Tyler Rathke is a difference maker.
In just three seasons as the head track and field coach at William Chrisman High School, he has produced three state champion in throwing events — James Bailey in the discus (2016 and 2017) and Daniel Carson in the shot put (2018).
His school was founded in 1888, yet four school record holders have earned their place in the track annals since Rathke arrived — Carson in the shot put (57-11), Jordon Woods in the triple jump (48-1.25), Camryn Holloman in the triple jump (36-10) and Jacque David in the discus (132-1).
And Rathke doesn’t just work his magic during the school year. He has not come down from Cloud Nine after hosting the first Midwest Elite Throws Camp at Chrisman last Tuesday.
More than 75 athletes from sixth through 12th grade took part in the one-day camp that featured some of the best collegiate and prep coaches in the Midwest like Nebraska’s Scott Cappos, UMKC’s Brian Bishop, Hastings College’s Zac Osgood, who coached Rathke during his college competitive days; Rathke’s former coach Dave Schenek of Barton County Community College; and two former All-Americans, Missouri grad Reinhard Van Zyl and Kansas’ Johann Swanpoole.
“It was amazing,” said Rathke, a three-time state champion (2 discus, 1 shot put) at Hays High School in Hays, Kansas, and a four-time All-American in college (one hammer, one discus, two weighted ball throw). “The names of the coaches might not be familiar to most people, but they were the best of the best, and the kids who attended really learned a lot.”
The camp was so successful, coaches who worked it asked Rathke if he would be willing to do satellite camps in Wichita, Kan., and Des Moines.
“If we can work it out, why not!” Rathke said. “I love working with great coaches, because I learn something too. The shot and discus are my passion. They’re what I know best, and I think they are a reason we have had so much success at Chrisman in those two events.
“You need the talent, that’s for sure, but you need to coach the talent and we’ve been able to do that.”