Archive for September, 2013

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team ran 18 athletes in the Bradley Tech Trojan Invite on Saturday at Humboldt Park. The meet was moved from Mitchell Park this year, so we had to learn another new course, which is always a challenge. The Humboldt course turned out to be similar to the course at Mitchell Park, with big hills and lots of pavement. It also turned out to be a fan-friendly course, with the DASH team giving us plenty to cheer about.

We ran three athletes in the JV races. Kristin Ulfeng was steady as usual and cut off about a minute from her time at Mayville. It was a bee-sting free race this time for Kristin. Renee Walters had a good start, but had to stop at the top of the hill just past the 2-mile mark to let her breakfast out. Other than that, she ran a pretty good first race of the year. Brady Klaves reached his goal of breaking 30 minutes. He passed the mile mark in under eight, and coasted the rest of the way to post his nice result.

The varsity girls were next. Andrea Beck stayed with two Rufus King girls in the lead pack the whole way. Andrea took the lead at the mile mark, but had slipped to third in the next mile and was looking tired. The next time we saw her she was charging to the finish in 2nd place, denying the Rufus King girls a perfect score for the second year in a row. Amazingly, all eight King girls finished in the top-9 with Andrea the only girl able to stay with them. Zipporah Caspers was next for the DASH girls. She got out fast and is running with more confidence now. She held on for an 18th place finish. Hannah Schein ran the hills near the 2-mile mark as good as anyone, which helped her to a personal best 20:29 time. She can be as good as she wants to be. Stefanie Klaves and Makayla Gergeni stayed close throughout. Stefanie was ahead early, but Makayla made it to the 2-mile mark just ahead. Stefanie had a little extra at the end and was able to cross the finish line first. Makayla broke 23 minutes for the first time and is the only girl to have lowered her time each race thus far. Amelie Kemmann was running a little sick and it showed after the first mile. We need to get her healthy before the next race, and keep her away from ice-cream.

Jacob Dickman and Ransom Nyhart led the boys team once again. Jacob got a few steps ahead of Ransom in the 2nd mile and they ran that way to the end. They both set personal records and set us up for a great team score with 6th and 8th place finishes. Joe Hughes and Matt Lange were impressive again. They both moved up throughout the race, and came over the last hill together, with Joe finishing one second ahead. Matt broke 21 minutes for the first time as he continues to amaze. He races up hills very well, and that came in handy on this course. John Sherman went out very fast and kept Jacob and Ransom in his sights for a long time, but then the heat got to him. He fell back, but was able to finish right behind Matt. Hudson Nyhart was a surprise starter and made the most of it. He gave us his all like he always does and posted a nice time of 21:17. Zebulon Caspers was much better this time out. He stayed with Joe early and held on to set a personal record. Samuel Zinkgraf has been very consistent his last three races and is running very well. It’s hard to believe his 21:49 was only 8th best on the team. Our depth has never been better. In fact, our 4 through 9 runners all set DASH records at those positions, which includes Isaac Fredricks, who ran a very good first two miles. He slowed down some in the last mile, but is getting close to a breakout time.

The DASH fans gathered for the award ceremony and had plenty to cheer as Andrea Beck, Jacob Dickman, and Ransom Nyhart were called up to receive their medals. When the DASH team was called out as the third place team in both the girls and the boys races, the DASH fans proved to be the loudest once again. It was the teams best showing ever at this meet and it sure felt good. The team is running to its potential now and the season is becoming special. We have four big meets left to run, so we can’t rest yet. Let’s hope the best is yet to come.

