DASH Middle School Cross Country Grant Park Meet Report

Hello DASH families,

The middle school cross country team was back in action after a day off this past Wednesday, running at scenic Grant Park. We enjoyed some success at our first meet at Lake Denoon, but I did not feel the team had reached its potential. As the coach I watch this team closely, I run with the dedicated athletes, and I know how good this team can be. Frankly, I was looking for a little more on this cool, majestic day. Let’s just say the team didn’t let me down. The accomplishments achieved on this day were absolutely stunning, and what made it even more special is that they happened in every race!

The 7th and under girls set the tone early. Lucretia Nyhart, Faith Caspers, and Zipporah Caspers were among the leaders from the start. They never let up, running hard throughout the 3k course, as their amazing results prove. Lucretia captured the 5th place medal; Faith, on her favorite course, was right behind for the 8th place medal (Was she the top 5th grader? I wish I knew.); and moments later Zipporah hit the finish line in 18th place. Yet there were still 240 athletes out on the course. Kayla Walters was one of them, running an inspired race to keep our team score down. Lilly Rogowski came on strong at the end to finish right behind Kayla. These young girls can run! Mia Wickman improved greatly from her first race to cap off this memorable race.

The girls results were shown to the 7th and under boys team before their race. The boys knew it was their turn. Ransom Nyhart took up the challenge with another, almost routine, second place finish. Ransom makes it look too easy. Christian LeSac, with his shoes tied tight (story behind shoes), made up for lost time by running with the leaders throughout to earn the 7th place medal. Yes, the team already had four top-8 finishes! It was turning into a special day. Isaiah Rogowski was pushed even harder this time by his brother Aaron Rogowski. Isaiah moved up to an impressive 56th place finish this race, with Aaron right behind for 57th. Aaron just never lets up.  Keep your eye on him. Isaiah and Aaron are both getting really fast. Daniel Caspers fought to the end and finished in the top half, not bad for a 3rd grader. Danny Wickman improved greatly from his first race, showing us signs of how he can compete. Future star Joshua LeSac worked hard in this long race to complete our team.

The 8th grade girls almost did not have a team. We took pictures, said the team prayer, and then Amelie Kemmann arrived on the scene with just a few minutes to spare. (We had just prayed for this to happen!) Amelie brought Andrea Beck’s shoes along, so we got to start the race with four girls, all wearing their own shoes! The girls got off to a great start. Andrea Kempf showed that her top-10 finish of two days before was no fluke, as she paced herself to the 6th place medal this time. Andrea Beck was a little healthier this time out, and ran to a hard-fought 13 place. Amelie Kemmann passed many down the home stretch, as usual, for a good finish, and Renee Walters looked much improved in her second race.

The racing was far from over. We still had DASH star Matthew LeSac running in the 8th grade boys race. This race was particularly competitive with the leaders setting a relentless pace. Matthew stayed right there with the leaders to the end, ending up in 15th place. His time was a team-best 11:11. Looking back at past DASH results, you will see that no one has ever posted a time so low at the 3k distance. That is the way to cap off a day of racing. The extra laps Matthew puts in at practice are paying off.

Five top-8 finishes. Eight top-18 finishes. We only ran 18 athletes, three of who were 3rd graders. This is a team that is running to its potential. What more can a coach ask? Hmmm, I know. Let’s do it again next time. That was fun!

Thanks to Mary Beck again for volunteering to mark down the times again at the finish line. Thanks to the photographers who took so many great pictures.  Thanks to the athletes who made it so worthwhile running all over the park to catch the action. The races will be coming up fast.  The season will be over before you know it, so let’s enjoy it while we can.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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