Falls at seed 4 or 5? That would put Beaver Falls on the same side of the bracket as Aliquippa. Or does the WPIAL move Beaver Falls to seed 6 or 7 to keep the Tigers away from Aliquippa unless the two make it to the finals?

Although there are four undefeated teams in this class, I really think Aliquippa gets the No. 1 seed, despite South Fayette's impressive season. Aliquippa is the defending Class AA champ and has a terrific one-two running punch in Dravon Henry and Terry Swanson (pictured).

The games: Valley (16) at Aliquippa (1); Yough (9) at Quaker Valley (8); Beaver (13) at Kittanning (4); Summit Academy (12) at Beaver Falls (5); Seton-LaSalle (11) at Washington (6); South Park (14) at Mount Pleasant (3); New Brighton (10) at Shady Side Academy (7); Greensburg Central Catholic (15) at South Fayette (2).

CLASS A

Main question: What to do with Beth-Center? Sure, the Bulldogs are undefeated but they won the Tri-County South. That conference is unquestionably the weakest in Class A. The conference hasn't won a playoff game in two years. So do you give Beth-Center a 4 or 5 seed, or drop the Bulldogs and put second-place teams in front of them?

Lenny WilliamsOne last thing. I think North Catholic could make a claim to the No. 1 seed over Sto-Rox. Both are undefeated. But Sto-Rox has gone to the final the past two seasons and that will matter. Plus, North Catholic will be without quarterback Adam Sharlow for the rest of the season because of an injured knee. Should an injury affect seedings? I say yes. So we'll go with Sto-Rox and stud quarterback Lenny Williams (pictured), although I think North Catholic is still good enough to win it all.

The games: West Shamokin (16) at Sto-Rox (1); Fort Cherry (9) at Carmichaels (8); Western Beaver (13) at Clairton (4); Brentwood (12) at Neshannock (5); Apollo-Ridge (11) at Beth-Center (5); Frazier (14) at Monessen (3); Laurel (10) at Avonworth (7); Avella (15) at North Catholic (2).

Check the blog tomorrow night for seedings and pairings. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

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Lights Out: Playoff picture

Written by Nick Veronica on .

[Friday night scoreboard]

Every spot in the WPIAL football playoffs has been secured.

Before we get to the rundown, a few reminders:

  • In Class AAAA and AAA, the top five teams in each conference make the playoffs, as well as one wild card.
  • In Class AA and A, the top four teams in each conference get in.
  • Tiebreaking procedures are complicated. I included a refresher from Tuesday's paper at the end of the post, if you're interested (or click here if you can't wait).
  • Only one Saturday game was playoff implications, and it's just for seeding. If Summit Academy beats Freeport, Summit is third in the Class AA Allegheny Conference and Valley is fourth. If Summit loses, Valley is third and Summit is fourth.
  • The WPIAL will announce matchups Monday night.

2013 WPIAL football playoff teams:

Class AAAA

Foothills Conference – McKeesport first, Penn-Trafford second, Gateway third, Hempfield fourth, Kiski Area fifth. Gateway gets a home game in the first round.

Northern Eight – Central Catholic first, Seneca Valley second, North Allegheny third, North Hills fourth, Pine-Richland fifth.

Southeastern – Upper St. Clair first, Woodland Hills second, Bethel Park third, Penn Hills fourth, Peters Township fifth and Baldwin qualifies as the sixth-place "wild-card" team. Bethel Park gets a home game in the first round.

Class AAA

Big Nine – Thomas Jefferson first, West Mifflin second, Ringgold third, Elizabeth Forward fourth, Belle Vernon fifth. Ringgold gets a home game in the first round.

Greater Allegheny – Franklin Regional first, Mars second, Highlands third, Indiana fourth, Hollidaysburg fifth and Hampton qualifies as the sixth-place "wild-card" team. Highlands gets a home game in the first round.

Parkway – West Allegheny first, Central Valley second, New Castle third, Moon fourth, Montour fifth.

Class AA

Allegheny – Kittanning first, Shady Side Academy second. If Summit Academy beats Freeport today, Summit is third and Valley fourth. If Summit loses, Valley is third and Summit fourth.
[UPDATE: Summit Academy beat Freeport 38-20. Summit takes third and Valley is fourth.]

