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Charles City’s gym space used to its utmost

Charles City’s gym space used to its utmost

It’s something you can see most mornings during the school week.

The sun isn’t even showing signs of rising when the girls cross from an empty parking lot to Charles City High School’s dark entry. It’s about 5:30 a.m. and they are bundles of winter coats, backpacks and stocking caps.

Some light is coming from the kitchen on the other side of the commons as they enter and head to the gym for basketball practice.

Most go into their locker room, but some head to the stage ledge across Comet Gym to unpack themselves. Their coaches are off to the side talking. Head coach Danielle Rippentrop gestures to assistant coach Dan Caffrey, extending her hands high above her head and block an imaginary ball, I think.

Soon, the coaches move to the players waiting on the stage and start taping ankles. Other girls file out of the locker room in their black practice uniforms. Some have sandles on their sock feet, carrying their basketball shoes over to the stage. The stage fills as they tie their shoes.

Players empty the metal rack of basketballs and begin their warm up routines, each juggling a ball behind their back, between their legs, over their heads, as music starts to play on the PA system.

There are smiles and chatting. Blurry eyes are a bit wider and practice starts. School cooks not too far away cook breakfast.

has one gymnasium to share between the boys and girls basketball teams. The girls from freshmen to seniors practice together mostly in these morning sessions. The boys practices are in the afternoon for the varsity. Underclassmen go into the evenings.

The players — there are 63 of them according to the posted rosters (20 girls and 43 boys) — deserve a lot of credit for the schedules they deal with.

Middle School’s four basketball teams also share one gymnasium with each other and sometimes the high school teams. That whole mix has the middle schoolers heading to gymnasiums in Lincoln and Washington elementary schools.

also shows up early at the high school, practicing in the commons room, pushing back tables and chairs to make room.

of thing “we’ve always done” here in Charles City. The new middle school will add a little more gym space, but not quite enough to make difference.

Contact Managing Editor Chris Baldus at [email protected]

Chris Baldus

Managing Editor

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