Seven Ohio high school athletic departments have been selected to receive the Annual “Award of Excellence” recognition in 2018. The award, a collaboration between the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) and the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (OIAAA), recognizes schools that provide exemplary support and promotion of education-based athletic programming in their school and community. Recipients of this year’s award are Hilliard Darby High School (Chris Ludban, athletic administrator), Proctorville Fairland High School (Jeff Gorby, athletic administrator), Galion High School (Kyle Baughn, athletic administrator), Marietta High School (Rick Guimond, athletic administrator), Rocky River High School (Mark Wagner, athletic administrator), Saint Joseph Academy (John Manuszak, athletic administrator) and Sycamore High School (Phil Poggi, athletic administrator). The focus of the award is to recognize on-going and consistent efforts on the part of Ohio interscholastic athletic departments that demonstrate best practice in the endorsement and promotion of school-based athletic programming. Specifically, this award recognizes schools that demonstrate intentional efforts to exemplify the mission and culture of education-based athletic programs as an on-going process. Dr. Dan Ross, Executive Director of the OHSAA, Jerry Snodgrass, Assistant Commissioner of the OHSAA, Bo Hanson, President of the OIAAA and Bruce Brown, Executive Director of the OIAAA issued the following joint statement on the presentation of the award: “Ohio interscholastic athletic programs have always been considered some of the most exemplary programs in the country in reflecting the value our schools and communities place upon education-based sports. The recipients of the ‘Award of Excellence’ have demonstrated a consistent and well-developed plan to keep the focus of their sport programs upon delivering life-long skills for all participants and mirroring the educational mission of their respective institutions.” The OHSAA and the OIAAA believe there are several benchmarks which identify quality, education-based athletic programs: • School athletic programs are inherently educational • School athletic programs compliment the educational experience • School athletic programs enhance the educational mission of the school • School athletic programs serve as an extension of the academic classroom • School athletic programs teach life lessons not regularly available in the academic classroom • School athletic programs have courts, fields, tracks, pools and courses as teaching classrooms Each of the recipient high schools will be honored during the 2018 Ohio Boys State Basketball Championships on Thursday, March 22nd at halftime of the 2:00 p.m. Division IV state basketball semi-finals at the Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University. Congratulations to our OIAAA award winning athletic programs.