By Kevin Schrock
Back in 2013 The University of Findlay brought a new chapter into the development of their student section. The SPEM Club at UF had the idea to try to find a way to revitalize the student section, which had been lacking in part years previous. They moved forward with their idea with the thinking that if they could increase the student support at athletic events, it would also increase the athletes’ performances.
It was Jon Shollenberger who actually put together the idea of the “Spillzone.”
“It was just the marketing side of me thinking ‘What could we name an area for students?’” Shollenberger said. “In my head an oil spill is out of control and has to be zoned off, which is what a student section should be. It should be out of control cheering for the Oilers.”
Austin Hoiles, a junior at The University of Findlay, has spent two years attending various sporting events on campus and is also a varsity baseball player. He thinks that the student support has been great in his time here and hopes that he can help keep it that way.
“I know from personal experience as an athlete in high school and college that when you have the support of your fellow classmates it gives you a definite edge during competition,” said Hoiles. “Vice-versa, it also makes it harder for opposing teams to come and play in Findlay when they know that the gym or stadium is going to be filled with opposing fans.”
Shollenberger, who graduated last year, was also instrumental in starting up The Rig, the first ever student-run business on campus, so he is no stranger to big ideas. He seems to think that the student section can grow to be even bigger.
“I think that the idea is there but it will take a group of committed, spirited students to make the Spillzone all that I know it could be.” Added Shollenberger. “If you get the right group of students to get the Spillzone going then you will see more student support at games.”
According to the now Sales Specialist for Cooper Tire, all it takes is those few people to get it started and it could take off.
“People want to have a good time and cheer for their school and friends,” said Shollenberger. “If you get a few doing it religiously then more will follow. That’s how the Spillzone will become an iconic part of University of Findlay Athletics.
Since the development of the Spillzone in 2013 the Oilers have seen a lot of success in their athletic programs. They have seen the Men’s basketball squad capture two straight GLIAC South division titles and saw them slip into the top 25 in the national poll in 2013-14.
The football team also climbed the ranks to reach the top 25 in the 2013 season and had one of their best seasons in recent history that year.
The Oilers are looking forward to an exciting 2015-16 season and look for the Spillzone to have the same kind of success.