An annual rite of passage, the Southwest District Board of the OHSAA took time Tuesday evening to honor its elite student athletes for accomplishment on the playing field and in the classroom.

Dayton – In what’s now become a final highlight of the high school athletic season, the Southwest District Board of the Ohio High School Athletic Association honored 45 area student athletes Tuesday for accomplishment on the playing field and in the classroom.

Representing the OHSAA in Columbus, deputy commissioner Debbie Moore opened the ceremonies at the downtown Marriott by telling the honorees, “On behalf of the OHSAA…it’s a privilege to recognize and reward your accomplishments.”

In total, the SWDAB presented more than 40 scholarships ranging in value from $500 to $1,000 to students representing the Southwest district, from Hamilton County to Shelby County.

Athletic director Chip Hare accompanied Piqua's Ashley Ho for her award.

Athletic director Chip Hare accompanied Piqua’s Ashley Ho for her award.

Area recipients from the Press Pros market included:  Tom Ballas (Ft. Loramie), Ashley Ho (Piqua), Aaron Hughes (Tipp City), Krista Gehret (Anna), Nathan Blei (Covington), Christen Ware (Jackson Center), Jacob Brown (Troy Christian), and Maria Herron (Russia).

“It’s an honor to recognize these young people of such accomplishment and character,”  said SWDAB secretary Dale Creamer.  “But it’s an even greater honor to know that these same young people exhibit that same character when no one’s looking.”

And of the 45 student athletes that shared their college of choice, they spanned the country, including Duke, Brigham Young, Dartmouth, New York University, North Carolina State, Ohio State, and the University of South Carolina.

Tuesday’s event marked the 24th anniversary of SWDAB scholarship awards, funded in large part by the sale of T-shirts during the district tournaments throughout the school year.  13 past board members with 25 years or more service to the SWDAB and student athletes in southwest Ohio were recognized by honorary or memorial scholarships in their name.  They include:  Dave Gray, Fred Durkle, Dale Creamer, Bob Denney, John Rossi, Gene Klaus, Angus King, Bob Huelsman, George Rise, Emerson Brown, Harry Moore, Harold Shank, and Franklin Young.