Thanks to our scorekeeper Mary Beck. She was flawless once again. Thanks to Ed Beck who was all over the course making sure things went smooth. Thanks to Faith Caspers who captured the race in photos. Special and heartfelt thanks to Pete Dickman for providing the team such classy warmup sweatshirts. Now the athletes can look as good as they do running before and after the race. We have just three weeks to go now, and staying healthy is the utmost concern, as it always is this time of year. Let’s take care of ourselves, get our running in, and get ready for the next big meet on Thursday. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school cross country team raced four public school teams yesterday in Elkhorn. The course was on an open field where the DASH fans could keep an eye on all the action, and follow the athletes around and give them encouragement the whole way. You could not ask for a more perfect day to run and the DASH team made the most of it.

Fifty-two athletes lined up for the 7th and under girls race. When the gun went off, Faith Caspers and Sammie Ronge positioned themselves among the leaders with Kayla Walters and Julianna Caspers not far behind. Faith stayed strong to the finish and posted a great time of 10:29, good for 7th place overall. It is a relief to see Faith running at this level now with so many big meets coming up. Sammie stayed with Faith for over a mile, but I think she slowed thinking the race was longer than it was. She did give us another top-10 finish. Kayla had a very good start, but faded a little in the last half mile, giving the coach some extra incentive to keep her running hard in practice. Julianna Caspers proved once again that she really is this fast. She backed down from no one and finished in 18th place. Alivia Kempf literally fell out of bed from the top bunk earlier in the day, but gave a valiant effort and had a good race. Maddy Schneider started well, but struggled near the end and was not happy with her time. She gets another chance to race on Monday.

Joshua Anumolu paced a very young 7th and under boys team. Joshua ran to the best DASH time of the day once again and finished in 11th place. Leif Kostrzewa had another solid race. He got out fast and really fought to the finish to earn his 25th place card. Daniel Caspers and Joshua LeSac ran together not far behind Leif for most of the race. Daniel got ahead late and moved up to 32nd place, with Joshua close behind in 35th. These guys are all running well, and we will need them to keep improving for the big races ahead. Seka Kostrzewa had another impressive race and posted a nice time of 12:49. He has been a nice addition to the team. Noah LaBonte had a tough start, but picked up the pace near the end to post a respectable result. Elijah Anumolu had a good start and finished with his best race to date. Jacob LaBonte ran with his older brother Noah early and showed vast improvement from his first race. He finished very close to Elijah.

Grace Dupar, Lucretia Nyhart, and Gulla Kemmann lined up in Box 2 for the 8th grade girls race in what turned out to be our most exciting race of the day. Gulla went out fast at the start. The DASH fans then lined the field and waited for the girls to complete the first loop, the only part of the course where you cannot see much. When the girls came in sight, lo and behold, Grace Dupar was running in 2nd place! Lucretia was not far behind in 7th, and Gulla was also running very well. We then took off for the back of the course to wait for Grace to come past, and just before she got to us she started walking. Panic and astonishment spread through all the DASH fans! We yelled for Grace to get going, which she did, and as she went by I explained that the top three finishers earn medals and that she had to keep going. I then made sure we had DASH fans positioned at key points throughout the course ready to give encouragement. Meanwhile, Lucretia was having a great race of her own and was biding her time to move up. Grace then started looking over her shoulder to see how far she was ahead of the 4th place girl. With her considerable lead, she did yield to the temptation to rest about two more times, but each time the DASH fans got her going again. With so much attention given to her, Grace had trouble finding the last turn, but once she found the flag she cruised to the finish; 3rd place was hers. Lucretia was not far behind and was able to pass two girls near the end to finish in 5th. Gulla had slowed some near the end, but ran to her best result of the year. What a race!

After all the commotion, we still had John LaBonte to cheer for in the 8th grade boys race. John went out much more controlled this time and ran a very even race to post a relatively quiet and very nice 7th place finish, capping off another eventful day of DASH racing. It is the last time John will get his own paragraph this year as we are finished with our public school races.

The award ceremony came and the DASH fans let out a loud cheer when Grace Dupar was called up to receive her medal. It was quite a moment to see such a big smile on Grace’s face. Her beloved horse had to be put down the day before, and everyone was so happy that the day had turned out to be so special for her.

