Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school team set up camp at Concordia University yesterday to race in the Griffin Invite, hosted by the Washington County Homeschool and Ozaukee Christian teams. The sun was out and the winds were calm. It ended up being much warmer than expected, and the lake views of the course were stunning. We were one of 15 teams on hand to soak up the views and race the 3000 meter course.

Our 6th and under girls lined up in box 3 for surprisingly the smallest race of the day. Bedalia Radtke cruised through the course in 14:13 to place 8th overall. She ran 15 seconds behind 7th and well ahead of 9th and never really had to push herself too hard, although I would have liked her to. Maryana Anderson stayed steady through her longest course to date, and hit the finish in 12th place with a 15:07. She looked good at the end when she was pushed. Charline Radtke got out OK, but then did not have her best this time out. She ended up winning the 16th place ribbon with a 15:45. Andrea Chu handled the 3k distance pretty well and placed 24th. Hellena Hacker sped up at the finish to claim the last top-25 ribbon. Her 16:49 time showed she struggled some. Talia Kostrzewa looked good out there running with the bigger girls. She just missed a ribbon with her 27th place finish. Rhapsody Kostrzewa seemed to be having some issues with her clothes and never could get up to top speed this time. I don’t think the distance bothered her which is encouraging. Overall the girls were a close third, 11 points behind both teams in front of us. I think if we had run our best we would have been right up there with the leaders. It was not our day.

The big race of the day was the 6th and under boys, with 70 athletes lined up. Seka Kostrzewa went out with the leaders as usual, but the field turned out to be very tough, and Seka held on for a 10th place finish with a 12:32. That put him on the medal stand. Andrew Anderson paced with Josiah Chu through the first mile, but then made a big move down the back stretch and was seen coming back pacing right behind Seka. Andrew ended up 11th, and his time of 12:35 was fantastic. Expect him to be on the medal stand soon, possibly later this week. Josiah Chu gave us a third runner in the top 15 with his gutsy 13:00 effort. Ephraim Radtke came in fast and put claim to the last ribbon with his 25th place effort. The boys were really posting some great times.(Compare Ephraim’s 13:49 with our girls). Noah Caspers paced himself well and was able to push up the score on all but two teams as our 5th. He took 41st with a 14:47. The boys ended up 2nd overall, 18 points ahead of 3rd. Just the one big public school team on hand was ahead of us. The boys really ran well.

The bigger than expected 7th and 8th grade girls race was next, and it ended up being especially competitive. Angela Walters got into a quick pace through the first mile, and then gave great effort through the back half to take 12th overall with a very nice 13:50 time. She even collapsed at the end to make sure we knew how hard she ran. Julia Kowalinski cruised through the picturesque course in 14:26. That put her in 17th place as she continues to run well. Grace Caspers had a much better day and got through the course in 14:47 for 21st. We needed her to stay closer to Julia and she got the job done. Mary LeSac had her best race of the year as she won the 24th place ribbon with a 15:01. The times were great. Mary Claire Egan has been practicing really well and she almost has the confidence now to keep running. She was caught walking near the end, but then she took off and had a great finish to move up to 34th. She is very close to a very big race. Natalie Radtke had a good first mile, but then slowed over the back stretch. She had an 18:46. In the team scores, the girls ended up 4th in a very tough race. We have no regrets as our four scorers all had very good times and did not have much left when they finished. Well done.

We only had two in the 7th and 8th grade boys race, but they came up big. Nathanael Chu moved up to 3rd through the first mile, and then almost moved up another spot before the end. Nathanael clocked in with a blistering 11:58. Wow! Erik Anderson ran in a big pack behind Nathanael before hitting the back stretch. When he emerged coming out of the woods on the way back, we saw him pacing behind Nathanael with no one all that close behind him. What a back loop! Erik hit the finish in 12:05 to put his claim on the 4th place medal. These guys look ready for some championship racing for sure.

Thanks to Concordia University for setting up the course. Thanks to WCHSA for inviting us to race. Thanks to Grace Caspers and Julianna Caspers for passing out the bib numbers. Thanks to all the parents who made the drive, found the course, and helped get everyone shoes tied. Thanks to Jodi LeSac who was our photographer. She got us some very nice photos you will want to check out. Now our thoughts move ahead to Saturday’s big Homeschool Championship race in Jackson. With the whole team is on the schedule it is going to be so much fun. Everyone stay healthy and stay fast until then.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school cross country team was up at Kettle Moraine Lutheran a week later than planned, but it was worth the wait as the weather was perfect and the course mostly dry. Many teams could not fit the rescheduled date into their schedule, so the meet would be much smaller this year. But after some of us did some raspberry picking, we got ready to race the other 19 teams on hand, and then we had our usual big contingent staying for the fun run at the end. The daylight was dwindling as the big day of racing ended.

The 2500 meter Open JV girls race was first. Maryana Anderson got off to a descent start, but then after coming up the big hill she moved ahead of a whole pack of girls to finish 7th overall. That was impressive. Andrea Chu ran a smart, steady race to take 29th out of the 93 racers. Talia Kostrzewa made a big move up the hill on the back stretch of the soccer field and came in just 9 seconds behind Andrea. She looked good. Mary Claire Egan needed some coaxing to keep going, but was next runner in after Talia and gave us a fourth girl in the top 34. Natalie Radtke ran well again and gave the girls enough runners to get a team score. They placed 3rd. Very well done.

