Camryn Holloman and track coach Tyler Rathke both arrived at William Chrisman three years ago.
So it should surprise no one that this dynamic duo is helping put the Bears on the prep track and field map.
Rathke has become one of the most respected coaches in the state, while Holloman holds the school record in the triple jump with a leap of 36 feet, 10 inches. She will also compete in the 400 meters and long jump Saturday when the Bears host their first Class 5 sectional meet since Rathke’s arrival.
“Coach Rathke made track cool,” Holloman said. “He made it so cool, everyone wanted to be on the team. It was the cool thing to do, because he loved us as people and made us feel special.
“We aren’t a team to Coach Rathke, we are his family, and it’s a family that loves each other and cares about each other, and I think that’s one reason why we’ve been so successful.”
Rathke, who refuses to take credit for any of his performers’ success, calls Holloman a difference maker.
“Camryn is amazing – an amazing student-athlete, an amazing representative of Chrisman High School and just an amazing person,” Rathke said. “She is a leader. She is a heart-and-soul member of this team who everyone respects and admires.
“When I first met her, I knew she was special. And that first impression turned out to be right.”
The Chrisman boys recently won the Independence City Championship (110.33 points) for the third year in a row, while the girls finished second to a strong Fort Osage team (117-102) and totaled more points than they had in the two previous years.
While his performers praise the young man Blue Springs coach Joe Cusack calls, “Not only one of the best young coaches in the area – one of the best track coaches in the state,” Rathke quickly backs off from center stage and focuses the attention on his Bears family.
“This school has been around a long time,” said Rathke, as the school was founded in 1888 and was originally called Independence School, while the name Chrisman High School was adopted at a new location in 1917, “and we have four young men and women on this team who hold school records.”
Joining Holloman are Jordon Woods, who holds the boys triple jump mark of 47-3.75; Daniel Carson, who has the shot put record of 57-11; and freshman Jacque David, who set the discus mark at 132-1.
“Four – that’s unbelievable,” he continues. “And the sky’s the limit for these kids. They love track, they love Chrisman and we love working with them. It’s special for all of us, and it’s only going to be more, and more special.”
Holloman is a member of the National Honor Society, a member of the Bears volleyball team and she will be the Student Council president this fall.
“I like people, I like to get involved and I love Chrisman,” the 5-foot junior said. “I live here. Chrisman is my second home – just ask my mom. She says I spend more time at Chrisman than I do at home, and she’s probably right.”
Holloman is excited about the direction of not only the track and field program, but the school in general.
“This school is special to me, and I believe that our students, our teachers, our coaches – everyone at our high school – is helping to change the way people look at William Chrisman High School,” she said. “Look at the success we’ve had in football. Look at what Coach Rathke has meant to our track team. People in Kansas City are talking about our coach and our track team, and I didn’t think that would ever happen back when I was a freshman.
“I wanted to make a difference, and so did Coach Rathke. And he got a bunch of kids who felt the same way and we’re making a difference and having so much fun, too. And that’s what’s great – we’re doing what we love, we’re successful and we’ve having fun.
“I am so thankful that I get to come back for one more year. There are times I wish I was coming back two more years, because I am so excited about the future of my high school and this track team.”