Rumple leads middle-distance push at WGH

Jimmy Rumple’s junior season was cut short due to a quad injury at the Division I Austintown District Track and Field Meet.

Nonetheless, it was a precursor for the Warren G. Harding middle-distance runner.

This is Rumple’s first full outdoor season, and he seems primed for a big season after running 1:59 in the 800-meter dash at the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches indoor state meet in Akron last month.

“He could compete for a county title, go against (Maplewood’s) Wyatt Hartman for the (Trumbull) County Title,” WGH coach Charles Penny said. “He’s got a really good opportunity to go to regionals and go to state in the 800.

“He could go 48 (seconds) in the quarter (400-meter dash).”

Rumple has trusted in the Raiders’ workouts.

“Coach Penny and the other coaches said I would be a good 800 runner,” Rumple said. “I tried it out and I trust him. They’ve been giving me the workouts and trying to do something the best that I could at it.”

Rumple wants to model himself after Marteze Roper, who placed fifth in the 2010 Division I state 800 – a part of the WGH Division I state team championship. Roper is now a standout middle-distance runner at Kent State University.

“Coach Penny told me (Roper) never wanted to lose at practice,” Rumple said. “He said he hated coach Penny because he put him through such hard work. At an indoor meet at the Kent track, (Roper) said he really worked hard and thanked coach Penny for those hard workouts. He’s running great times right now.”

Roper set a standard for the 800 at WGH.

“There’s a reason why they’ve named it the 800 dash instead of the 800 run,” Penny said. “Those elite 800 guys, they’re running 48 to 49 (second) splits. Those kids can go out and run a 21-second 200 or go up and run a 4:16 mile.

“Marteze Roper has made that a fun event at Warren Harding. He’s shown that you can be a sprinter and not be a 100 to 200-meter kid, be in the 800 and show your versatility, run the 1,600 and go down and run the 200, be on the 4×200, be a quarter (400) to running an open 800. You open the door to a lot of kids.”

Rumple paces a new perception for WGH’s boys track and field team.

“At our school, we don’t have any talented sprinters,” Penny said. “There’s not D.J. Williamsons, no Andrew Zitniks, no Joey Threats or Chris Ruckers or B.J. or Jay Provitts – Division I sprinters we’ve grown accustomed to. There just not there anymore, at least we’re in a dry spell for all of those kids.

“What we’ve done is taken those sprinters and bumped them up to the 800, working on conditioning, working on sprint levels. Now, our 4×800 has the opportunity to break our school record (sitting there since mid 1980s).”

Rumple, junior Marcus Boomer, senior Zavien Bennett and junior Corliss Eggleston have run a good 4×800 so far. They range from running a 1:59 800-meter split to a 2:08.

“We want to win,. We want to win Trumbull County, win districts, compete in regionals and definitely compete in state,” Rumple said. “We’re trying to place as best as we can in state, ultimately.”

As for Rumple, he wants to take the 400 and 800 as far as he can – two races that he has the endurance and foot speed to run.

“It goes hand in hand. I got the speed from the 400, then again I have a little more endurance so I can do the 800,” Rumple said. “He puts me through intense training so when I get to the 300 mark. I really kick it in and I have enough save up to push through that last 100 and finish it strong.

“The 800 is the hardest race out of all of them. Last year I did the 400 and I thought that was the hardest race. My first time running the 800, it totally killed me. It’s definitely the hardest race now, in my opinion. The 800 is tough. You have to train for it. You have to keep fighting throughout the whole race.”