The Barn

From the Sidelines

If you head north out of Greenville on State Rte.49, cross St. Rte. 47, and turn right on Washington Road, about a half mile or so on your right you will see a barn.  Nothing about it is extraordinary, but if you stop when cars are there you will find probably the last thing you ever thought of inside.

“The Barn” is the home of Ultimate Air Pole Vaulters, State Qualifiers, and State Champions, and a Greenville Pediatric Nurse Practitioner is its brainchild.

Steve Shellhaas graduated from Ansonia in 1992.  That is the year he was the state runner-up in the pole vault.

Steve went to school at the University of Cincinnati, graduated in 1998 and started working for Family Health here in Greenville in 1999.  He still works there, but his passion, along with his family, is pole vaulting.

I asked Steve what got him interested in pole vaulting and he said growing up he lived by the Phillipi family, and their son who was 4 years older got him started.

When Steve married Amy Light (a young lady who I used to bounce on my knee once in a while, as she reminded me!) their son started getting interested in what dad used to do.

So, Steve went online, found a pole vault pit in Tennessee, bought it, and set it up in their side yard so his son could practice.

In 2014, Steve and friend Micah Coblentz an assistant coach for track at Greenville, saw the need for instructing young people who wanted to learn to pole vault, and founded “The Barn”.  They started out with just one vault pit, but now it has two. It is really something to see!

On Thursday night, January 20th, Gaylen Blosser and I drove up to the Barn so I could check it out for myself.  When we pulled in there were 18 cars setting there, as Steve was having practice for the “Ultimate Air Club”, their official name, for pole vaulters.

We went inside, and to my surprise there were students from, Franklin Monroe, Russia, Minster, Ansonia, West Milton, Tri–County North and Troy practicing on both pits.

“The Barn”, like the Academy, is for anyone who wants to become a better athlete at their sport.  Steve and Micah will help them all, and I watched as both kept their eyes on the students, and helped them with each vault.

I watched as Steve saw every trip down the track, even as I talked to him, and noticed every detail of every vaulter and praised and instructed each vaulter.   It is truly a labor of love for him.

Steve, still looks like a pole vaulter and his passion for the sport is unquestioned.  The practice was from 7 to 9 and I saw no student who did not take full advantage of the opportunity Steve and Micah have given them, they seemed passionate too!

Success is the hallmark of “The Barn”.  State qualifiers and State Champions all hail from “The Barn”, this middle-of-nowhere place, this indiscript barn along a county road,that turns out good athletes and State Champions.

Knowing how Steve and Micah are, they also help turn out good people.  In 2019, “The Barn” had a banner year with 4 State Champions hailing from their facility.

Riley Hunt from Greenville set the State Record in Pole Vaulting for Ladies in Division I that still stands today, winning the state Championship as well. Boys Division 1 State Champion Dalton Shepler from Butler in Montgomery County, Division 2 State Champion Blaine Brockschmidt from Miami East, and Division 3 State Champion Brock Shellhaas from Ansonia, all are products of “The Barn”!

That is success that is hard to match!  I am sure when Brock won the State Championship, Steve and Amy were probably beside themselves with pride, all the hours and hard work had finally paid dividends!

I have known Steve and Amy Shellhaas, along with Micah Coblentz, a long time.  They are truly good, Christian people.  They work hard, and take an interest in their families, and the students they come in contact with.

With people like them working with young people and making them the best they can be in their sport, our youth will uphold the high standards they have learned, and have set in place for success, and for their future.  That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines. P.S.- thanks to Gaylen Blosser for the photo’s!

 

A pole vaulter makes a jump at Ultimate Air at "The Barn" outside Ansonia. (Gaylen Blosser photo)
Steve Shellhaas (right front) and Micah Coblentz (rear) instruct at "The Barn." (Gaylen Blosser photo)
Massive amount of poles line the wall as pole vaulters wait their turn to jump at Ultimate Air. (Gaylen Blosser photo)
Amy Shellhaas and Michael Stegall share a moment at "The Barns" home to pole vaulting's Ultimate Air outside Ansonia. (Gaylen Blosser photo)
A pole vaulter races down the track for a jump at "The Barn." (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Mike Stegall / Correspondent

Mike Stegall is a GHS alum and played on the Green Wave's only undefeated football team. Served 27 years as an OHSAA football official and currently serves as a Darke County Commissioner

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