We only ran four in the Open JV boys race so they would be running for good individual results. Seka Kostrzewa went out with the leaders and stayed top-5 the whole way thus assuring himself a top-5 medal. Ephraim Radtke took off over the last loop and cracked the top 10. I really like his 10:54 2500 meter time. Martin Wichgers was 30th out of 85 as he continues to impress. He is one to watch. George Wichgers paced out a little slow, but showed us some speed as he passed a few before the finish.

The varsity girls were next up running the longer 2 mile course. Bedalia Radtke was our first runner in. She paced behind Angela Walters most of the way and then picked it up at the end displaying some big kick down the last hill to claim the 8th place medal with a 14:54 time. Angela Walters paced near the front once again and gave us a nice 13th place finish. She has really stepped it up over the last few weeks. Julia Kowalinski never faltered as she got through the course in 15:36. She gave us a much needed 17th place finish. Charline Radtke burst off the line and paced the girls through the first loop before settling into a steady pace to come in right after Julia. Four in the top 18 was nice. Grace Caspers was our final scorer. She worked hard for her 30th place finish and clocked in at 16:19. Mary LeSac held down her spot and was the next runner in behind Grace with a 16:42. Hellena Hacker stayed steady and kept Mary in her sights and hit the finish in 16:54. It was a very good effort from the girls in their first long race of the season.

It was already about 5:30 when the varsity boys race got going. Nathanael Chu led the way for us as usual and battled his way to an 8th place finish just behind a good St Lucas athlete. Erik Anderson showed us some real racing skills over the last tough loop around the soccer field. By the time he was done he had maneuvered his way up into 10th place. He would collect his top-10 medal later during the medal ceremony. What an effort from Erik! Andrew Anderson got his first taste of 2 mile racing and came through with a fast 14:07. He only seemed to get faster through the course. Josiah Chu paced with Andrew the whole way and finished just 2 spots behind him in 32nd. I liked the way Andrew and Josiah were pushing each other. Charlie Johnson went out fast and stayed tough down the stretch to crack the top 40 and get under the 15 minute mark. Noah Caspers gave us a 6th by choosing the longer race. He ran very well and pushed the team score up on a team ahead of us and three more behind. That’s what good teams do.

We had our usual big group on the line for the start of the fun run, many who would be running barefoot. Abiah Radtke was 2nd overall in the 2 mile race.  Ephraim Radtke and Noah Caspers led the DASH team in the 1.5 mile race.  Charlie Johnson tried to scare a dirty looking Mary LeSac and a coat toting Andrew Anderson around the course.  Jenna Walters paced around some of my middle school stars and was our first high school girl in.  We had some future stars showing off their paces.  I took notice of some little Anderson, Johnson, and Radtke boys with a lot of talent. Angela Walters and Maryana Anderson showed off some fast finishing kicks for an encore.  Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. LeSac, and Mrs. Anderson got in some good training for their November 5k they are competing in at Greenfield Park.  And Andrew Anderson even found a softball. It looked like so much fun. It is too bad I got stuck behind the camera this year.

The varsity girls won the 3rd place medals and the varsity boys were 4th, missing 3rd by one point to St Lucas. There are too many ways we could have taken 3rd so I won’t go over them all. Very close. It was a good effort once again from this team, and we will get to see them again soon as they have their last two meets coming up next week.  I am looking forward to them.

Thanks to Mrs. Egan and Grace Caspers for their help in passing out and collecting the timing chips. Everything went smooth. Thanks to Mr. Beck for his coaching assistance. Many thanks to Mrs. LeSac for inviting us to join us for some berry picking before the meet. She also helped take down the team tent and she even helped out the camera lady taking photos. Thanks to the camera lady for helping get another big set of photos, and you can thank me for the photos of the fun run.  Now we turn our attention to our Monday meet at Concordia. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school team was at the familiar grounds of Greenfield Park last Saturday morning, but this time it would not be to get in some practicing. This was the day for the annual Wisconsin Lutheran College Grade School Meet. Twenty-nine starting boxes were painted up for the team to run a course shortened to 1.5 miles because of the week’s heavy rain. It was a breezy, cool October day. The one concern was the mud that was sticky in spots, so we made sure everyone had their shoes tied on tight and ready to race.

