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Coach Jessica Shellenberger Honored with USA Field Hockey’s National Coach Award

In her 15 seasons coaching Donegal field hockey, Jessica Shellenberger has led the team to 308 wins, including a 28-1 season in 2018 that culminated in a record fifth-straight District Three championship and a second PIAA championship title, and now, Shellenberger’s efforts are being recognized on the national stage.

In February, Shellenberger was announced as the 2019 USA Field Hockey National Coach Award recipient, an honor given to a coach that "exemplifies the values of sportsmanship, fair play, and healthy competition" and "is dedicated to his/her craft and works tirelessly to make his/her players, fellow coaches, and the field hockey community better” – qualities that Shellenberger has undoubtedly demonstrated throughout her time at Donegal.

“It's surreal. I just kept staring at the email," said Shellenberger in an interview with LancasterOnline. “It's so cool to stand up in a room of your peers and be acknowledged — and these are people who I've admired, people I've asked for assistance."

Shellenberger will have that opportunity on Saturday, March 16, during the USA Field Hockey Summit in Baltimore, MD, that she plans to attend along with her husband and two children.

It is with those two children in mind that the USA Field Hockey National Coach Award will also mark a highlight conclusion to Shellenberger’s Donegal coaching career. While the University of Michigan graduate will continue her role at Donegal as a Health and Physical Education teacher, she will be stepping down from her coaching position to spend more time with her family.

“It will really tough next fall to be in the building and not be the coach,” said Shellenberger to LancasterOnline.

While the future continues to look extremely bright for Donegal field hockey, Shellenberger will be greatly missed in the coaching role by many, as she brought to the field not only knowledge of the sport but a desire to instill greatness and valuable life lessons in her players.

“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,” said Shellenberger when previously asked what she wanted her athletes to take away from the team. “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 a Donegal Field Hockey player and can appreciate what they've accomplished.”

The Donegal Athletic Club undoubtedly appreciates all that Shllenberger has accomplished and looks forward to the continued success of the Indians’ field hockey program.