ANSONIA – Brock Shellhaas signed to pole vault for Central Michigan University, a NCAA Division I sports program.
“It is a dream I’ve had for a long time,” Shellhaas said of his Wednesday signing. “I have always wanted to jump Division-I.”
“This is my 23rd year here at Ansonia and it’s the first D-1 athlete that I have seen come out of here,” said Ansonia High School Principal, James Robson Jr. “I’m not saying we haven’t had some good athletes in the past but it makes this incredibly special.”
“Just watching Brock go from eighth grade jumping to where he is at now is just tremendous, just seeing him grow each year,” said Ansonia boys track and field coach Clint Neal. “He is so easy to coach, he is open to anything, he is always trying hard, putting in the work, putting in extra time even after practices, vaulting at the barn – he is amazing.”
Shellhaas, the son of Amy and Steve Shellhaas plans to major in biology and go to dental school following graduation from Central to become a dentist.
The Ansonia senior won the 2018-2019 OHSAA D-III state championship as a junior with a jump of 15’5” following a disappointing run at state with a pulled hamstring his sophomore season where he finished fifth with a jump of 14’4” reaching the podium in the state finals.
“After my sophomore year I didn’t know where I would be with injury but with God and my family I came back,” said Shellhaas. “Ultimately I was able to win state and sign with a Division-I school where I can hopefully progress even more with my academic and athletic career in the pole vault and to be a dentist.”
Not only a member of the Ansonia track and field team, the speedy Shellhaas also had an exceptional football career for the Tigers football program.
“Brock has been a special athlete since he got here,” said Ansonia head football coach and athletic director Matt Macy. “This was always his goal. Very determined young man, great football player and obviously a top notch track and field athlete.”
“I love football,” Shellhaas stated. “That is a sport I am going to miss tremendously. Doing one thing all year round it gets tiring. Having multiple sports it keeps my body fresh, working out different things, keeps my body stronger with different muscles that I wouldn’t normally work with in track that I would work with in football – plus football is a fun sport.”
Brock’s father Steve was an OHSAA state runner for Ansonia in the pole vault and serves as the school’s pole vault coach.
“It’s been a good thing, it’s been a challenging thing,” Steve said of coaching his son. “When you are coach and dad you don’t get away from it but it has been special to spend that time with your son and be able to see him grow, see him mature.”
“The success he has had has been pretty special to share that with him along the way – it is neat,” added Steve. “I am super happy for him and excited for him to have a coach that is not his dad because that will be kind of neat for him to have that opportunity and be able to grow and learn more from somebody else other than his dad.”
“The support of my family, everyone here, my friends, my Ultimate Air family, my dad and Micah (Coblentz) have helped tremendously,” said Shellhaas. “They have put a lot hours in that I will be forever grateful for and just the Ansonia support. Ansonia is a great school and the support they have given me every day has been tremendous.”
Shellhaas has one final season at Ansonia to compete in OHSAA track and field before moving on the Central Michigan.
“I hope I can jump higher this season – I’m not done yet,” said Shellhaas. “I still have goals and hopefully win another state banner. I have a lot of work to do for that though but I am excited to go up to Central.”
“I’ll be teammates with AJ Frens who graduated from Greenville,” added Shellhaas. “Coach Wilson is an excellent coach and I am excited to work with him at Central. He is a four-time Division II National Champion and knows the vault so I am excited to work with him on a daily basis and be up at Central.”
“You can’t ask for a better young man not only on the athletic fields but in the classroom as well,” concluded Robson. “Brock is a leader and he will be sorely missed here at Ansonia but we wish him all the best at Central Michigan. He will make us proud there.”