COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Longtime Realtor Rusty Shealy knows the value of a good piece of property. So after months of searching, he jumped at the opportunity to purchase a home with 4.5 wooded acres, plenty of space to teach youngsters everything he knows about his favorite sport.
Shealy’s wise investment at 121 Crockett Road, more specifically, his investment of coaching wisdom into the lives of hundreds of pole vaulters over the past 17 years, has returned an estimated $1 million in college scholarships for his athletes.
Shealy’s backyard facility is the place where athletes from the Southeastern United States and around the nation receive “The Unfair Advantage!” in their quest for greatness. In fact, Shealy Athletics vaulters won 6 South Carolina High School State Championships in 2013!
It’s a fitting tribute that Coach Shealy and some of his high school vaulters appear on the April 2014 cover of Vaulter Magazine. His list of outstanding vaulters is as impressive as it is long.
In 2013, Coach Shealy was the recipient of the prestigious Jeff Truman Memorial Pole Vault Summit–Ship, an all-expenses paid trip to the Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada, where the world’s elite coaches and vaulters honored him as one of the sport’s great coaches.
Coach Shealy was nominated for the award by veteran international pole vault “guru” David “DJ” Johnston, who wrote: “[Rusty’s] record for taking TOTAL beginners to national champions is unprecedented.”
Shealy’s athletes approach the sport with the same drive and determination as storybook heroine Maggie Steele, the gritty Kansas farm girl in the novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, who overcomes tragedy and, with hard work, dedication and great coaching, soars to new heights as a pole vaulter.
“It’s a long way from Grain Valley, Kansas to Columbia, South Carolina, but Shealy Athletics is the kind of place where Maggie would feel right at home,” said Maggie author Grant Overstake. “It’s a happy, positive place where dreams take flight and real-life vaulters like Maggie are vaulting over the moon and into the stars.”
Overstake has discovered a kindred spirit in Coach Shealy, whose passion for pole-vaulting is out of this world. The author was delighted when Coach Shealy stepped up to support the effort to turn the popular novel into an audiobook. In fact, Rusty Shealy Pole Vault Club pledged five 3-Day Summer Vault Camp slots, valued at $425, for vault fans who contribute $375 to Maggie’s Audiobook Campaign.
Rusty Shealy Pole Vault Camps are the place for vaulters who want to be the best they can be. Coach Shealy’s camps are a great place for new vaulters to get off to the best possible start. Experienced vaulters will be amazed at the difference slight adjustments can make with great coaching.
In addition to great coaching and plenty of pole-vaulting, Rusty Shealy Campers have loads of fun. Watch this video from the 2013 camp!
So far, one of Shealy’s athletes has jumped at the opportunity to reserve a discounted camp spot, making it possible for narrator Tavia Gilbert perform and produce Maggie Vaults Over the Moon on audiobook. Their contribution to the campaign helped take the first phase of the campaign over the top, covering Tavia’s expenses, and lifting the sport of pole-vaulting to a new audience.
“Having Maggie in audio form will be a tremendous tool for our athletes,” Coach Shealy said. “Many travel two to three hours each way for a two hour practice. This will be a great opportunity to listen to the audio version on practice days, preparing them mentally as they embark on their own epic quest. I am excited and eager to hear it myself.”
The crowdfunding campaign, which ends Monday, March 31st, is now focused on raising funds to repay the silent investor from the pole vault community who made it possible for the paperback version of the story to be independently published. Without the support from Maggie’s biggest fan, there would be no Maggie Vaults Over the Moon.
There are still four discounted pole-vault camp slots available at Shealy Athletics. The camps include meals and lodging and will be held on multiple start dates in June and July. Of course, you don’t have to buy a camp to make a difference in the campaign. For example, you’ll receive the audiobook download for a gift of $25 or more.
Anything you can give will be great. But please, don’t wait. Here’s the link to the campaign site.
