COLUMBIA CITY — It’s not yet Thanksgiving and snow will be falling before we know it. That kind of weather doesn’t exactly get people excited about the outdoor high school track season.

But at Columbia City High School, there is plenty to be thinking about when it comes to the girls track team. The school recently named Tyler Kissinger as the new Columbia City girls track head coach.

“I’m excited,” said Kissinger. “It’s good to be back in my hometown and giving back.”

Kissinger is a graduate of Columbia City High School and Ball State University. He ran track for the Eagles and was part of a running program at Ball State. While still in college, he got his first coaching experience as he was hired to coach at Yorktown High School. Kissinger is now a physical education teacher at Little Turtle Elementary School, and coached seventh-grade football this year.

“The day they told me I was board-approved, I was just beyond excited,” Kissinger said. “I feel like everything has led me to this.”

The Eagles have a successful track program every year. Kissinger said it seems the team is always stronger in the distance events. He would like to see the program improve during the off-season in the sprinting and jumping events to round out the strengths of the squad.

Kissinger says it is a little intimidating taking over after a coaching legend like Bob Fahl, who spent decades as head coach of the program. But, he knows how supportive team members and coaches have been in recommending him for the position, and that will make the transition easier. In fact, knowing some of the girls on the team was a big factor in favor of Kissinger.

“He is teaching in our system and he has a good rapport with our kids,” Columbia City athletic director Khelli Leitch said, “and he has a great knowledge for the sport.”

Kissinger also has the support of his fiancee, as he is soon to be married. Now, he can’t wait for spring to roll around so the girls can get outside and get on the track.

“It feels good to be a continuation of the program,” Kissinger said. “I hope to continue that legacy.”

Now, all Kissinger and the Eagles have to do is wait for the season to start. Girls track kicks off at the end of March. Columbia City will face its usual difficult schedule with meets against county rivals Whitko and Churubusco, as well as seeing teams such as Huntington North and Leo in conference events.