Thanks to all the parents who made the drive to Elkhorn and made it possible for the athletes to compete. Thanks to Mary Beck for being scorekeeper once again. Thanks to Andrea Beck, Zipporah Caspers, and Kam Caspers for taking some great photos. Special thanks to the DASH fans who responded to every need. We still have three more meets left for the middle school team, plus the homeschool championship races. We are running well now, and are hopefully ready to peak at the big meets ahead. This season is really getting fun.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The middle school cross country team ran its annual race at Grant Park last Wednesday. Despite running only 18 athletes and having no top-10 finishes for the first time since 2006, I thought the team ran well. We are improving each week as we gear up to peak at the smaller meets coming up, culminating with the Homeschool Championships in Madison.

We were only able to start four athletes in the 7th and under girls race. Faith Caspers led the way for the DASH team on her favorite course. Faith is still not running her best yet, and failed in her attempt at a third straight top-10 finish, but she is rounding into form and posted her best result of the year. Kayla Walters ran outstanding, and really got the coach excited with her effort. She was never far behind Faith and finished in 37th place. Julianna Caspers continues to amaze everyone. With her grandmother on hand to watch her run for the first time, she basically sprinted the whole way and ended up ahead of all but 54 girls. Maddy Schneider is moving up. Her time was down from last week’s race, despite this race being longer by a quarter mile.  It was a great showing by the girls.

Joshua Anumolu powered his way to a 26th place finish to lead the 7th and under boys team. He is running with confidence now and knows he can run with the leaders. John Klaves is putting up some good times each race, and was our second runner in once again.  Leif Kostrzewa had a breakout race on this course last year, and followed it up with another good one this year. He is settling in as one of our stars.  Daniel Caspers had a slow start, but moved up throughout and edged Joshua LeSac at the finish.  Daniel and Joshua both broke 15 minutes and are both rounding into form. We will need them to run even faster at our upcoming meets. We had a new star running in his first race that caught the eyes of the DASH fans. Five year old Seka Kostrzewa raced through the course, smiling most of the way, and beat more than half the field.  Ed Sherman and Noah LaBonte ran well through the long course. I look for Ed and Noah to be even better the rest of the way on the shorter courses ahead. Elijah Anumolu cut over 3 minutes off his time from last year as he continues to run well.  It was nice to see us run nine boys in this race.

We had all four of our 8th grade girls on hand.  Grace Dupar paced Simran Khunger through the long course. This is Grace and Simran’s first year of cross country, yet they were able to place 52nd and 56th overall. Lucretia Nyhart struggled with the long course. A little more practicing and shorter courses and she will be back. Gulla Kemmann enjoyed her stroll through the park.  Hopefully her back will be feeling better, and we will see her running a little more.

John LaBonte went out very fast in the 8th grade race. He later slowed to a better pace and earned the 47th place ribbon.  His race was a repeat of last weeks race in Muskego.  He is very talented and will be even better in the races ahead.

The team is showing much improvement, and has not peaked yet. If the team can stay healthy, the results in the races ahead will be very good. We have a full week off now between races to reflect on our performance, and see how we can improve.  Let’s hope we make the most of it.

Thanks to Mary Beck for her flawless scorekeeping. Thanks to Ed Beck for helping get the athletes ready to race. Thanks to the numerous DASH fans lining the course. If we could get them all to wear DASH yellow we would be quite a sight. Thanks to the camera lady who took some great photos of the DASH fans and the early races. Unfortunately, the 8th grade race photos did not come out quite as well.  We have one month left to following this team. It will be fun to see how everything plays out.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

For the first time in DASH history the high school and middle school cross country teams competed in the same meet. The setting was a sunny, cool day at the beautiful Mayville Golf Club. It was a day for the high school team to brings their times down from their earlier meets where the conditions were much more difficult. I was a little nervous about bringing the team all the way up to Mayville, and it was no comfort trying to decipher the map as we scouted the course, but when the racing began everything came together. It turned out to be a great course to follow the athletes as they ran to some great times. We left feeling we would like to come back again next year.

