By John Burbridge email@example.com
CHARLES CITY — Family. We are Family. We’re all Family, Here.
Sport teams and programs across the world like to fancy themselves as “family” while often including the label in their team mottos.
But for the Charles City boys and girls track programs, keeping it in the family has taken a more literal meaning.
Amanda Rahmiller, who has been the girls assistant coach for the past four seasons, is now the team’s head coach.
“Darren (Bohlen) told me late last year that he was going to step down,” Rahmiller said of the previous girls track head coach. “He wanted to spend more time watching his kids who are getting involved in sports.
“So I applied in January. Then I got the position.”
Rahmiller has been Charles City’s girls cross country head coach for five seasons. In 2017, Rahmiller coached the Comets to a third-place showing at the State Cross Country Championships — a best-ever placing for a Charles City girls XC team.
For the past three seasons, Rahmiller was named a Class 3A At-Large Cross Country Coach of the Year by the Iowa Association of Track Coaches.
“When I was coaching track with Darren, he basically put me in charge of the runners 400 meters and up,” she said.
Amanda’s husband, Ryan Rahmiller, is the head coach for the Comets boys track team as well as for the school’s boys cross country team.
This track season the husband and wife — who are both teachers at Charles City Middle School — and their respective teams will work more closely together and roll more as a single unit.
“We decided to do something different this year with Amanda now the girls head coach,” Ryan said. “Both our teams are going to practice together, and we’re also going to compete together as we scheduled more coed meets.”
With Janae Noonan as Amanda’s assistant and Eric Hoefer as Ryan’s — Josh Dean coaches all throwers — athletes from both squads will receive more tutelage from all of the collective staff.
“And we may mix it up for meets when we’re not competing together,” Ryan said. “Someone from my staff may go to the girls meet; and someone from Amanda’s may go to a boys.”
That’s a much different format from the cross country season where both Comet teams basically trained by themselves.
“It’s a good way for us to get to know each others’ athletes,” said Amanda, who mentioned a runner from Ryan’s cross country and track teams recently came up to her and said, “In all the four years I’ve been here, I never had a chance to talk to you.”
“It also helps some of our boy athletes better understand and appreciate a great girls performance,” Ryan said.
Amanda’s girls team has seven returning letter-winners who are state qualifiers.
Included is Drake Relays qualifier Kiki Connell, who qualified to state last year as a freshman in the 1500- and 3000-meter runs. More recently, Connell participated in the invitation-only Dickinson Relays at the UNI-Dome and placed in the Top 10 in the 3000.
Three-fourths of Charles City’s state-qualifying 4-by-800 relay are back — Marley Hagarty, Sami Heyer and Whitney Martin; and half of the state-qualifying shuttle relay is back — Lynn Hoeft and Alex Litterer.
Junior Mackenzy Bilharz was a state-qualifier as a freshman.
Speaking of which, Amanda is excited about a talented group of ninth-graders which include Lydia Staudt, who was an individual cross country state qualifier.
“That’s one thing good about being middle school teachers here,” Amanda said. “Most of the athletes we get when they reach high school have already come through us as students.”