We had 14 girls line up for the 9:30 race, and while we would clearly be one of the more talented teams out there, the team would be running without long-time star Julianna Caspers for the first time since early 2013. Angela Walters stepped up and led the way for the girls setting a fast, unrelenting pace to hit the finish in 10:36. Angela has been practicing well and is in great shape now. Her inspiring effort will hopefully give her the confidence she needs for the longer courses ahead. Bedalia Radtke also had a day to remember as she glided through course with her beautiful stride making the medal stand with a 7th place finish in the 6th and under race. Charline Radtke would not let Bedalia out of her sight and was the next 6th grade girl in breaking 11 minutes with a 10:51. Wow! Julia Kowalinski posted another great result, also getting to the finish in under 11 minutes. She will be very important in the meets ahead. Maryana Anderson always seems to be moving up when you watch her in a race. The race ended with her 14th overall in the 6th grade division. I don’t think a longer race will bother her much. Mary LeSac ran well and steady and came in just ahead of Grace Caspers. Grace got off a little too fast and faded through the back stretch. We will need Mary and Grace to bring it up a notch the rest of the way. Hellena Hacker held off a hard charging Josephine Wichgers to be our next girl in, with both girls getting times of 12:08. Andrea Chu snuck in at the finish without getting timed, but the photos had her at 12:48. Talia Kostrzewa made a big move up as she hit the woods and came in just six seconds after Andrea. She looked good. Mary Claire Egan did not look overly comfortable in the mud, and charged in a second after Talia. Natalie Radtke is running pretty well now and very steady. She may surprise us with a breakout race soon. Rhapsody Kostrzewa did not come prepared to race, but I had her signed up so we got her a jersey and off she went. Despite her being of kindergarten age, I was not worried about her racing, but I was worried about her shoes. She was wearing crocs! As dozens of athletes were losing shoes in the mud, little Rhapsody gracefully got through the course proving too light for the mud to suck them off. I was relieved, and also excited seeing the debut of one of our future stars.

For the boys, Nathanael Chu got off to his usual great start, and held down his spot until the home stretch. His fast 9:12 effort held up for 9th overall, just out of the medals this time. Erik Anderson had a big day eventually moving up to finish just 3 seconds behind Nathanael to get 12th. It is hard to believe this is his first year of cross country. Seka Kostrzewa paced with Erik through most of the course and hit the finish in 9:20. That time held up for 2nd place overall in the 6th and under division, just 3 seconds behind 1st. What an effort from Seka! He will look good wearing yet another medal. Andrew Anderson came on at the end as he seems to do every race and clocked in at 9:46. That put him in 11th. Then Josiah Chu was seen coming in just 3 seconds later in 13th. Our team score was going to be good. Ephraim Radtke fell off the pace midway, but then picked it back up in the woods and was 22nd in his division. We would have to wait to see if our team score was low enough. Noah Caspers showed us once again how much he likes running in the mud, hitting the finish in just under 11 minutes. That put him in the top third which shows you how well the boys were running. Charlie Johnson came in just 8 seconds after Noah. He is getting into shape now and should have his best racing ahead. Martin Wichgers got through the course in 11:49. He is really getting fast. And George Wichgers did some real racing this time to get in on the good results. The boys had as good a day as I ever hoped. Exceptional effort!

The wait for the team scores was painful. After about an hours wait the award ceremony finally happened with most teams having already left. I had to go up and get Bedalia and Seka’s top-7 medals. And then they only announced the winning team in each division and nothing else. With no results posted on the shelter walls, I boldly went up and looked over the one printed copy that the announcer was using and saw that they did not even tabulate the team results correctly, counting top 5 rather than top 4 in each race. I have them posted correctly here on the DASH Blog. Our 6th and under girls took 2nd overall, coming in ahead of the big public school team, and our 7th and 8th grade girls finished a close 4th.  I was talking with a coach in the woods watching the boys race and was impressed with his team, and he was impressed with ours.  That coach was from Trinity Lutheran Waukesha and they ended up being the one team to beat our 6th and under boys.  They fielded 23 boys to our 8 and got ahead of us by 13 points. We were 18 points ahead of 3rd. What a day for the boys. What a day for the team. Two 2nd’s and a 4th and we only ran 24 athletes! It is exciting to see three more meets on the schedule for this team over the next two weeks. I know I want to see this team running fast again. And I also hope to see you there.

Thanks to Mr. Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to DASH super fan Pete Dickman for helping out wherever needed, giving the athletes advice and keeping then enthused as they run by, and getting us some new super cool DASH hoodie sweatshirts. Get them while they last. Thanks to all the DASH fans that stuck around for the award ceremony. It will be better next year. We had a new photographer as Stephanie Radtke volunteered for that important duty. I panicked this morning as I loaded them onto my computer. It was only about 90 photos, including a few that I had taken. Had the camera malfunctioned? Had we missed all the good running?  Then I looked at the photos and saw that Mrs. Radtke goes for quality rather than quantity.  I got the photos cropped and spruced up in a jiffy, keeping almost all of them. It is a small, but very good set that you will want to check out.  Special thank to Mrs. Radtke for relieving me of that duty! Now off we go to get ready for the next big October meet. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The sun was out as the DASH high school cross country team arrived at Armstrong Park in Racine yesterday, but the heavy rains from earlier in the week had left the park very soggy. Eleven teams were on hand for this much awaited event and everything pointed to some very close team battles. With two months of preparation behind us, it was finally time to get on the spikes, run through some mud, splash through an overflowing river, and get over any other obstacles put into our path. It was time for some big October cross country racing!

