December 9, 2022
On Campus

Reason to Cheer

Wittenberg’s HWA Complex Attracts OHSAA Spirit State Championships For Second Straight Year

A little more than two years after one of the most extensive construction projects in University history was completed, Wittenberg hosted the first-ever Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Spirit State Championships in December 2021 in its newly renovated and expanded Health, Wellness, & Athletics (HWA) Complex. Things went so well the first time that they’re running it back one year later.

Much like the first time, the HWA Complex will be pulsing with excitement as 75 cheerleading teams compete for state titles on Saturday, December 10. Organizers say the venue proved ideal thanks to its 265,000-square-feet of varied indoor space, ample renovated locker rooms, and seating for 3,000 enthusiastic spectators in Pam Evans Smith Arena.

“As a person who studied collegiate athletic administration at two Power Five schools, I was immediately blown away by Wittenberg's facilities,” said Meredith Johnson, events coordinator for state associations at Varsity Spirit, which organizes the event in partnership with OHSAA. “The HWA Complex delivered a top-of-the-line experience that no one else could beat. Between the athletic department and facilities, we knew right then and there that Wittenberg was the perfect fit for this partnership. Both the facilities and the athletic department could accommodate the unique needs of implementing a spirit event, which are not always the easiest task.

“Varsity Spirit is so grateful for our partnership with Wittenberg. It is our hope to continue choosing Wittenberg or future events.”

The 135,000-square-foot Steemer, an indoor artificial turf practice facility surrounded by a six-lane, 300-meter track, provides an important staging space for the teams as they prepare for their performances. The historic 1929 Gymnasium, which was also recently renovated, provides space for teams to rehearse and merchants to sell gear and concessions, and Pam Evans Smith Arena is the competition space.

We are excited to be hosting the second annual OHSAA State Championships for Sideline Cheer. The event takes over almost the entire HWA Complex. We expect thousands in attendance who will be supporting the 75 teams from all over Ohio.
Brian Agler ’80, Wittenberg Vice President and Director of Athletics and Recreation.

Agler has worked closely with a Wittenberg classmate to bring the Spirit State Championships to Springfield each of the last two years. Brian Timm, general manager of sports properties for OHSAA and a fellow 1980 graduate of Wittenberg, says “as a Tiger alumnus, I always enjoy coming home.

“The combination of Pam Evans Smith Arena and The Steemer make Wittenberg a perfect venue for our second annual Sideline Spirit State Championship,” Timm said. “The Steemer provides areas for teams to congregate while they aren’t competing. It is a perfect facility for warming up and also serves as an on-deck location. The Arena is the perfect size for our competition, and the staff is fantastic.

“We also look forward to late May when we will be back for our inaugural Boys Volleyball State Championships.”

As Timm mentioned, Wittenberg has also been selected to serve as host to the first-ever OHSAA Boys’ Volleyball Tournament May 25-26, 2023. Boys’ volleyball was sanctioned as an emerging sport earlier this year. Previous state tournaments were organized by a high school coaches association and played on high school campuses, most recently in Pickerington.

A New Standard Of Athletics Excellence
Dedicated October 25, 2019, the fully renovated and expanded 265,000-square-foot Health, Wellness & Athletics (HWA) Complex, and its centerpiece, The Steemer indoor practice facility, is already setting a new standard of excellence in NCAA Division III in community engagement and in student success.
Learn More About The HWA
Ryan Maurer
Ryan Maurer
Associate Director of Athletics for Communications, Web Strategy & Content

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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