By Rob Kiser
Ashley Ho may not know much about the sport of football.
But, the Pro Football Hall of Fame already is impressed with the daughter of Elizabeth and Brian Cline, a Piqua High School senior.
And as a result, she will get to learn a lot about the NFL.
“It is pretty funny when she think about it,” Ho, who will attend North Carolina State University said.
For the second straight year, a Piqua student-athlete will be one of the few in the country to be the finalist for a prestigious scholarship and Anthony Munoz was on hand in the PHS auditorium on Wednesday to present Ho with a jacket and plaque as one of 25 finalists for the U.S. Army/Pro Football Hall of Fame Award of Excellence.
There are only three finalists from Ohio.
As part of being a finalist, Ho and the others will be hosted at a special luncheon at the Hall of Fame on Aug. 5, when the winners will be announced.
They will also have the opportunity to attend the enshrinement ceremony for the class of 2017 — Morten Andersen, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley, Jerry Jones, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson and Kurt Warner.
“I think I will get to learn quite a bit about football,’ Ho said with a laugh. “It is just amazing they picked little old me from Piqua Ohio. It is quite an honor.”
While Ho is humble, her resume is an impressive one.
In volleyball, she was a second team All-GWOC American selection this year, accumulating 207 kills and 129 blocks over the last two seasons.
In track and field, she is a two-time regional qualifier with hopes of qualifying for the state meet this year.
And she is just as impressive off the field.
“Ashley (Ho) has been highly active in a lot of different activities and work in the community,” Piqua athletic director Chip Hare said.
Just Tuesday night, she high jumped 5-3 a new PR.
“We have another meet tonight (Wednesday),” Ho said. “If I don’t get the school record (5-5) then, hopefully I will before the season is over.”
Hare was excited to see a Piqua senior receive the honor for the second straight year.
“It is a tremendous honor,” Hare said. “You know, Jack (Schmiesing) set the bar pretty high last year. Georgia (Academic counselor Georgia Huntsman) and I started going through a list of possible candidates for this year. For Ashley (Ho) to be named a finalist, it says a lot about her and is a tremendous honor.”
Ho had limited knowedge of the scholarship.
“I got in on the very end of the program last year (for Jack Schmiesing) because I had a class,” she said. “Chip Hare and Georgia Huntsman nominated me for the award. So, I filled out the paper work. It was just an honor to be nominated.”
NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz was there to present Ho with the honor.
“It says a lot about the students at Piqua High School,” Munoz said about making the trip for the second straight year. When George Veras (Chief Operating Officer and Executive Producer of the Hall of Fame) came up with this idea to honor these students, I was really excited about it.”
And Munoz enjoys the opportunity to meet the students.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It allows you to put a face to the name. It is always great to meet the students and their parents. They are such exceptional people.”
Ho is equally impressed with Munoz.
“I will admit I had never heard of him until a couple weeks ago,” she said with a laugh. “I googled him and he has a very impressive statistics. But, the thing that stood out to me was all his community service work. That is something that has always been important to me.”
Ho received multiple standing ovations from her family, friends and coaches in attendance.
“It was incredible,” she said. “My teammates have always supported me — off the field as well as on it. I am truly loved.”
After the ceremony she stood, wearing her new jacket after posing for numerous photos.
“It is a little sweaty,” Ho said with a laugh. “But, it feels great. This is just such a tremendous honor.”
And one Ho is more than worthy of — as the Pro Football Hall of Fame and U.S. Army are well aware of.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.