Midwestern – Aliquippa is first, Beaver Falls second, New Brighton third, Beaver fourth.

Interstate – Mount Pleasant first, Washington second, Yough third, Greensburg Central Catholic fourth.

Century – South Fayette is first, Quaker Valley second, Seton-LaSalle third, South Park fourth.

Class A

Big Seven – Sto-Rox first, Neshannock second, Laurel third, Western Beaver fourth.

Black Hills – Monessen first, Clairton second, Fort Cherry third, Brentwood fourth.

Eastern – North Catholic first, Avonworth second, Apollo-Ridge third, West Shamokin fourth.

Tri-County South – Beth-Center first, Carmichaels second, Frazier third, Avella fourth.

City League

University Prep will play Allderice in the City League championship next week. USO beat Perry 8-0 Friday after Allderdice beat Brashear 14-10 on Thursday.

Out of the playoffs?

Teams that missed the playoffs have the option to add a final game to their schedule. Several have been updated to our day-by-day schedule page (all played before Friday). Coaches, if your team has a game scheduled that we don't have listed, please call our sports department with the information.

Games of the week

  • If you thought stopping Jimmy Wheeler couldn't be done, you obviously hadn't checked with Thomas Jefferson. Needing 142 yards to break the WPIAL regular-season rushing record, Wheeler was held to 13 yards on 11 carries as No. 1 Thomas Jefferson rolled to a 35-0 rout of No. 3 West Mifflin. Read Mike White's live blog for more.
  • Hempfield and Penn-Trafford entered Friday 5-2 in the Class AAAA Foothills Conference. In a battle for seeding, Penn-Trafford won 42-14 and was able to jump all the way up to second in the conference (with an assist to McKeesport for beating Gateway Thursday). Check out @CraigMeyerPG's Twitter for more.
  • Kittanning and Shady Side Academy were battling for playoff seeding as well in Class AA, and both entered Friday undefeated. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a late touchdown forced Shady Side into a very long extra point, which it couldn't convert. Kittanning won 28-27. Check Brad Everett (@BREAL412)'s feed for more.

Odds and ends

  • High score: Elizabeth Forward 60, Greensburg Salem 14.
  • Shutouts: 12.
  • OT games: none reported.

Rankings Report

How teams new to the rankings fared

Seneca Valley (AAAA) beat Fox Chapel 36-7
Fort Cherry (A) beat Chartiers-Houston 33-26.

How teams that fell out of the rankings responded

Gateway (AAAA) lost to No. 3 McKeesport 49-12 (Thursday)
Neshannock (A) beat Union 49-7.

Full results from ranked teams:

Class AAAA (records entering Week Nine)

1) Upper St. Clair (8-0) beat Mt. Lebanon 35-7.
2) Central Catholic (8-0) beat Butler 55-0.
3) McKeesport (8-0) beat Gateway 49-12 (Thursday).
4) Seneca Valley (7-1) beat Fox Chapel 36-7.
5) Woodland Hills (6-2) beat Penn Hills 19-7.

Class AAA

1) Thomas Jefferson (8-0) beat No. 3 West Mifflin 35-0.
2) West Allegheny (8-0) beat Chartiers Valley 49-0.
3) West Mifflin (8-0) lost at home to No. 1 Thomas Jefferson 35-0.
4) Central Valley (7-1) beat Beaver Falls 42-13.
5) Mars (7-1) beat Hampton 42-20.

Class AA

1) Aliquippa (8-0) beat Beaver 50-13.
2) South Fayette (8-0) beat South Allegheny 42-0.
3) Beaver Falls (7-1) lost at Class AAA No. 4 Central Valley 42-13.
4) Mount Pleasant (8-0) beat East Allegheny 55-23.
5) Shady Side Academy (8-0) lost to undefeated Kittanning 28-27.

Class A

1) Sto-Rox (8-0) beat Rochester 54-7.
2) North Catholic (8-0) beat Leechburg 35-14.
3) Clairton (7-1) didn't play this week.
4) Monessen (7-1) beat Carlynton 42-13.
5) Fort Cherry (7-1) Chartiers-Houston 33-26.

WPIAL tiebreakers...

From Tuesday's Post-Gazette. Click to here for a larger view

wpialtiebreaker

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Follow Post-Gazette sports reporter Nick Veronica on Twitter @NickVeronica.

