DARKE COUNTY – Two Darke County track and field athletes who have qualified for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state track and field meet are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Ansonia boys track and field athlete Brock Shellhaas and Greenville girls track and field athlete Sierra Cress.
Shellhaas cleared 14 feet 8 inches during last week’s Division III regional meet in Troy to finish as the regional runner-up and qualify for state. His mark is the second best among Darke County vaulters this season, second only to Greenville’s Ryan Trick.
This is the second consecutive year that Shellhaas has qualified for the OHSAA state track and field meet in the pole vault. As a freshman he cleared 14 feet 2 inches and finished sixth in the state.
Shellhaas has continued to excel this season even though he’s battled a hamstring injury since January.
“Brock, I know he’s had his ups and downs, but he’s kind of facing adversity, which I think will bring the best out of him,” Ansonia boys track and field coach Clint Neal said.
Shellhaas helped Ansonia reach the regional meet in the boys 4×200 meter relay, finishing fourth in the district meet two weeks ago. He also placed in the 110 meter hurdles and helped the Tigers place in the 4×100 meter relay during the district meet.
Cress qualified for state in the Division I girls discus throw with a personal-best mark of 123 feet 11 inches during last week’s regional meet. That mark is the best in Darke County this year.
“Big PR,” Greenville throws coach Matt Levek said. “We hadn’t hit anywhere close to that all year, and kind of the last week before regionals she started putting things together.”
Cress finished fifth in the discus in last year’s regional meet, just barely missing state qualification. But she worked hard and improved this season to become a state qualifier.
“Her first throw of prelims and her first throw of finals were both two of her best of the year, of her career,” Levek said.
Levek expects another strong performance out of Cress this weekend.
“She’s a competitor,” the Greenville coach said. “I think she’ll step up to the challenge.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4312. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.