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The pinnacle of sports excellence in the Portage Trail Conference for the 2016-17 seasons belonged to the Crestwood Red Devils and Woodridge Bulldogs.
For the first time since the early 1990's, the league revived its All-Sports Trophy that had been a standard honor for the now defunct Portage County League.
The award calculates regular-season finishes for all sports through all seasons that are sponsored by at least five schools in both the County and Metro Divisions.
For this athletic season, it was the Red Devils topping the field in the County and the Bulldogs earning top billing in the Metro. Runners-up were Rootstown in the County and Norton in the Metro.
"To win this award in its first year back is a great honor," Crestwood athletic director Bob Dean said. "I think the recognition is a credit to our coaching staffs for all the work they do to get teams in a position to compete and be successful, a credit to the community and Board of Education for offering so many opportunities in a time of pay to play, and I think it is a great credit to the student-athletes, most especially our upperclassmen who have provided so many great performances."
Throughout the three seasons, Crestwood totaled five league championships: Football, girls cross country, boys basketball, softball and boys track and field.
The Metro's top point-getter, Woodridge, won division crowns in 10 sports: Football, boys soccer, boys cross country, girls cross country, boys basketball, wrestling, boys bowling, boys track and field, girls track and field and boys tennis.
"I am extremely proud of our student-athletes and coaches for receiving this award," Woodridge athletic director Nick Mayer said. "This award is given for the 2016-17 school year, but it is really a reflection on the community and its commitment to education-based athletics.
"Our community has invested in our students, and I believe we will continue to see our students thrive and be successful in the future because of their involvement in extra-curricular activities that are a supplement to -- and an extension of -- the things they learn throughout the school day."
Both Crestwood and Woodridge will be presented their All-Sports Trophy in the fall. Crestwood's presentation will be highlighted on Aug. 20 at the Community Night Out event, while Woodridge's presentation will take place during the pregame of the football team's home and season opener against Padua Franciscan on Aug. 25.
The award is co-sponsored by the Record-Courier and the PTC -- and was resurrected after the competition ended about 25 years ago due to the disparity in enrollment in the PCL. At that time, Crestwood, Field, Southeast and Streetsboro had become significantly larger than some of the smaller schools in the league and many felt the competition was not fair considering the imbalance of sponsored sports.
"We (the conference) have talked about bringing back the All-Sports Trophy on and off for about a decade now," Rootstown athletic director Keith Waesch said. "Due to the makeup of the conference in the past, it was met with some opposition. However, this past spring everyone seemed intrigued by the idea.
"The athletic directors believe the revival of the trophy will add to building school spirit amongst our students and community," Waesch said.