 

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Live blog - Thomas Jefferson wins 35-0 .....Winovich runs for 246... Wheeler held to 13 yards

Written by Mike White on .

Live blog from battle of unbeatens - Thomas Jefferson at West Mifflin. Look on the right column for updates of other games from our Twitter account @PGVarsityXtra. If you have a score tweet it to @PGVarsityXtra with #wpial

FINAL: THOMAS JEFFERSON 35, WEST MIFFLIN 0

WIN NO. 200 IN BILL CHERPAK'S CAREER.

Austin Kemp scores on 11-yard run with 1:04 left. 

FINAL STATS: TJ's Chase Winovich 246 yards on 27 carries. He barely had over 300 yards coming in.

West Mifflin's Jimmy Wheeler finishes with 13 yards on 11 carries. Can I say WOW!

Great performance by Winovich and TJ lines were terrific.

THOMAS JEFFERSON 28, WEST MIFFLIN 0

West Mifflin chasing Chase Winovich again. 4th TD. 7 yard run.

Get this: Winovich now has 246 yards rushing

9:19 End of third and it's still 21-0. Jimmy Wheeler 10 yards on 10 carries

THOMAS JEFFERSON 21, WEST MIFFLIN 0

9:13 This one pretty much over. TJ takes ball to start second half and goes 75 yards in 16 plays. All runs and 13 by Chase Winovich. He scores on 1-yard run and TJ leads 21-0 after PAT. 2:36 to go in third.

Winovich now with 194 yards 22 carries.

9:04 Second half underway. 50-50 pot better than 2,000 bucs. Nice. 

Woodland Hills beating Penn Hills 19-7

Battle of unbeatens Kittanning and Shady Side tied 14-14

Fort Cherry losing to Char-Houston 14-13

North Allegheny blowing out North Hills 21-0

HALFTIME: THOMAS JEFFERSON 14, WEST MIFFLIN 0

TJ defense has been dominating. Get this. West Mifflin's Jimmy Wheeler came in with more than 2,000 yards rushing. He has 7 yards on 8 carries in first half.

Chase Winovich has 121 yards on nine carries in first halfl

 

8:33 TJ defense has been terrific. Winovich in on two sacks moves West Mifflin back to 45. Definitely minus rushing yards this half for WM

8:31 After TJ throws INT on double pass West Mifflin picks up first down on pass now at TJ 23 with 41 seconds left.

THOMAS JEFFERSON 14, WEST MIFFLIN 0

Third play of possession Chase Winovich hurdles a tackler and goes 39 yards for TD.Kick good. 121 yards rushing so far for Winovich

8:17 West Mifflin can't do anything offensively. Three and out again

8:13 WM defense holds. TJ turns ball over on downs at 28. 

8:10 timeout. TJ on drive to WM 23. Chase Winovich will be LB at Michigan but he is hurting WM as running QB

END FIRST QUARTER: THOMAS JEFFERSON 7, WEST MIFFLIN 0

West Mifflin fumbled ball away TJ drove to 19-yard line before turning ball over on downs. TJ just crushing WM offensive line and RB Jimmy Wheeler, who had 1 yard on 3 carries in first quarter.


NAllegheny takes 7-0 lead on North Hills on Cage Galupi TD pass

7:52 Thomas Jefferson takes 7-0 lead. 65 yards in nine plays Chase Winovich caps with 13-yard TD. 

7:46 - Pressure in this game I think more on WM defense. Can they stop time-consuming drives by TJ and stand up to big TJ offensive line? TJ one first down on first possession.

7:43 Three and out for WM

7:37 Late start to game because of Senior Night

Brentwood has taken 7-0 lead on Cal. Game with playoff implications


PREGAME

Good to see West Mifflin star basketball player Ryan Maha. Classy kid. Headed to CMU.

Senior Night at West Mifflin. Jimmy Wheeler needs less than 150 yards for WPIAL regular-season rushing record. I say he gets it but I say TJ gets the win.

Clairton coach Tom Nola in pressbox. He already played today ha ha. Won 2-0 over Imani Christian. Forfeit if you don't get it.

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Hampton's Ryan Luther talks about Pitt commitment

Written by Mike White on .

By August, Hampton basketball star Ryan Luther was pretty sure he would play at either Duquesne, Dayton or George Washington.