Stephanie Chu and Terez Wycklendt were the early pacesetters for the girls, but about halfway through, on the top of the big hill, a Catholic Central girl took over the lead. Stephanie Chu was holding down second place with the home stretch ahead of her, but then took a wrong turn around a tree and fell back. Stephanie paced with the girls ahead the rest of the way, but settled for 5th place with a 22:29. Terez Wycklendt was definitely slowed by the wet conditions after her strong start, but held on to finish right behind Stephanie to put a claim on the 6th place medal. Joy Rasch was impressive again and almost equaled her time from last week despite the wetter conditions. She earned the 11th place medal with her 24:30 effort. Emma Taylor competed well and kept Joy in her sights. Emma’s 24:50 14th place finish also put her on the medal stand. Ella Johnson was not at her best, but she toughed out a nice 18th place finish with a 26:49. Eva Foster ran varsity again and came through with a big personal record 29:32 23rd place finish. She is improving fast. Emily Janes ran much more confidently this time out and her time came way down, like four minutes down. Emily’s new standard is 37:14 and she also won the 11th place JV medal. Nice.

Caleb Schaber settled into 4th place early, and then ran solo most of the way. His time was 18:42 and that was fast enough this time out. I am hoping he saved a little for the next race. Kaden Hacker moved up behind Caleb midway and let no one pass from there, giving us a much needed 5th place 19:05. Yet another great race from Kaden. Alexander Taylor is getting close to top form now. He fell back from Kaden midway, but gave us a third top 10 finish – 8th place in 19:35. No one had three in but us, but then the Prairie School team started coming through fast followed by the Union Grove boys. Brookfield Academy got their third runner in just ahead of Abiah Radtke, our fourth. Abiah struggled coming back from the river, but had a great finish to place 23rd with a 20:39. We had our 5th in at 20:47 as the steady Matthew Schaber crossed the finish. Matthew stepped up for us once again with another strong race. Micah Chan had a big day, smashing his pr by 47 seconds in the slow conditions and coming in ahead of Brookfield Academy’s 4th and 5th. Micah’s new standard is now 21:13. Jacob Parker faded some over the back half of the course, but finished in a respectable 21:39. We need to keep him healthy. Joshua Lipski was our first JV runner in once again. Joshua stayed close to his pr with a 22:28 and won the 6th place medal. His strong effort left him especially dirty at the end. Well done. Andy Forget got out super fast, but got a side cramp. He did pick it up at the end to finish just behind Joshua in 7th with a 23:10. Stephen Janes looked to be very comfortable in the mud. He cruised through the hilly course in just 23:31 while showing us some nice kick at the end. He was 9th. Campbell Partenfelder gave us four in the top-10. He overcame a slow start and then was seen moving up throughout. He hit the finish in 23:36. Nathan Forget was back after missing practice time and the last meet with injury. He ran well while posting a 24:31. Hopefully he can get in some good workouts the next two weeks. Nolan Foster lowered his pr by almost a minute with a 24:33. He is competing well out there now and is one to watch. All of our six JV boys were in the top half of the JV race. Outstanding.

The girls ended up 3rd in the team scores with The Prairie School edging ahead of us by 6 points for 2nd, and Catholic Central running away with it. We had our chances, but we ran up against two teams having very good days while ours was pretty average. We will need to be a little better and peaking in two weeks. The boys ran very well, but the way the points fell again this year, it was advantageous to have the strongest 4-7 runners. That was a big reason we won last year. This year our 4-7 were pretty good, but The Prairie School’s were even better and they came in 17 points ahead of us. It really hurt Brookfield Academy who despite having 2 of the top 3 overall, still ended up 18 points behind us in 3rd. The team scores were not as close as expected, but the race was still very exciting. Hats off to The Prairie School boys. I am liking our boys depth in the years ahead so I am already getting anxious for a rematch next year. But I must be patient as we have a Homeschool Championship next up on our schedule, another very big meet. The high school team will have two weeks to get ready.  Meanwhile, the middle school team will have three meets up first to keep the DASH fans busy. Stay healthy and stay fast!

Thanks to The Prairie School folks for getting the course set up despite the rain and for giving us the chance to race. Thanks to Ed Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to Frank Wycklendt, Jarrett Janes, Patty Forget, and everyone else who helped set up the tent and take it down.  And thanks to the camera lady, who with a little help from Grace Caspers and myself, got us another set of nice photos to remember the days festivities where we got plenty dirty, competed well, and had fun.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team arrived at St. John’s NW Military Academy yesterday ready to compete under cool and dry conditions for the first time this year. The course was mostly on the golf course behind the school, and it would be running fast with plenty of long straightaways involved. We would be one of seven teams on hand to enjoy the day of racing with the hope of posting some really nice times.

Our JV boys and girls lined up first at 4 PM. Joshua Lipski got into a fast pace early and never let up. His time of 22:07 shows you how good he is running, and he was rewarded with the 9th place medal. Cam Partenfelder also dipped into the 22’s for the first time. He is improving quickly each week and looked very good at the end. Stephen Janes cut over 3 minutes off of his pr. He ran with confidence and I am sure he was happy with his 24:12. Nolan Foster’s fan club, of which I am a member, helped keep him going and finish in 25:28. He also lowered his personal record by over 3 minutes. These boys were exceptional and are posting times much closer to our varsity runners now.

