By Ken Barhorst
The rivalry between Sidney and Piqua high schools has always been a good one, and that’s not news to anyone.
But it looks like it’s about to get even better.
Athletic directors Mitch Hoying of Sidney and Chip Hare of Piqua have been working since last fall on a somewhat unique approach to the rivalry, and they are about to make it official in time for the 2017-18 school year.
Starting with the fall season, a Sidney-Piqua All-Sports Trophy will be up for grabs.
There is already a board up at the high school that has kept track of this school year’s sports, and under the formula Hoying and Hare came up with, Sidney would be leading right now 11.5 to 8.5.
“Chip brought it up last fall during the girls tennis tournament, and we kinda hashed out the details,” Hoying said this week. “We ran it through the league, but it’s really a Sidney-Piqua thing.”
He said he and Hare discussed some by-laws, and the one at the top is the points formula to determine who keeps the trophy every year.
“Teams will get a point for winning in a sport where we only play each other once, and a half-point if we play each other twice,” Hoying said.
The fall sports include football, volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls golf and girls tennis.
The winter sports are boys and girls basketball, boys and girls swimming, boys and girls bowling and also wrestling.
And in the spring, the sports are baseball, softball, boys and girls track and boys tennis.
In certain sports, such as cross country and track, among others, the two schools only see each other at league meets. But Hoying said that will change.
“We will actually do a head-to-head in every sport,” he said. “We will run Sidney vs. Piqua, and that means that there will be dual meets in sports like cross country and track. So in the spring, it’s quite possible that the track meet, or the baseball or softball games at the end will have a lot riding on them.
“What it all came down to is trying to find more ways to make things important,” he added. “It doesn’t matter what kind of year you’re having, you can still contribute to your school winning this trophy. Chip is no different than us. He’s just looking for ideas to generate more excitement and a bigger game on a given night. And we tend to think a lot alike.”
Hoying said he knows that Troy is far and away Piqua’s biggest rival, and this isn’t an attempt to change that.
“We know Troy will always be Piqua’s biggest rival, and Chip wants that second type of opponent that’s always a big contest,” Hoying said. “We have it because our kids really get excited to play Troy, and we also have a good rivalry with St. Marys in football.”
The traveling trophy has yet to be designed, Hoying said. And he added that in the years Sidney wins the trophy, it would be awarded on Senior Awards Night at the school.
So far, the response has been enthusiastic from the coaches at both schools.
“I ran a straw poll through all the coaches and got some positive feedback,” Hoying said. “And Chip said his folks bought in pretty quick. It’s kind of a common sense thing. It’s someone very close to you and someone you share a border with. I think people are going to like that idea.
“Some of the feedback I got was that they like the idea of pushing a dual meet because not many sports have that anymore,” he added. “And they like the fact that they have to get it in — no weather cancellations. You build your schedule around it. Now we will have to make those events up.”
Both schools compete each year for the all-sports trophy in the Greater Western Ohio Conference North, but like Hoying said, “we don’t have a huge amount of success in that.” In fact, the North all-sports trophy has been won by either Vandalia or troy for the past 11 years.
“This is a chance to push the all-sports concept in a bit more winnable scenario,” said Hoying. “And you’re not going to find two schools and communities that are more similar than our two.”
Hoying said his school has added a 21-foot trophy case recently, paid for mostly by the Sidney 200 Club.
“It’s a good hall to get lost in,” Hoying said. “And a third of it is the Sidney-Piqua rivalry.”