Piqua has a history of dominating the CBC/US Bank Troy-Piqua Challenge Blood Drive, but in recent years the competition has been a true tug-of-war. The 21st Challenge got underway Tuesday with blood drives at the rival high schools, with Troy yanking hard on the Challenge trophy and claiming the early lead.
Troy registered 123 donors, a hefty 13 percent increase over last year’s blood drive total. Meanwhile Piqua registered a respectful 109 donors, but allowed Troy to take 14 vote lead into Thursday’s deciding community blood drives at the US Bank branches in Troy and Piqua.
“We did everything we could think of to try to fill our slots,” said Angie Anderson, blood drive coordinator and advisor to the ASTRA club, the student sponsor organization for Troy’s blood drives.
Since Troy’s upset win in the 2012 Challenge the rivals have a battled to a 3-3 record, with Piqua winning the last two Challenges and the $1,000 award from US Bank. At Tuesday’s blood drives Piqua totaled 89 units donated and 47 first-time donors. Troy totaled 99 units and 48 first-time donors.
“One of the ASTRA girls talked about how she donated last year and got the phone call when they say your blood was used,” said Angie. “She said they actually used my blood and it was for an infant. She was so excited about it. You just gave someone a chance, you helped save a life. That’s awesome.”
Knowing that the Troy blood drive was going well was music to the ears of senior Jenna Rice, who made her second lifetime donation Tuesday.
“I play in the band and we were just out practicing before I came in,” said Jenna. She’s a mellophone player and practice has focused on a night of harmony with rival Piqua at Friday’s football game.
“I’m hoping for a pretty good game,” she said. “The bands are playing together. We’ll play each other’s fight song, the Star Spangled Banner and the military anthems.”
The Troy-Piqua Challenge continues Thursday with the US Bank blood drives, and the competition will be less harmonious.
“Game on!” said US Bank Piqua Manager Emily Shawler, who donated at the Piqua High School blood drive. “We’re confident we’re going to pull it out!” said April Watson, Piqua blood drive coordinator and advisor of the Interact Club student sponsor organization.
Piqua sophomore Asia Burge turned 16 Tuesday, just in time to make her first donation as a vote for Piqua. “I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Asia. “My mom’s been donating forever. Everybody knows about it and I hope we win.”
“It’s on!” said Emily. “We’re close to being full but we need alternates. Anyone who would like to come and be our back-up – please, bring it on!”