Naomi Zhou got off to a much better start and that helped her to a very nice season best 33:09. She will be showing off a nice 9th place medal. Jenna Walters was given the 11th place medal after her super close finish with a Messmer girl, but PTTiming had her taking 10th by .3 seconds. She knows which shoe to put her timing chip on!  Emily Janes had some good moments and some walking moments, but is making progress. Her new personal best is 41:17, a time asking to be lowered some more.

Our girls were the favorites in the girls varsity race, but surprisingly we ended up fielding the only full team. In such a small race, the girls would have to push themselves to fast times. Stephanie Chu and Terez Wycklendt did just that as they raced into the lead right at the start and paced side by side for over 2 miles before the healthier Stephanie pulled a bit ahead to win in 21:31. Terez cruised in right after with a personal record 21:42. Her legs felt good after that effort, so the coach could exhale and start getting excited about the races ahead. Joy Rasch found this course to her liking and took off during the first mile. Joy stayed strong all the way in and was clocked in just 24:17. She is peaking at the right time and was the topic of a lot of the conversations after the race. Emma Taylor was pushed along by Joy and was happy that she once again set a personal best time on another course. She did a 24:29 for 6th overall. Ella Johnson gave us 5 of the top 7 with her season best time of 25:27. She looks primed for a great finish to her senior season. I wanted a 6th girl on the varsity team to give us some insurance against any mishap, and Eva Foster answered the call. She did a personal record 30:39 and goes home with the 15th place medal. Nice.

The varsity boys would have much more competition as four full teams were lined up at the start. Caleb Schaber was seen pacing in 2nd place, well ahead of 3rd, for pretty much the whole way. Then Caleb took off down the home stretch to try to get the win, but came in just .1 second back. So, so close! Caleb’s time was his best yet – 17:41. We will need him to continue posting times like that. Kaden Hacker is running amazingly well right now. He always seems to be moving up during a race, and this time he moved up all the way to 5th place while logging a big personal record of 18:20. Wow! Alexander Taylor is still trying to shake a cold, but toughed out a much needed 11th place effort with a 19:09. Abiah Radtke had a breakout race and gave us a 4th runner under 20 minutes for the first time this year. Abiah was the top freshman and his 19:40 gave him claim to the 15th and last medal. The always steady Matthew Schaber noticeably got out faster and then kept up the quicker pace while posting a personal best 20:28 time. He was followed by Jacob Parker who raced in with a season best 20:31. The boys really had a big day. Micah Chan settled for his 5th straight time in the 22’s. He was our third runner in last week, so he was looking for a little better time on this fast course. Next week it may happen.

It is always fun getting fast times on a fast course in nice weather. With all the beautiful days we’ve had the last month it is about time we had a meet on one of them. The small meet was refreshing coming off of a few big meets. The boys ended up 2nd in the team scores, and the girls dominated while winning by default. The scouting report shows us in some really tight team battles next week at Armstrong Park so we will need to be ready to run like this again. If we do, the pizza will taste all the better at the apres-race party. I hope to see you there.

Thanks to Ed Back for getting the mile splits to the athletes and his help with the coaching. Thanks to the camera lady, who was given a hand (alas, but one) by Julianna Caspers, for passing out the timing chips. Thanks to the SJNMA crew for inviting us and letting us run on their well-groomed course. Thanks to Grace Caspers and the camera lady for getting the photos. They got better as the meet went on. Now we move on to October excitement!

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

It was warm and extremely humid, as it always seems to be, for the annual Waukesha Cross Country Festival at Minooka Park. Our full team would be on hand to participate in the six races. The high school team would have its stiffest competition of the season. The middle school team would be facing several all-star teams comprised of athletes that participated in summer running camps hosted by some of the high school teams on hand. The competition was top notch, the course one of our most difficult of the season. Add in the noisy, festive atmosphere and we were set for a thrilling and challenging day of racing.

Jenna Walters and Naomi Zhou arrived early to be ready for the 8:30 AM JV Girls race. Jenna got out to a good start, stayed pretty steady when the course got tough, and finished in 36:41. Jenna’s time was a sign that the times would not be too fast once again in the super-humid conditions. Naomi Zhou started out too slow down the hill, but then picked up her pace to finish just 9 seconds behind Jenna.

Andy Forget was our first JV boy in once again. Andy really looked good, and had a much better finish this time which added up to a personal record 22:56. Andy is running close to our varsity runners now. If we have an opening in the meets ahead he will get the call. Joshua Lipski had a great start, and held up well to the big hill at the end. He lowered his pr by 2 seconds, a time which could come down considerably in the races ahead. Nathan Forget was back with us after missing the last race and he also raced in with a personal record, 24:26, but that pr does not reflect Nathan’s talent. Keep an eye on him. Cam Partenfelder got his time down to 24:31 with some nice striding. We may see him having a breakout race soon. Anthony Gotcher gave us nice effort, as always, but missed breaking 30 minutes this time. Cooler conditions and a faster course should fix that. I was really looking forward to this race, and the JV boys only have me more excited now about their prospects in the meets, and even years ahead.

