ANSONIA – Ansonia 2020 graduate Brock Shellhaas, the 2019 OHSAA D-III State Champion pole vaulter his junior season has been delt two devistating blows to an impressivel high school pole vault career that includes signing to vault for NCAA Division-I Central Michigan University.
Not only did Brock lose out on his senior high school season and a chance at a second State Championship but gone is the opportunity for an athletic scholarship at the Michigan school.
“I heard Tuesday morning – two Tuesdays ago they called us into a virtual meeting with the team and the (Central Michigan) athletic director told us due to budget restrictions they decided to cut the men’s track and field program,” Brock stated.
“My first thought … I was a little in shock and a little confused of what to do at the moment. I knew I could continue my academic career at Central but I want to continue my athletic career as well so as soon as that was over I started to talk to coaches and try to get my name out there because it is May already and it’s late.”
“Right out of the getgo I was shocked, I had no idea what I was going to do,” continued Brock. “I prayed about it and talked to my family. I knew there is an underlying reason God has for me and my time and why I shouldn’t be at Central. It’s hard to look at now. I know in the future I’ll be where I am supposed to be and I’ll be set up how I’m supposed to be set up.”
Steve Shellhaas, Brock’s father serves as the pole vault coach for the Ansonia Tigers as well as instucting many area pole vaulters at the family’s Ultimate Air facility outside Ansonia.
“I definitely am not frustrated with the coaches at Central,” said Steve. “I am frustrated with the school on the lateness of cancelling, that is my biggest thing. Give these kids a chance. Everything Brock did and worked hard for is for naught. His GPA, his ATCs, his leadership, everything he did to put himself in position for scholarships and college have been taken away because we are now past that point – that is the only thing that I feel horrible for.”
“All that hard work in now for naught because he is not going to have a chance to compete for scholarships or anything because it’s all past that point. That is my only frustration with the school is the time – the end of May, first of June, it is harsh on these kids, that is horrible.”
“He is just going to have to overcome but he had all four years of his life planned, where he was going to be, what he was going to do, now it’s all changed instantly,” Steve added. “Now we’re in phase two, plan B.”
Shellhaas has now turned his attention to the University of Cincinnati, Purdue University and Indiana State University, all NCAA Division-I athletic programs.
“Those are my top three right now,” Brock shared. “I talked to all the coaches. Unfortunaly in May a lot of teams have already used their athletic money for the year because its May and they have their teams figured out.
“Unfortunately where ever I go it’s going to be hard to get any money this first year because teams have already alocated their money,” continued Brock. “Right now it is a big decision acedemiclly what money I can get and what is the best fit to where I want to be to continue my acedemic career as well. That is what is really important to me as well because I want to be a dentist.”
Shellhaas has no thoughts of Redshirting his freshman season to extend his college past graduation.
“My goals are to get in and out in for years and I want to jump four years at the college level,” Brock stated. “I want to get all the experience I can but at the end of the day my main goal is to get my degree.”
“Having and trusting your faith – your faith doesn’t grow unless you are tested,” said Brock’s father. “That is how you develop your faith. I listened to a pastor on line and he said ‘you don’t get pecs without the pushups’ so you know your faith doesn’t grow without some testing. This will definitely grow his strength as God has a plan for him.”
“It’s hard when you don’t see it right away but he’s going to end up in a place that he’s supposed to end up and it will all work out but just a little disheartning at first,” added Steve. “Brock is going to end up in a better place and I have been proud of him. He has shown a lot of maturity through this, it is definetley dissapointing but he is taking it better that most.”
“It took a lot of prayers,” Brock concluded. “I know there is a reason for it all to happen and I know God has a plan for me in the end.”