JEFFERSON CITY – Tyler Rathke is creating something special with his William Chrisman High School track and field teams.
The third-year coach, who could pass for a high school student, took two boys to state and each won a gold medal – Jordon Woods in the triple jump, with school record 48 feet, on Friday, and Daniel Carson in the shot put, with a heave of 58 feet, 6.5 inches on Saturday to help the Bears finish 10th as a team with 24 points.
The Bears had three girls team athletes head to state and one set a personal best in the pole vault (sophomore Reana Lagrone, 10-0) but did not medal in a tough field, while junior Camryn Holloman medaled in the triple jump (36-8) and freshman sensation Jacque David medaled for the second day in a row, with a 129-5 throw in the discus to finish fourth Saturday after taking sixth in the shot put on Friday.
“There isn’t a better young coach in the state than Tyler Rathke,” said Blue Springs coach Joe Cusack, whose Blue Springs boys brought home a team trophy for the seventh year in a row with a third-place tie with Kirkwood. “There might not be a better overall coach than Coach Rathke. He is so passionate his athletes, and he has a great knowledge of the sport. Chrisman is so lucky to have him.”
Woods, a senior who tore his ACL his junior year and had to sit out the track season after finishing second at state as a sophomore, relished his team’s success at this year’s state meet.
“This was an amazing meet,” Woods said. “You know, when Coach Rathke came to Chrisman, he looked so young – younger than some of the guys on the team – and we’re wondering, ‘What does this young guy know?’
“He knows everything! He is the best coach. He helped me get a scholarship to Pittsburg State and I owe him so much.”
Carson, one of the most highly recruited football players in the history of Eastern Jackson County, said he remained at Chrisman this semester, rather than going to the University of Texas, because of his loyalty to Rathke.
“I wanted to with a gold medal for him and for the team,” said Carson, who won the shot put after a fourth-place finish in the discus on Friday. “Coach Rathke is a very special coach. He cares so much about all his athletes. He cares about us as people, not just track team members.”
Holloman, who will be the William Chrisman student council president this fall, was thrilled with her state medal.
“I finally got that medal,” said Holloman, who made it to the finals in the long jump but finished ninth, “and it feels even better than I thought it would. We all owe Coach Rathke and all the coaches on our team so much.”
David wrapped up her first state meet with a fourth-place showing in the discus.
“I feel so amazing,” David said. “I came to state and I didn’t choke, and that’s because Coach Rathke gave me so much confidence and had me so prepared. I can’t wait to see what happens the next three years.”