The varsity girls would be starting only 4 because Terez Wycklendt needed the day off to rest her legs. Stephanie Chu helped us forget about a team score with her exceptional effort. Stephanie ran so well down the first big hill that I was showing some of our middle school stars her perfect technique while going over the photos. Stephanie was then able to maintain a torrid pace, and come back up that same big hill with a top-20 medal assured. Her time would be a DASH Minooka Park record 21:39. I was so impressed! Senior Emma Taylor once again smashed her own course record, this time by 50 seconds. She conquered the big hill at the end which is never easy. I am going to remind her of this accomplishment to try to get her to go out a little harder in the weeks ahead. Joy Rasch was having a breakout race, pacing behind Emma to the half-way point, but then stopped to tie her shoe. When she got going again her side cramped up and she fell back. We will get her shoes tied properly next race, so expect her to be fast to the end. Ella Johnson ran to almost exactly the same time she had last year. And it was after this race last year, that her times came way down. She also has a camera shy sister who would look good in DASH yellow.

The varsity boys would be missing two of their stars this time out, so we would need everyone to have big days, which unfortunately rarely happens. Caleb Schaber ran well, but did not push it too hard and ended up with an 18:44. Alexander Taylor looked like he was doing a tempo run, which was OK for this race. Micah Chan stayed steady, and then made a big charge up the hill at the the end to finish in a personal record 22:00. Matthew Schaber followed Micah around the course, but didn’t charge the hill quite as hard and finished 20 seconds back. Abiah Radtke was our third runner at the half way point, but struggled with a side-ache at the end and finished in just under 23 minutes. but we were running short-handed, and we fielded an especially young team for a Division 1 type race, and we were running short-handed, so our team score is not to be worried about.

Julianna Caspers paced the girls through the 1.4 mile middle school course. Julianna ended up winning the 2nd place medal in her grade level for the second year in a row. Bedalia again went out very casually, but then made up some lost ground to also hit the medal stand with a 6th place 6th grade finish. Our third girl in was surprisingly Maryana Anderson. Maryana had a fabulous pond loop, and then humbled the big hill at the end. Maryana just missed out on a medal this time, but as she is only a 2nd grader, she has many years ahead of her to win some hardware. Angela Walters got out to a good start, and was just tough enough on the last hill to stay ahead of Grace Caspers, who was very good again this time out. We will need Angela and Grace to continue their good seasons as the races get longer. Mary LeSac also had another good day. She started out fast and saved just enough to make it up the hill at the end. Charline Radtke went out fast, but then a side ache had her drifting back. Many were very surprised where she ended up as she has never really had a sub-par day before. I had Josephine Wichgers and Mary Claire Egan start out side by side with hopes that they would help each other along. And it went as planned as they were seen coming up the hill together. Josephine had her arms pumping at the end, conquering the big hill in just her first race. Mary Claire finished just a second later with her best race of the year. That was nice to see, and really got me excited. Andrea Chu was very steady this time out, but probably should have gotten out faster. I think she still had a lot left at the end. Natalie Radtke was happy with her race. She is gaining some confidence now, and only needs to get in more practice time. This was the day Ilyana Mallegni got in her first race. She ran hard and enjoyed herself. It was good to see her in a race after so many practices.

Nathanael Chu followed the medal-winning plan of going out fast and then conquering the big hill at the end. He won the 4th place 8th grade medal for his stellar effort. Erik Anderson did not go out nearly as fast, but did everything else to plan. His timid start hurt as he ended up missing the medal stand by a minuscule .2 seconds. James Manley really impressed the coach in his first cross country race. He got himself in good position early and looked strong coming back up the hill. Well done. We will see him again in two weeks. Andrew Anderson, Ephraim Radtke, and Josiah Chu all paced together through the course, pushing each other to some nice sub-10 minute times. We were hoping they may have cracked the top-10 in the 6th grade division, but they ended up 12th, 13th, and 14th. So close again. Charlie Johnson donned DASH yellow for the first time this season and toughed out a descent race, but not fast enough for his own high standards. I expect him to be very good later this year if we can get him to the races. Noah Caspers could have pushed himself a little harder around the pond, but he looked good on the last hill. Martin Wichgers continues to run well, although a little under the radar with so many of our stars out in front of him. Keep an eye on him. George Wichgers finished in over 18 minutes, but the attentive coach may have figured out the way to get him to run faster.

The middle school competition was better than it has ever been this year. As good as we ran, we did not crack the top spot in any of the team scores. The 7th grade girls were an easy 2nd behind the Jefferson all-star team. The 6th grade girls took 3rd in a very close battle between the 2nd-4th place teams, and the 6th grade boys ended up a close 3rd. We ran well so we have no regrets.

Thanks to Jenna Walters, Jodi LeSac, and Ed Beck for their help passing out and collecting the timing chips. Thanks to Mr. Beck for his help with the coaching, and again thanks to Mr. Beck for his help in taking down the tent and getting everything back in my van. I did not get involved much in the above duties because I took on the task of running around the park getting the photos for all six races. My feet held up pretty well. Now the high school team turns its attention to the second half of its season, and the middle school team gets ready for its four October meets. There is still plenty of action to look forward to. Of course, I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

P.S. Disaster struck yesterday in my home as I was sitting down writing the above report with my kids goofing off behind me while putting off their after dinner chores. Julianna took a spill and then gave out a scream after looking at her left arm. Two bones were broken. She came home last night with a cast up past her elbow. It is hard to believe. Later, we received an encouraging report from Terez on her health. Oh, the vicissitudes of a cross country season that later gives us such scintillating DASH conversation! Sigh.

Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school cross country team made the drive to Elkhorn last Wednesday to compete in the 7th annual Elkhorn Invitational. We have never missed a meet here, but the last two years we have found ourselves getting familiar with some modified courses because of construction. This years course had to be shortened down to 1.4 miles because of recent heavy rain. The athletes were warned before hand that the short, flat course would be running lightning quick, and that they would have to get out near the front early to have a chance at a top-10 medal. We would be racing only 7 other teams, but many would be arriving on multiple buses because of their size. In all, almost 350 athletes would cross the finish line, making this the biggest meet we have ever run in Elkhorn.

Our very good 7th and under girls would be the first to set up in box 5. Julianna Caspers stayed out of traffic at the start and then really moved up over the final loop to place 6th overall. Julianna has run all seven races here, and she made the medal stand for an amazing sixth consecutive time. Bedalia Radtke did not get out well and had me worried, but then she put the burners on just in time to move up to 8th at the finish. Bedalia’s medal run had the coach feeling much better about our team score. We had a little over 20 second wait, and then DASH yellow was seen heading to the finish in waves. Angela Walters, despite no practice the last week, took advantage of the short course, showing off her stride for her dad, and racing in as our 3rd scorer in 16th place. Julia Kowalinski got off to a fantastic start and was running near the leaders through the first loop. She fell back some through the second loop, but hung on to come in right after Angela in 17th place. Having your first 4 finish in the top-17 is exceptional in a race with 100+ athletes, but the good results were just hardly over. Charline Radtke strode in right after Julia with another great effort. We now had five in when no one else had four, so Charline’s 18th place finish pushed up the score on every other team. That would prove important. With a great second loop, Grace Caspers finished 10 seconds behind Charline for 21st place. She is running well and may like the longer races ahead. Mary LeSac was very good this time out, and gave us a seventh girl in the top-24. Hellena Hacker was next, hitting the finish in 26th place. I think Hellena may have been even better on a tougher course. Next was 2nd grader Maryana Anderson. She ran a pretty steady, very fast race to finish 29th. That gave us 9 of the first 29. With that kind of depth you would have thought we were one of the teams that came on two buses. Andrea Chu showed us some competitive fire as she finished in the top half in just her second race. Mary Claire Egan also had a very good day leaving over 50 athletes behind her. Compare that to last year here and you will know how much she has improved. Talia Kostrzewa was the only one not posting a good time. The coach and her mom both failed to make sure her shoes were tied properly, and she ended up finishing with just one. I am not sure how I missed her as I did have several of her teammates get their shoes retied. Expect to see her bounce back next race running fast as usual.

Seka Kostrzewa paced the 7th and under boys from the start. Seka ran up with the lead pack the whole way and hit the medal stand for the third year in a row, this time capturing the 6th place medal. Andrew Anderson went out more conservatively, but picked it up late and finished strong before being handed the 21st place card. Josiah Chu ran a very steady race, and gave the team a nice 27th place effort. Third grader Ephraim Radtke looked a little timid running with the big 6th and 7th grade boys at first, but when the finish line drew near he was seen coming in ahead of all but the first 33. Noah Caspers ran a strong, evenly paced race to place 48th. I think a tougher course would have moved him up some. Martin Wichgers ran well and finished exactly a minute behind fellow 4th grader Noah. George Wichgers was not hounded enough in the open course and finished in 15:45.

Natalie Radtke ran by herself in the 8th grade girls race, so the DASH fans were able to keep her moving fast. Natalie liked the short course and finished in an encouraging 37th place.

Nathanael Chu and Erik Anderson both had great starts in the 8th grade boys which kept them in contention for top-10 medals throughout. Nathanael ended up in a breakout pack of four boys the last half of the race, and gave us thoughts about a win, before settling for the 4th place medal. Erik was pressured from behind for most of the way, but that just had him going a little faster as he would not be denied the medal stand, earning the 9th place medal in impressive fashion. Nathanael and Erik really had big days.

The average team our size, 22 athletes, would have come away with about 2 1/2 medals. We ended up with 5. The average team of 22 would have put about 7 in the top third. We had 15 that can make that claim. We ran well, but that is not always reflected in the team scores at this meet because of the big, multiple bus, teams we face. This time our 7th and under girls came in ahead of the big Parkview and Elkhorn teams, getting ahead of Parkview on our tie-breaking 5th runner. (Thank you, Charline). It is hard to believe that the girls only came in 2nd. The East Troy team went 1-2-3-25 to come out ahead. They were impressive. The 7th and under boys finished 4th out of the 7 scoring teams, missing 3rd by just 1 point. It was definitely a fun, competitive day of racing.

