Even while training indoors, Comets still have means to challenge each other
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — They may be building a new sports complex outside, but Charles City’s track and field program still doesn’t have a resident indoor facility like the Wellness Center in Nashua or the Hoover Fieldhouse at Wartburg College in Waverly.
Instead, the Comets have two gymnasiums and a labyrinth of deserted hallways to train in during the waning winter months.
Good thing there’s an App for that … as in a “Freelap” App.
Last year the Charles City track and field program incorporated the Freelap timing system into its early indoor training regimen. Now with more purchased timing chips, more Comets have the opportunity to track their progress before breaking outdoors.
“When you have a small area of running space, it’s hard to track where you’re at and improvement,” Charles City boys head track coach Ryan Rahmiller said of the system, which — among other things — allows athletes to time their “fly-in” sprints at 20, 30 and 40 yards as well as the recovery times in a confined setting.
“The kids love it,” Rahmiller said. “It not only helps them push themselves, but even compete with each other.”
A little intersquad competition usually doesn’t hurt anyone or any team. Sometimes, it helps teammates reach greater heights. Take the Comet returning state-qualifying high jumpers.
As a freshman last season, Ian Collins set a school record with a clear of 6 feet, 7 inches at the State Track and Field Championships. He was one of four Class 3A competitors who topped off at that height, and was runner-up to Fairfield’s Landon Kooiker by way of total number of misses — arguably, Collins closest of the four jumpers of clearing the next level at 6 feet, 9 inches.
Collins, who’s slightly under 6-feet tall, in part credited his jumping ability to having being matched up with 6-foot-7 Comet basketball teammate Bradley Andrews during scrimmages — as a junior Andrews placed 10th at state in the long jump.
After helping the Comet basketball team undoubtedly lead the Northwest Iowa Conference in slam dunks this past season, both Collins and Andrews were a little off and didn’t place in their event during the Wartburg College High School Indoor Invitational held March 2. But Rahmiller noted that some other Comet athletes have already shown improvement in leaps and bounds.
“(Junior) Zach Graeser had an excellent meet,” Rahmiller said of his hurdler and multiple-distance runner. “He went out for wrestling this season, and he’s much stronger and has grown into a better athlete.”
Rahmiller anticipates a “break-out” season for Graeser, who was part of the Comets’ state-qualifying 4-by-110 shuttle hurdle relay.
Also returning from the shuttle hurdle relay squad are senior John Sibuma, junior Jeremiah Chapman and sophomore Tino Tamayo.
“John (Sibuma) seems to have been with us forever,” Rahmiller said. “He’s going to serve as the foundation for most of our relays.”
At Wartburg College, Charles City got a 10th-place performance in the shot put by junior DJ DeBoest, who threw a personal-best 42 feet, 4 ¼ inches. Charles City senior Mikail Webber, in his first track and field varsity event, threw 40 feet at Wartburg College.
Other top placers for the Comet boys at the Wartburg College HS Invite were the 4-by-200 relay team of Sibuma, Antwone Cooper, Elliott Sinnwell and Cael Bohlen, which placed 10th with a time of 1:41.18; and the 4-by-400 relay team of Graeser, Max Deeter, Malcolm Lopez and Aaron Jensen, which placed 10th with a time of 3:50.44.
“Elliott (Sinnwell) went out for track his sophomore year but didn’t go out last year,” Rahmiller said. “He went out for cross country for the first time this fall, and followed with a great wrestling season. He’s really increased his speed.
“Antwone (Cooper) has had to overcome injuries, so hopefully he can have a healthy season.”
Before competing outdoors, the Comet boys and girls will participate in one more indoor meet at Luther College in Decorah on March 24.
“It seems like every year, no matter what kind of spring we’re having, the weather outside is great during that indoor meet,” Rahmiller said.