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Meet the Coaches: Jessica Shellenberger, Field Hockey Coach

When Jessica Shellenberger graduated from Warwick High School in Lititz, PA in 1999, she had been named the high school’s very first All American field hockey player—which helped her earn a full-ride athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan. While at Michigan, Shellenberger was an All Big Ten selection, an All American and, in 2001, a national champion.

After graduating from Michigan in 2004, Shellenberger joined the staff at Donegal as a Health and Physical Education teacher and as the varsity field hockey coach. Since then, she’s led the team to nine section titles, five District III titles and, in 2016, the PIAA state title.

Shellenberger’s contributions to Donegal Athletics have been recognized and appreciated, not only by the students and staff at Donegal, but also throughout the district, state and even nationally. The mother of two was named the Lancaster Lebanon Field Hockey Coach of the Year in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2017; the Lancaster Newspaper’s Coach of the Year in 2008, 2009 and 2015; and the TopOfTheCircle.com US Field Hockey Coach of the Year in 2016.

When not coaching and teaching at Donegal, Shellenberger continues to play herself, and, this past summer, she was the leading scorer for the Over 35 Women’s National Team in the Masters World Cup in Barcelona, Spain.

Q & A with Jessica Shellenberger

Q: Why is community support important for Donegal Athletics?

The girls love seeing a sea of green in the stands. Our following is very special to us. Seeing members of the community who maybe don't have a direct tie to our team but love watching us play is so great. We love seeing the same people year in and year out in the stands; it's awesome.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a coach?

Spending time with these young women. We have so much fun at practice; just being together and laughing is great. It's a special bond that I've always cherished.

Q: What has been your best moment as a coach?

When the girls come back to see me or support the team. Getting to see them go on and be successful in life, find love, start careers and start families is so special. You can't beat it.

Q: What’s your philosophy on coaching?

The girls have high expectations for themselves, so my role is to help them get to where they want to go. We don't really take “days off” or short cuts. Hard work is non-negotiable in all that we do. We never want to leave the field or a game feeling like we didn't do everything in our power to win every ball or challenge. The girls work hard day in and day out and their success on the field is a tribute to that.

Q: What makes Donegal Athletics so special?

We are so proud. We love our kelly green. We're proud to wear the green and white and step off the bus and walk onto the pitch. People see us coming and go, "whoa, there they are." That's pretty powerful. I'm proud to coach at Donegal and be a part of something that is so revered.

Q: What do you want your athletes to take away from being on your team?

Do your best, every day, in all that you do. Never be satisfied. Always strive to be more or do more. Give back. Love hard. Take risks. Be confident. Be successful. I hope that they learn life lessons that will serve them well later in life. I hope that they're proud of their experiences as Donegal Field Hockey players and can appreciate what they've accomplished.