Thanks to Mr. Beck for being our flawless official scorer. Thanks to Jodi LeSac for collecting the place cards, also without a flaw, thus making it an easy day for the coach. Thanks to all the DASH families for making the drive down to Elkhorn. Thanks to the DASH fans, which included DASH athletes when they were not racing, for lining the course cheering on our stars. Thanks to the camera lady, who had help from Julianna Caspers and Mrs. Chu for getting the photos. And thanks to Philip Caspers for holding the umbrella for the camera lady. Now our thoughts turn to Saturday’s race at Minooka Park, the race with the big hill at the end. I hope to see you there on that big hill cheering our middle school stars on.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was one of 21 teams on hand at Hales Corners Park yesterday to compete in the Whitnall Invitational. This is usually one of our faster courses, but this year fog had settled in after heavy rain had soaked the course, leaving us with slow, wet, and humid conditions to contend with. We were warned that a tree had fallen down across the course which delayed the start of the first of the four races by 15 minutes while work was done to clear the tree from our path. Thankfully, the meet was still a go. We would get the chance to cheer on 20 of our high school athletes through the very fan friendly course.

The JV girls were first up. Senior Eva Foster donned DASH colors for the first time, and impressed us with her easy, natural running form. Eva left the course after 32:01, a time which could drop considerably in the weeks ahead giving the team some much needed depth. Jenna Walters cut off over 2 minutes from her personal best. Her new standard is 35:04. Jenna was pushed continuously by Naomi Zhou who came in 3 seconds after Jenna with a nice seasonal best. The girls times showed some nice improvement. Maybe the course wasn’t running so slow after all. I was also surprised at how competitive the JV girls race was. The competition was proving to be especially strong this year.

Andy Forget got off to a very strong start in the JV boys race. About midway through the course Joshua Lipski came up and kept pace with Andy and it stayed that way to the finish. Both of these freshman dipped into the 23 minute range for the first time. And they both looked good at the end which should give them the confidence needed to run even faster in the meets ahead. Our third runner in was a new freshman who joined us just two days before, Cam Partenfelder. Cam ran cross country in middle school and has a lot of potential. He slogged through the wet course in 25:05, a time that has the potential to drop considerably as Cam rounds into running shape. Yet another athlete running in his first DASH race was Nolan Foster. Nolan looked impressive through the first mile, but then struggled some to finish in 28:39. The talent is there. Anthony Gotcher cut off over a minute from his best time with a 30:43. Progress is being made each time out. Our JV boys finished 8th in the team scoring with three of the teams ahead of us not fielding a varsity team.

Varsity girls racing was next. Stephanie Chu won the 10th place medal last year in this race, but despite finishing four seconds faster this year she ended up just out of the medals in 12th. Her 22:16 early season time was encouraging and her finish looked strong. Terez Wycklendt paced with the leaders early, but then fell back to run with Stephanie most of the way. She was definitely struggling at the finish, but her time ended up being a personal best 22:25, good for 13th place. Emma Taylor had a big day, cutting 49 seconds off her time from last year to place 30th with a 24:28. Joy Rasch has rounded into form quickly for us this year as she adjusts to the high school distance. Joy cut over 2 minutes off her time from last meet to finish in 26:24. Joy also helped push Ella Johnson along when she started falling back, with Ella finishing just a second behind Joy. When the team standings came out we placed 5th, one point ahead of a strong Whitnall team. The difference was Joy and Ella coming in well ahead of Whitnall’s 4th and 5th runners. Very nice teamwork, girls!

The clock had struck six before the varsity boys got started. Caleb Schaber got out to a top-10 start and held it through the first two miles, but then in the last mile he started fading back. Just when we started thinking his top-10 medal chances were done, Caleb found his second wind and started gaining ground, finally moving back into the top 10 just steps from the finish. We would have someone to cheer for at the awards ceremony after all. Kaden Hacker methodically moved up throughout the race until his 18:58 clocking left him in 17th place. Kaden’s time shows up as a personal record on athletic.net. He was exceptional. Alexander Taylor went out very fast, maybe too fast, as he did look a little gassed through the last mile. Alex still toughed out a much needed 21st place finish with a 19:26. Behind Alex, Jacob Parker and Abiah Radtke were both seen jockeying back and forth and pushing themselves to big season bests. Jacob came in just ahead to finish in 21:04 with Abiah just two seconds behind him. I really liked those times and their effort. Micah Chan and Matthew Schaber paced close throughout and put up solid times in the 22’s. The boys placed 5th overall with just 128 points against some very strong competition. I know of 16 other teams that would trade places with us.

Thanks to Coach Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to the officials and the Whitnall team for getting the course ready to race just in time after the bad weather. Some of our newcomers were surprised to see so many people cheering for them. Thanks to the DASH fans for helping them get used to all the attention. Thanks to the camera crew of Natalie Radtke, Julianna Caspers, and Grace Caspers. The foggy, poorly lit conditions, along with a demanding coach, made it especially tough for them, but they took well over 1000 photos in all for me to peruse through, crop, and touch up. These photos made the cut. Be sure to check them out and make all the work that was put in to them worth it. Hopefully this team will see some better weather soon. They still have plenty to accomplish in the meets ahead. I hope to see you there as we see how it all plays out.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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  • Cross Country 2013

    Midwest Homeschool Champions - 2013

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  • Cross Country 2004

    Legendary race - Maitland Park This is where it all began.