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USA TODAY Announces Hosts and Presenters for First Ever National High School Sports Awards Show

High School Sports Awards Hosted by Michael Strahan and Rob Gronkowski will Celebrate the Best Student Athletes in 25 Sports Including New Polo Award

USA TODAY’s High School Sports Awards, presented by the U.S. Polo Assn., announced a new national show airing on August 5 hosted by Michael Strahan, co-host of “Good Morning America,” and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The awards show, one of the largest high school sports recognition programs in the country, will honor the nation's best student athletes and feature some of the biggest names in professional sports.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

(Photo: Business Wire)

(Photo: Business Wire)

Each year, USA TODAY High School Sports Awards honors student athletes in communities across the country. This year, 105 regional and statewide awards programs will culminate in one national award show, which will celebrate elite high school athletes, coaches and teams. Those named as the state players of the year for each sport will become honorees in the national award show and will be candidates for awards as the nation’s top athlete in each sport.

“Hosting the USA TODAY High School Sports Awards is such an honor and reminds me of the good old days back when I was on the field,” Michael Strahan said. “I know first-hand that the lessons that come from playing high school sports last a lifetime – so it’s great to be part of something that puts a spotlight on that. There’s nothing like the energy and passion that comes from the high school sports community.”

“It’s truly amazing to hear and see what all these stand-out athletes are doing. They are changing the game and I love to be part of something that gives them some extra time in the spotlight for all their hard work,” Rob Gronkowski said. “And it’s fun to meet these rock stars now, because I know we’ll be cheering for quite a few of them as pros and Olympians in years to come.”

ESPN’s Desmond Howard and Laura Rutledge will emcee the regional award shows, premiering at 8 p.m. EDT June 28 and June 30. Matt James and Tyler Cameron, former Division 1 football players and television personalities, will host red carpet interview segments. Award-winning recording artist DJ Khaled and ESPN’s Charly Arnolt will host the national red carpet segments, where they’ll interview some of the top high school athletes from around the country. The show will feature guests Shaquille O’Neal, Aaron Rodgers, Chipper Jones, Sue Bird, Kevin Garnett, Martin St. Louis, Monica Aldama, Jennie Fince, Laurie Hernandez and more.

Additionally, as part of the U.S Polo Assn. partnership, the show will unveil a new award for the country’s top male and female polo athletes. The national broadcast will showcase stories and highlights of their stellar performances over the last year.

“As this unparalleled sports event gets closer, all of us at U.S. Polo Assn. are getting even more excited by the opportunity to support and recognize these amazing student athletes,” said J. Michael Prince, President and CEO of USPA Global Licensing, which manages the multi-billion-dollar U.S. Polo Assn. brand. “Equally as exciting is the HSSA’s partnership with incredible sports icons, who will not only add maximum star power, but fun as well, to the entire event.”

“We’re thrilled to have some of the most influential and distinguished names in sports join us this year to recognize these athlete's stories, accomplishments and incredible talent,” said Jason Taylor, President, USA TODAY NETWORK Ventures. “As the nation’s largest high school sports recognition program, it's imperative that we continue to expand and welcome new categories to acknowledge outstanding athletic achievements. It’s been an honor to work alongside U.S. Polo Assn. to announce our first-ever national show and honor student polo players.”

State winners will be announced on July 15 on each of the state websites. In 16 states, award shows will premiere at 8 p.m. on their respective sites.

The national awards show will debut on-demand at 8 p.m. EDT on August 5 on USA TODAY News and USA TODAY Sports Wire Channels, available on Roku, Samsung and on most smart televisions, as well as the Sports Awards website.

For show updates, honoree selections, and more, please visit


The USA TODAY High School Sports Awards celebrate the best athletes in regions and states across the country. With 105 programs it is one of the largest high school sports recognition efforts in the country, many of which culminate in first-rate awards shows, featuring top professional athletes. Athletes of the year in each sport are named and other special honors are given, including Male and Female Athlete of the Year, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year and more. Celebrating the spirit of sport is the heart of the USA TODAY High School Sports Awards and is fostered on the pages of our local newspapers and news websites across the USA TODAY NETWORK. For more information, visit


USA TODAY NETWORK Ventures, a division of Gannett Co, Inc., creates impactful consumer engagements and experiences through world-class events, promotions, races, and technology. We strive to exceed expectations, create unforgettable memories, and drive value for our partners while leveraging our reputable institutions, including USA TODAY and more than 250 local media brands. The events and promotions we build inspire pride in local communities and connect local and national businesses with highly engaged audiences driving results from coast to coast and leading the industry. For more information, visit


Lark-Marie Anton

Senior Vice President, Communications

(646) 906-4087

Stephanie Tackach

Senior Director, Corporate Communications

(212) 715-5490

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