Two men flank a woman posing in a gym
The Ashland Arrows Step-It-Up challenge team members were Andrew Tabler, Andrea White, and Scott Sauder.

ASHLAND — The Ashland Arrows were the Northwest Region winners from Ashland City Schools in the Fall Healthy Kids Step-It-Up challenge.

The award includes $1,000. Team “Ashland Arrows” from Ashland City Schools had 731,301 average total steps and 2,193,905 total steps.

Team members are Andrew Tabler, Andrea White, and Scott Sauder. 

“Andrea got the majority of her steps in the mornings by running and doing CrossFit,” Sauder said. “Andy and I both teach physical education, and we also coach after school; Andy coaches at Ashland University, and I coach both varsity football and basketball at Ashland High School.

Sauder said the $1,000 prize money will be used to purchase a sounds system for the new fitness center in the newly constructed fieldhouse that is used by both high school and middle school students.

The Fall Healthy Kids Step It Up Challenge, powered by Health Action Council, is a national no-cost, four-week step program that promotes overall health and well-being for schools and the community. School administrators, educators, and parents stepped to model healthy habits, show leadership, and win money! 

The theme for this challenge was “Groove Your Way to Improved Health”. Throughout this challenge as participants stepped, they unlocked virtual milestones that explored the top music hits throughout the decades to keep them moving.  

“Listening to music has been shown to have positive effects on the mind and body such as boosted mood, increased heart rate, and improved performance while exercising, which is one of the many benefits of this challenge,” said Patty Starr, President & CEO of Health Action Council.

“Participants also learned and practiced healthy habits such as staying hydrated and monitoring blood pressure.” 

 All participants rallied, with a record amount of wellness warriors, totaling 772 participants and 89 teams. This active group achieved 196,662,135 steps steps, which unlocked a $500 donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas.   

More importantly, their participation modeled good habits for students through actions such as participating in physical education classes, talking about the importance of physical and mental health, participating in team sport activities, and encouraging students to also take extra steps throughout the day. 

“Pirates” from Bluffton City Schools earned the win for the Health Action Council Heathy Kids Fall Step It up Challenge. As the Top Steppers, will receive $1,500 towards health improvement for their school.

Participants Heidi Steiner, Jaime Combs, and Ryan Dunlap worked their way daily to win it, logging in an impressive 821,575 average total steps and 2,464,725 total steps. 

Second place went to “The Walking Bread” from Boulder Valley School District, reaching 736,348 average total steps and an amazing 3,681,742 total steps, earning $1,250 towards health improvement for their school. Team members were Jose Jimenez, Crystal Martinez, Carrie Jentz, April Servold, and Silas Goldstein. 

Third place winners, earning $1,000 were “RH-Spartan Steppers” from Richmond Heights Local Schools, with 602,465 average total steps and 1,807,397 total steps. The team was comprised of Lori Gecina, David Miller, and Brenda Graves. 

The 4th place winners, earning $750 were “Pacin’ & Chasin’ After Pirates” from Sheridan High School with 520,716 average total steps and 2,082,866 total steps.  The team members were Jean Fealty, Katie Huffman, Chris Walters, and Adam Huffman.

The 5th place team, earning $500 were “R-H Mad Walkers” from Richmond Heights Local Schools with 486,620 average total steps and 1,459,862 total steps. Team members were Nicholas Alcantar, Nick Grande, and Sharon Alcantar. 

Ohio OHSAA Regional Winners were: 

  • Northwest Region ($1,000): Team “Ashland Arrows” from Ashland City Schools had 731,301 average total steps and 2,193,905 total steps. Team members are Andrew Tabler, Andrea White, and Scott Sauder. 
  • Northeast Region ($1,000) was team “Five of a Kind” from Perry Local Schools with 687,539 average total steps and 3,437,696 total steps.  Team members were Shelby Hess, Jenn Zack, Erica Sivak, Summer Brainard, and Kayla Rackovan. 

“This challenge encompasses everything healthy, including the human connection to reach a collective goal,” said Starr. 

While everyone benefitted, the following were mini challenge winners. 

  • Rachel Hostetler from Maumee Schools won a Fitbit for having over 10,000 steps. 
  • Kurt Ragle from Kirtland Schools won a $25 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card for having over 60 active minutes. 
  • Olivia Barnett from Lancaster High School won a $25 Amazon gift card for posting in the challenge chat her favorite song. 
  • Retta Kelley from Boulder Valley School District won a $15 Panera gift card for completing the hydration mini challenge and drinking at least 8 cups of water a day. 
  • Cherelle Simmons from Richmond Heights Local Schools stepped at least 10,000 steps Friday through Sunday for a weekend mini challenge and won a $25 Amazon gift card and Step It Up swag bundle. 
  • Jenna Horschler from Crestwood Local Schools won a $25 Chipotle gift card for completing a blood pressure mini challenge. 
  • John Story from Nathan Hale Cleveland School won a $20 Starbucks gift card and Step It Up t-shirt for having over 60 active minutes. 
  • Courtney Snell from Riverside Schools won a $25 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card from Riverside Schools for participating in our Halloween costume mini challenge. 
  • Summer Brainard from Perry local schools won a $20 Amazon gift card for sharing how she models healthy habits for her students. 

“It’s amazing when people come together, encourage each other, have fun and become a healthier version of themselves,” said Starr. “We couldn’t be happier for this group and more grateful for their enthusiastic participation.” 

Interested in joining the Spring 2024 Challenge? Dates are March 25 – April 21. Contact Noelle Reinhart at 

Health Action Council

Health Action Council is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization representing mid and large-size employers that enhances human and economic health through thought leadership, innovative services, and collaboration.

It provides value to its members by facilitating projects that improve the quality and moderate the cost of healthcare purchased by its members for their employees, dependents, and retirees. 

Health Action Council also collaborates with key stakeholders – health plans, physicians, hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry – to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the community. 

The Education section is brought to you by Ashland Family YMCA.