MIAMI COUNTY — Piqua High School “drew first blood” but rival Troy High School has taken the early lead in the 18th annual US Bank/Community Blood Center Troy-Piqua Challenge Blood Drive. Now it’s up to the supporters of the upcoming community blood drives to see who will claim bragging rights and a $1,000 award for their school.

The Challenge trophy and the $1,000 award from US Bank will go to the community whose high school and community blood drives combine for the highest number of donor registrations. The trophy currently resides at Piqua High after a comeback victory in the 2014 competition.

Piqua began the Challenge with a student blood drive Friday, Sept. 18 sponsored by the Interact Club student service organization. The Indians set the bar with 99 votes from 99 registrations to donate. The blood drive had 45 first-time donors and resulted in 75 donations.

Troy countered with a campus blood drive Monday, Sept. 21 sponsored by the ASTRA Young Altrusans Volunteer Club. The Trojans gathered 114 votes from 114 registrations to donate to take a 15-vote lead in the competition. The blood drive totaled 65 first-time donors and 83 donations.

Piqua students were optimistic Friday as they began their defense of the challenge trophy. “I think we’ll get it because we have more spirit than Troy,” said first-time donor Reagan Bowen. “We have more pride!”

“We’re striving to beat Troy in every single way possible,” said senior Troy Iddings, who made his second lifetime donation Friday and plans to donate again his senior year to qualify for the CBC Red Cord Honor Program. “I do whatever I can for my part to beat Troy!”

As much as they want to beat Troy, students say that’s not the only reason they come to the blood drive. “I’m in the Interact Club so I know all about it,” said Zariane Maxon, a junior who made her second lifetime donation Friday. “They come out just because it’s a good cause, not just because of the Troy-Piqua rivalry.”

“I’d be here anyway,” said Troy High senior Mel Henson, who made 6th lifetime donation Monday at Troy’s campus blood drive. Classmate Jack Stoeckmans agreed. “It’s good to compete for your school, but it’s also nice to help with the bigger stuff, the larger scale, to help people out. You feel like you’re making a contribution.”

“I was 16 last year,” said senior Sam Nation, who made his first lifetime donation Monday. “I have a terrible memory and forgot to get the (parental permission for 16 year olds) signed. This year I said, here it goes – get it done!”

Troy Principal Bill Overla encouraged his students by lighting up the gym scoreboard with “116” for the number of appointments available. The Trojans responded with 114.

“Mr. Overla kind of inspired me,” said first-time donor Lilly Grogean.

“You know you can help save up to three lives,” said first-time donor Logan Chaney. “You just want to help out – and also get to beat Piqua!”

“We did a lot of recruiting,” said Troy blood drive coordinator and ASTRA advisor Angie Wiley. “We had a job fair at Hobart Arena for juniors and seniors, did a blood drive table and had 30 people sign up. That really did well.”

Piqua must make up ground at the community blood drives, and the strategy for some students is to encourage their parents to “vote” by registering to donate. “I plan on doing it,” said Piqua senior Carly Brown, who earned her CBC Red Cord with her third lifetime donation Friday. “I did it last year, and my mom did it.”

The community blood drives will be held at US Bank Piqua from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 26, and US Bank Troy from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 27. The challenge winner will be announced and the $1,000 award check presented Friday, Oct. 30 at the Troy-Piqua football game. Donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com.

Piqua leads Troy in the CBC/US Bank Troy-Piqua Challenge Blood Drive 13-3-1. The Challenge began with a Troy victory in 1998, but was followed by a string of Piqua victories (broken only by a tie in 2001) until Troy’s resurgence in 2012 and 2013. Piqua’s 2014 victory was decided by just seven votes. Last year 361 students and community members voted in the Challenge by registering to donate.

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