Additional sponsors for the 30-day event include: Artist Phillip Carrero, Dial Athletics, Fuzion Athletics, Gill Athletics, Raise the Bar Pole Vault Club, Tailwind Pole Vault Club, Texas Pole Vault Club at Elitz Sports and Vaulter Magazine.
About Coach Rusty Shealy
Rusty Shealy is owner of Shealy Athletics, and Director of Rusty Shealy Pole Vault. Prior to that, Coach Shealy had great success as the pole vault coach at the University of South Carolina, at Brookland Cayce High School in Cayce, SC, and as Director of Carolina Extreme Pole Vault. He was a self taught high school and collegiate vaulter (one year) with a 14’ 11” PR.
He began coaching vaulters in 1998. In the first year he had one athlete make it to the SCHSL State Championships, and two athletes qualified for the USATF Junior Olympic Nationals in Seattle. The trip changed his life forever.
The vaulters that Rusty coaches have been his biggest inspiration. As their confidence develops and self esteem grows… the positive difference that is made in their lives, and in their future, is what it is all about. It makes Coach Shealy happy to know that he is involved in something bigger than himself, doing what he was born to do… and counts his blessings every day.
Coach Shealy’s biggest influence vaulting has been all of the great pole vault coaches that have so graciously shared their knowledge, and continue to do so.
“The day you think you know it all is the day you stop growing as a coach,”he said.
Coach Shealy’s ‘Hall of Fame’ Vaulters
This is only a short list of vaulters that Coach Shealy has helped to better their vaulting and enhance their lives. In SC, many of the boys and girls school records, as well as region meet records, have been set by his athletes. Too many to include here, but all earned just the same.
Spencer Stephens was Coach Shealy’s first and second national champion, 1999 (15’ 11”) and 2000 (16’ 6”) USATF Junior Olympic Nationals. The most extraordinary athlete Coach Shealy has ever coached. He is now working as a trapeze artist in Seattle.
His son Chase Shealy vaulted 17’ 1” in high school and even opened up in one meet at 17’, clearing it his first attempt. He was the first high school vaulter over 17’ at both NSSF indoor and outdoor high school nationals. In 2004 as a freshman at Cuesta College in California, Chase was the #1 ranked USA Junior vaulter, #1 ranked junior college vaulter, #7 World Junior with a season best 17’ 7”.
Sandi Morris set the SCHSL State Meet Record in 2010. She was also the 2010 USATF Junior Olympic National Champion with a jump of 13’ 3.5”. In 2011 as a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill she vaulted 14’ 1.75”. She finished #2 at 2011 USATF Junior Nationals, and was Silver Medalist at the 2011 Pan-American Junior Championships. Now a junior at Arkansas, Sandi finished 4th at the 2014 USATF Indoor Nationals with a soaring vault of 14-feet, 9.5 inches!
Mitch Greeley, SCHSL State Meet Record 16’ 9”. In addition to being on the World Youth Team, in college he was a part of “Team USA” for the 2005 World Junior Championships, as well as the 2008 NACAC Under 23 Track and Field Championships competing in Mexico where he was the Silver Medalist. He was a 2008 US Olympic Trials Qualifier. Mitch is currently living and training in Europe with his wife, Nicole Buchler, who is the Swiss National Pole Vault Record Holder.
Maddie Aune of Beaufort HS was a 12’ 6” sophomore in 2012. In 2011 as a freshman she had a 12’ PR. She is already a two time SCHSL AAAA State Champion, as well as the 2011 USATF Youth Athletic National Championships Silver Medalist, and 2011 USATF Junior Olympic Nationals Bronze Medalist (tie).
Sarah Lee of Wando HS was a 12’ 4” sophomore in 2012. She was the 2011 Youth Athletic National Champion, 2011 USATF National Junior Olympic Bronze Medalist (tie), as well as the 2012 USATF Junior Olympic National Championships Silver Medalist.