By late October, he was sure he would play at Pitt.

Pitt put on a late recruiting charge and landed one of the top players on this side of the state. Luther, a 6-foot-8 senior guard-forward, made a verbal commitment tonight to Pitt coach Jamie Dixon.

What's funny is that I believe t the only player from the WPIAL or City League to sign with Pitt during the Jamie Dixon era was Schenley's DeJuan Blair. But next year, Pitt will have two former WPIAL players. Former Beaver Falls standout Sheldon Jeter also has committed to Pitt. Luther will sign a letter of intent with Pitt during the week-long NCAA early-signing period next month.

Although Pitt showed interest in Luther in the spring and summer, they didn't pull the trigger and offer a scholarship until September. Pitt came on strong. Luther started spending time at Pitt, attending a few Pitt practices. His other top two choices were Duquesne and Dayton. He also visited George Washington.

"With any school, once they offer, you have to get to know the coaches and the players until you get comfortable," Luther said. "I was really comfortable with coach Dixon. He's a great guy and good coach.

"They recruited me lightly at the beginning, but toward the end of the summer they really picked up their recruitment. It's pretty hard to turn down a school I've like since I was a little kid. The opportunity to play in your home town and have your friends and family be at games is nice, and they have a great coach, great team and play in one of the best, if not the best, conferences in the country."

Dayton had an "in" with Luther because of John Miller, the legendary former Blackhawk coach and the father of Dayton coach Archie Miller. Luther and his twin brother, Collin, sometimes worked out with John Miller.

But Duquesne had a good shot at Ryan Luther and the Dukes also offered Collin. Their father, Bill, attended Duquesne. But hey, intramurals was his top level of playing (ha ha). But seriously, one of the Luthers' uncles, Brian Shanahan, was a 1,000-point scorer at Duquesne.

But in the end, Pitt won out. Ryan said what his brother will now do is up in the air. Pitt did not offer Collin.

Luther had some ties to Pitt, too. His cousin is former Pitt football player Mike Shanahan.

"As the process went on a little longer, I realized the opportunity I would have at Pitt and how I could make an impact with them," Ryan Luther said.

Luther said it was very hard to tell Duquesne and Dayton no tonight.

"I loved every school and each school offered something unique and different," Luther said. "It came down to playing at home was important to me. And the challenge of playing in the best conference meant a lot.

"Honestly, even though Duquesne hasn't had as much recent success, coach [Jim] Ferry is a great guy and a great coach and I really believe he'll get things turned around. I think they're eventually going to be good. It was hard to turn them down because they came in early in the process."

Although Luther and Jeter are about the same size and could end up playing the same position, Luther wasn't scared away just because Pitt took Jeter.

"I guess the way I play I can play a couple different positions," Luther said. "Coach Dixon never said you're going to play this position. He just thought I was a good, versatile player with skill who could play a couple different positions.

"Going to a program like Pitt, they're going to get great players every year. You have to earn your spot no matter where you go."

I say getting Luther is a nice catch for Pitt. Western Pennsylvania doesn't have a great reputation for producing Division I basketball players, but I've come to believe that players around here are better than people think. I think some colleges miss the boat on some Western Pa. I'm not saying there are tons of All-Americans overlooked from this area, but there are more college-level players than most believe, even if it is at the mid-major or Division II level.

As for Luther, I feel like I've watched him grow up. I've seen him play numerous times every year since he was in the fourth grade and even coached against him in younger years. And I grew tired of losing to him (ha ha).

He always had extreme talent and excellent instincts. But I'd say his game went to a different level the past two years because he started showing more athleticism. You'd have a hard time finding 6-8 guys from around Western Pennsylvania over the years that have as much skill as Luther.

On this Western Pa. high school level, I've called him a baby Dirk Nowitzki. Now don't get wrong. I'm not saying he's as big or as good as Dirk, but around here, he does thinks like Dirk. In other words, he does a variety of things. He is a good shooter for a 6-8 player. He can bring the ball up against full-court presses and his size lets him see over pressure. He also can score inside on post-up moves. Yet he can go outside, make 3-pointers and also put the ball on the floor and drive it. Luther made the Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 last year. His older brother, Bill Jr., made the Fab 5 a few years ago and is having a nice career at Pitt-Johnstown.

