OCEAN CITY, NJ (September 20, 2020) – Ocean City High School Athletics has been awarded the NJSIAA Sportsmanship Award for their second consecutive year, as well as the Ed Byrnes Memorial Award for their eighth consecutive year. Both awards come from the team’s success on and off the field, even with a shortened 2019-2020 athletic season.
“The Ed Byrnes Award shows how diverse our athletic skills are and how teamwork under great coaching staffs leads to success on the competition venues. The NJSIAA award shows the character of the student-athletes and coaches. It also takes more than just coaches, it is also the leadership of the teaching staff and building staff, to the athletic trainers to administration to a supportive community,” said Ocean City School District’s Athletic Director, Geoffrey Haines. “ I am proud of these honors and it shows that hard work pays off.”
The awardees of the NJSIAA Sportsmanship Award are presented with a banner to be displayed with their other record-setting and championship honors as motivation for current and future athletes. This year, OCHS was the only Cape Atlantic League school given this award, compared to last year where there were two additional schools. Each conference has its own criteria for selecting recipients, usually presenting a banner to a school representing each of the divisions. Winners are chosen with a vote by fellow schools.
Since it began 30 years ago, Ocean High High School has been awarded the Ed Byrnes Memorial Award 18 times. This year is their eighth consecutive year. During the 2019/2020 season, the Red Raiders won a State Championship in girls soccer, additional South Jersey titles in girls basketball, boys cross country and girls cross country, and deemed Regional State Champions in girls basketball despite the finals being cancelled due to Covid-19. Ocean City High School also won conference or league championships in five different sports. The system used to determine what schools are awarded are points for championships won in both Cape Atlantic League and NJSIAA with bonuses for the number of different sports in which they were won. Under this system, which rewards a sports program’s versatility, a school that wins one championship in each of two different sports will get a higher score than if it won two championships in the same sport. Only sports in which the CAL crowns a champion are considered for the award.
This all-sports award was created by Prime Events and Schoppy Inc. in 1991. It was renamed in memory of Edward Byrnes, the longtime Athletics Director and football coach at Holy Spirit, after he died in February 1996. Byrnes was president of the Cape Atlantic League for six years and had just won his 100th football victory just months before his passing.
“It’s great to see our students be acknowledged for their hard work and dedication to their teams and to the teams around them. It’s been a challenging few months, but they persevered,” said OCSD Superintendent Dr. Taylor. “I feel an immense sense of pride for our student- athletes and our athletic program.”