Ansonia freshman vaulter Shellhaas follows dad’s lead

Steve Shellhaas owned the oldest track and field record at Ansonia High School, having cleared 14 feet, three inches way back in 1992. Now the Tigers’ vault coach, he figured that mark would fall, just not this quickly.


Steve’s son, Ansonia freshman Brock Shellhaas, surpassed his dad’s standard in the season-opening meet. “We knew it was coming,” Steve said. “As long as it still said Shellhaas on there, I didn’t care.”

On Wednesday at Troy’s Memorial Stadium, Brock continued to make an impressive ascent in the event by winning the Division III regional (14-8).

REGIONAL SCHEDULE: At Dayton’s Welcome Stadium (D-I), Piqua (D-II) and Troy (D-III)

Brock has cleared 15 feet three times in his high school debut season. He missed three times at what would have been a meet-record 15-2 at Troy. He is ranked among the best freshmen vaulters in the nation and will be favored to also win his specialty in next week’s season-ending state track meet at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

“It’s been an amazing ride,” Brock said. “I just have to thank my family, the school and God has blessed me with amazing talent. It’s remarkable. Just unfathomable. It’s a dream come true.”

The top four regional placers in each event advance to the state meet. The 4x800-meter relay was the only running final on Wednesday and there were just a few field event finals. The top semifinal placers in all of Wednesday’s other running events qualified to Friday’s finals.

Steve Shellhaas purchased an indoor tennis barn four years ago in Ansonia and turned it into a year-round indoor pole vault facility. He said about 30 club members vault, including 14 who are competing in this week’s regionals.

Called Ultimate Air, there are two 100-foot runways and pits, a set of high-bar rings and it’s even heated.

“We’re spoiled,” Steve said. “It’s hard to get good, quality jumps if you don’t have a place to jump year round. It’s made a difference in our kids. They’re jumping better, higher and stronger and it’s more time on a pole.”

Brock led an impressive Cross County Conference showing that included Covington junior Jett Murphy (third at 14-4) and Miami East sophomore Blaine Brokschmidt (fourth at 13-8).

Other area boys winners were the Fort Loramie 4x800 relay (8:01.76) by nearly 16 seconds over runner-up Twin Valley South and Botkins senior Josh Miller in the discus (156-3).

The Minster 4x800 girls relay continued an impressive run by winning easily (9:32.20). Second in the D-III state last season, the Wildcats also bested a mostly D-I field earlier this season at the Wayne Invitational. Franklin Monroe senior Nicole Berry set a meet record in winning the shot put (45-0.75).

The Minster 4x800 relay won the D-III regional at Troy's Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Members are Cassie Francis (left), Kaitlynn Albers, Emma Watcke and Madeline Magoto. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

• Mason set a 4x800 girls meet record (9:10.81) and the Comets also won the boys 4x800 relay (8:03.99) during Wednesday’s D-I regional at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium. The only other area girls winner was Troy freshman Lenea Browder in the discus (139-1).

Like Troy, the D-I meet resumes on Friday with all finals.

• The D-II regional is Thursday at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium with field events at 4 p.m. and running events at 5 p.m. It follows the same format as the other regionals with finals in a few boys and girls field events and running finals only in the 4x800 relay. All the other top semifinal placers advance to Saturday’s finals (11 a.m. field events; 12:30 p.m. running finals).

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Alan Holdheide of Fort Loramie High School (right) passes the baton to Jake Rethman and the Redskins won the 4x800-meter relay during the D-III regional track and field meet at Troy’s Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

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