It will be interesting to see what kind of player Ryan Luther develops into at Pitt. He has developed into a highly-respectable young man off the court. He might have to play some more defense at Pitt (ha ha), but I think he has a world of potential. You may not see him on any top 100 lists in the country right now, but he could be a factor someday for Pitt. Plus, he may grown even more. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up 6-9 or 6-10.

Plus, isn't it nice when Pitt or Duquesne has some local players? I think it makes area fans a little more interested. I'm not saying Pitt or Duquesne should take players just because they're local. But it is nice to see WPIAL or City League players who are good enough to play at those schools.

 

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PIAA overturns WPIAL ruling ..... Comments from directors

Written by Mike White on .

 

The Washington football team found out this afternoon that its season will not end with tomorrow’s regular-season finale against Waynesburg. Thanks to the PIAA, the Little Prexies will be going to the WPIAL playoffs after all.

This afternoon, the PIAA overturned a previous WPIAL ruling that ordered Washington to forfeit five wins for the use of an ineligible player who is in his fifth year of high school. The ruling from the PIAA means that Washington has a 6-2 record and has qualified for the WPIAL playoffs that begin next Friday.

 A PIAA appeals board made its ruling after holding a hearing via conference call today Washington school officials and WPIAL officials.

“The appeals board listened to a presentation by Washington High School and voted unanimously to rescind the forfeiture requirement imposed by District 7 [WPIAL],” said PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi.

Quorteze LevyAt issue was Quorteze Levy, a senior receiver-defensive back at Washington who is in his fifth year of high school. PIAA and WPIAL rules state a student only gets four consecutive years (eight semesters) to participate in athletics. Levy (pictured) attended a school in Michigan as a ninth-grader, but did not participate in sports.

He transferred to Washington after his freshman year and repeated ninth grade because of academic problems. Washington athletic director Joe Nicolella said school officials didn’t realize Levy was in his fifth year of high school until a guidance counselor at the school caught it last week while looking at Levy’s transcript for possibly attending college.

Washington turned itself in to the WPIAL last Friday and the WPIAL had a board of control hearing with Levy and Washington school officials Monday. Washington asked for a hardship waiver that would grant Levy a fifth year of eligibility. Washington claimed Levy had family and social issues to deal with as a ninth-grader in Michigan. The WPIAL is allowed to grant a fifth year of eligibility for special circumstances.

The WPIAL granted Levy an extra year of eligibility in sports, but only starting with this past Monday after the hearing. The WPIAL said that rules do not allow the league to make the waiver retroactive to the start of the school year. Thus, when Levy played this season, he was ineligible. PIAA and WPIAL rules clearly state that any team that uses an ineligible player must forfeit any games where the ineligible player participated.

Washington then appealed its case to the PIAA and the PIAA voted to make the hardship waiver retroactive to the beginning of this semester. Thus, the team does not have to forfeit games.

“The reason being the [WPIAL] awarded the student two semesters of eligibility under severe and unusual hardship provision,” Lombardi said. “There is no language in our bylaws addressing partial semester eligibility. It’s a full semester. The waiver can be granted, but not for partial semesters.”

But the WPIAL claims the PIAA by-laws do not say anything about partial semester eligibility or whether eligibility can be granted retroactively. In essence, this case comes down to the WPIAL and PIAA reading a by-law differently because the by-law has a lot of gray areas and doesn't address a situation like this.

So the PIAA and WPIAL disagree and the PIAA doesn't uphold a WPIAL ruling. So, what else is new

"Candidly, our board was of the opinion that the request made [by Washington] was legitimate and merited consideration for additional semesters of eligibility," said WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley. "Our board, however, was of the opinion that the first seven weeks that [Levy] played and participated, he was ineligible. The board granted a waiver on the day it was asked for and not before.

"The by-law says you can grant eligibility for one or two semesters. It does not say you can grant eligibility retroactively. You can't take away the fact that he was ineligible the first seven games that he played."

The WPIAL actually made Washington forfeit six games. But the other forfeit was for an eligibility case involving Zach Blystone, who transferred from Charleroi to Washington for this school year. That forfeit [against Brownsville] still stands.

Washington will go into the playoffs as the No. 2 team from the Class AA Interstate Conference and will get a home game in the first round of the playoffs. The team finishes the regular season Friday against Waynesburg.

 

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