TROY, Ohio – Braggin’ rights are always at stake when rivals Troy and Piqua clash.  Lives have always been saved over the 15-year history of the Community Blood Center/US Bank Troy-Piqua Blood Drive Challenge.  Now there’s a Challenge Trophy to help feed the flames, and though the Indians may feel burned, the trophy’s first home is at Troy High School.

CBC representative Jon Thalman presented the newly-minted Challenge Trophy to Troy High School Principal Bill Overla and blood drive coordinator Angie Wiley Friday, May 17 at Troy’s spring blood drive.

A plaque in the center of the trophy records the history of the Challenge, beginning with a Troy victory in 1998, followed by a string of Piqua victories (broken only by a tie in 2001) until Troy’s upset win in 2012.

The “traveling” trophy will reside at Troy High School – at least until the 2013 Troy-Piqua Challenge is decided.  The winning school will receive a $1,000 check from US Bank – and the trophy – at the rivals’ football game next fall.

“I think it’s really neat,” said Principal Overla.  “It’s a good way to recognize the competition within our community.”  The high schools were evenly matched in blood drive results last year, but Troy pulled ahead with a stronger community blood drive.  “We tried to rally our base,” he said. “This trophy is a nice touch.  I look forward to the trophy staying here for at least a few years.”

The competition seems to have already begun.  Piqua High School’s spring blood drive produced more donations than its Challenge Blood Drive last fall, and the same was true for Troy.  Friday’s spring blood drive registered 97, including 50 first-time donors, and collected 80 pints for 107 percent of the collection goal.

Sophomore Shelby Sneider made her third donation at the blood drive, qualifying her for the CBC Red Cord Honor Program a full two years before graduation. “I donated for the first time here at the school blood drive,” she said. “I donated ‘59’ days ago with my dad at the Presbyterian Church in Troy.  He said he would be my donation partner!”

Senior Michael Walker was also thinking about his dad when he made his second blood donation Friday.  “I hate this, but I know it’s a good idea,” he said. “I’m afraid of needles, but I got out here anyway.”

He wears a light blue wristband that reads, “Pray for Michael,” in memory of his father Dr. Michael Walker, a physician at Upper Valley Medical Center who died January 3 after a two-year battle with cancer.  Michael plans to follow in his father’s footsteps when he begins college as a pre-med student next fall.

“I remember (five years ago) when a friend of mine’s father died,” he said. “My dad said I should spend time with him. When we talked I couldn’t comprehend what it would be like to lose my dad. I couldn’t handle it. But when it happened, you handle it. There’s nothing else for you to do. You have to handle it, and you can do it.”

With that kind of strength walking the halls of Troy High School, the rival Piqua Indians will have their work cut out for them wrestling the Challenge Trophy away from the Trojans next year.  In the best way possible, “There will be blood!”

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