Comet track team clears path for outdoor season

Press photo by John Burbridge Charles City senior Gavin Connell and Charles City head track and field coach Ryan Rahmiller, as well as other members of the Comet boys track team, worked to clear the snow off the high school track last week.
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City senior Gavin Connell and Charles City head track and field coach Ryan Rahmiller, as well as other members of the Comet boys track team, worked to clear the snow off the high school track last week.

By John Burbridge sports@charlescitypress.com

CHARLES CITY — The Charles City boys track team had an easy day last Thursday.

“This is what it was like four years ago,” said the team’s head coach Ryan Rahmiller, showing a saved cell-phone photo of the team shoveling nearly a foot-and-a-half of snow to clear a running path on the high school track.

“So it could be worse.”

Nonetheless, there was still a good base of snow covering the track last week. Even with an army of shovel toting tracksters heading out to tackle a massive snow removal job after their weight-room training session, it looked like they wouldn’t get done until spring actually arrived.

“If we can get it to where the sun could shine on he black surface, the remaining snow should melt away,” Rahmiller said.

That is if another snow isn’t in the forecast.

Somehow, the makeshift crew cleared all eight lanes along the front stretch to where they could could work on relays, a path encircling the track for middle and long distance runners, and the throwing platforms in less than an hour.

The team also utilized a snow blower … something not always used during the pre-spring break ritual … so that dropped a little time from season’s before.

After several indoor meets ahead for the Northeast Iowa Conference Indoor Meet next Monday (March 20) at Wartburg College, Rahmiller says he’s “very happy of where we’re at right now.”

“I feel like we’re well ahead of where we were at this point last year,” he said. “Our 4-by-200 relay recently ran a 1:40 indoors. We didn’t have a relay reach that time until late in the season.”

The Comets have lost some state qualifiers due to graduation, including long jumpers Brandon Bluhm and Jaden Foster, who were consistent “20-20” men in terms of long jump flights traveled.

“We also lost one of our top sprinters (Zion Jordan) as well as Adam Stewart, who was a versatile runner who meant so much for our team,” Rahmiller said. “We’ve got a fairly young team … it’s going to be fun to see them develop.”

There are some veterans — most notably senior Gavin Connell.

A four-time state qualifier in cross country, Connell is still looking for his first track state berth.

“That’s something he has been chasing for a long time,” Rahmiller said. “Gavin is a much different guy going into his final season. I think his mind and focus are in a much better place.”

During one of the indoor meets, Connell ran a 3,200 in 10 minutes, 27 seconds, which is just 18 seconds off his best time last season.

“We expect a lot of good things out of Mason Deeter,” Rahmiller said of the junior, who also was a state-qualifier in cross country.

“We’ve got young runners like Austin Connerly and Antwoine Cooper really coming along,” Rahmiller said.

One area Rahmiller is really excited about is his hurdlers, in particular the shuttle hurdle relay team of junior Dylan Koresh, juniors John Sibuma and Elliott Sinnwell, and freshman Jeremiah Chapman.

“It’s a veteran crew that added a very talented freshman,” Rahmiller said.

Among the top throwers for the Comets are junior Ryan Zuspan, sophomore Wyatt Stevenson and DJ Deboest.

“Our throwing coach (Josh Dean) does a great job with both the boys and girls,” said Rahmiller, who is also assisted by Eric Hoefer and Noah Robbins.

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