By John Burbridge email@example.com
CHARLES CITY — You know there’s one of those fitness watches that tells you when to inhale and exhale.
It’s a wonder we were able to breathe without it.
Cynicism aside, it behooves one to keep up with current or cutting-edge technology for the sake of not being left behind.
Or left back in the pack during a 1,600-meter run.
“It’s something we’ve introduced to our program this season,” Charles City boys track and field coach Ryan Rahmiller said of Freelap timing system, which uses microchip technology and wireless transmitters that can set up various distances apart.
It can be used to time sprints, splits, tempo, starts out of the block, long-jump approaches …
“You can easily track improvement in a variety of areas,” Rahmiller said. “Sometimes kids need to see their improvement … see what needs to be improved.”
With the weather keeping practices indoors, Rahmiller says that the Freelap timing system has come in handy as it can time short takeoff sprints of 15 to 20 yards performed in the gym.
“We normally couldn’t accurately time our athletes until we started practicing outdoors,” Rahmiller said.
The Comet boys team had one state qualifier last season with 2018 graduate Gavin Connell, whose strong finish in the 1,600 run at the state qualifying meet earned an at-large berth. It was a career-long quest for Connell, who was a four-time state qualifier in cross country but had to wait until his senior season before earning a T&F state berth.
At the end of the qualifying meet, Rahmiller was hopeful that the shuttle hurdle relay team of Elliott Sinnwell, John Sibuma, Dylan Koresh and Jeremiah Chapman would also earn a ticket to Des Moines with an at-large bid.
“But they just missed out,” Rahmiller said as Chapman, Koresh and Sibuma are back this season.
The Comets have a couple of state cross country qualifiers back this season — Mason Deeter and Nick Litterer. Both seniors will continue their athletic careers in college with Deeter running for North Iowa Area Community College and Litterer swimming for University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.
“They’re going to be part of our 4-by-800 relay again,” Rahmiller said of Deeter and Litterer.
Also returning is senior Ryan Zuspan, who is one of Charles City’s more accomplished milestone reachers in the weight room.
“He’s going to be one of our top throwers and long jumpers,” Rahmiller said of Zuspan.
Rahmiller said he’s pleased that two starters from the varsity basketball team decided to go out for track this year — senior Colton Slinger … “He’s going to be one of our sprinters,” Rahmiller said — and junior Bradley Andrews … “As you may imagine, he’s going to help us in the high jump,” Rahmiller said of 6-foot-7 Andrews.
Rahmiller is also excited about a talented group of freshman that includes Tino Timayo, who was a top placer in the shot put at last week’s indoor meet at Wartburg College, Cael Bohlen and Ian Collins.
This track season, Ryan’s wife Amanda Rahmiller has taken over the girls program.
“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.”