• Paw vs. Claw athletic rivalry kicks off Sept. 5

    Whose student athletes will reign in “The Paw vs. The Claw?” That question will be answered during the 2015-16 sports season as varsity teams from the Hamburg and Frontier Central School Districts kick their cross-town rivalry up a notch. At stake is a newly-designed Challenge Trophy and bragging rights.

    pawprint It’s all in the spirit of respectful competition and positive morale, said Patrick Cauley, Hamburg’s director of Health, Physical Education & Recreation.

    “A rivalry is a special thing for kids to be a part of,” Mr. Cauley said. “It enhances their experience in athletics. It’s positive energy for each school district.”

    The kick-off for this season’s competition between the Hamburg Bulldogs and Frontier Falcons will coincide with the boys’ varsity soccer game scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m. at Howe Field.  At that event, a  redesigned trophy to replace the original dating back to the 1950s will be unveiled. Hamburg athletes involved in all fall sports have been invited to attend, sporting purple.

    The original Challenge Trophy was a gift to the schools from Hamburg’s sister city in Germany in 1957 to foster athletic competition. At the end of the school year, it is presented to the athletic director of either Hamburg or Frontier, based on who has the most points in that year’s games against each other. The point system nowadays is based on varsity wins in league and non-league games in at least 24 sports. As winner of the 2014-15 competition, Hamburg currently holds ownership of the trophy.

    The Challenge Trophy competition is enjoying a rebirth of sorts. At the end of the 1985-86 school year, the tradition lapsed, until being revived in 2012-13.

    Last spring, the athletic councils from both school districts met to map a plan for promoting the competition and school spirit. Students devised the name Battle of the ‘Burg (The Paw vs. The Claw).

    After this weekend’s kick-off, the revelry will continue when a new football trophy is awarded to the winner of the Oct. 16 Hamburg vs. Frontier away game, marking the end of the regular football season.

    -- Sept. 1, 2015