The middle school race was first with the boys and girls running together. John LaBonte set the pace for the DASH team early, but Joshua Anumolu caught up to him later. The two DASH stars had a race to the finish with Joshua coming in a few steps ahead. It was great to have John run with the rest of the team this time to get him going. John Klaves was having another good race. As he neared the finish, he ended up in the middle of the finishing kicks of Faith Caspers and Sammie Ronge. Faith had set the pace for the girls the whole way, but Sammie moved up in the last half mile to be just a few steps back. Faith ran much better this time out as she returns to form, and was able hold off both John and Sammie. Sammie continues to impress everyone. The long course did not slow her down at all. Rebecca Dickman pushed Faith for over a mile with some great running. She fell back at the end, but posted a great time. She will be back with us for the Homeschool Championships next month. Kayla Walters ran a very steady race as usual. She can always be counted on. Joshua LeSac ran one of his inspired races. He was relentless throughout. Grace Dupar continues to improve. She had a great first mile. In a week or two and on a shorter course she is due for a breakout race. Ed Sherman showed promise early, but the long race slowed him some. A few more good practices and he is going to shine. Daniel Caspers had been sick the day before and it showed. He will back in form soon. Noah LaBonte looked much improved this time out. A shorter course will do him good and we have those coming up. Gulla Kemmann had some back issues and was not able to give us her best effort. Let’s hope her back heals up. Overall, the kids raced well. It was fun to see the boys and girls in the same race like we do at practice.

Andrea Beck got out fast early and ran with the leaders the whole way in the high school girls race. We were all excited and jumping around as we watched her break 17 minutes for the first time. It was a performance rewarded with a 17th place medal. Zipporah Caspers was able to maintain her pace to the finish this time and put up her best time of the year. She has her time down to 19:40 and will be looking to go even lower in the races ahead. Stefanie Klaves got her time down under 21 minutes. She slowed down some in the last mile, but her improvement from race to race has been impressive. Amelie Kemmann ran very well this time out. She fell off Zipporah’s pace in the last mile, but this race should give her the confidence she has been lacking as she looks to get her times down further. Makayla Gergeni gave us her usual steady race. She cut off three minutes from her previous times! She is moving up. Kristin Ulfeng looked good early, but she ran into some bees and got stung. She made it to the finish, but the bees had obviously slowed her down. All the girls had season-best times which bodes well for the rest of the year. This team continues to improve.

Ransom Nyhart led the boys through the first mile, but then Jacob Dickman got by him and never looked back. Jacob always finishes well, and this time the clock said 18:17 as he crossed the line. That is over 45 seconds better than the other good times he has posted. Ransom stayed close to Jacob and gave us a second top-20 finish. His time of 18:30 was also a personal best. John Sherman was back and running well. He is getting close to breaking 20 minutes now as is Joe Hughes. Joe has dropped about a minute off his time each race. Who will break 20 minutes first? Let’s hope they both do it soon. Matt Lange set a DASH record with his effort. His time of 21:02 is the lowest time ever recorded by our team’s 5th runner. They say you are only as good as your 5th runner, so I guess that means the boys are looking very good. Samuel Zinkgraf proved our depth as he raced to the best time ever recorded by our 6th runner. Posting records like this will put a smile on any coach’s face. Isaac Fredricks was not far behind Matt and Sam for about half of the race. He slowed some in the 2nd half but cut about 2 minutes from his last time. Brady Klaves had a tough time on the course. It was not marked well and he got in a position where he could not follow anyone. When the results were announced, our young boys team had beaten all but 11 of the 33 teams. Nice!

It was a day to post some good results and we did. We are where we ought to be as a team right now, but we have to keep pushing forward for the big meets ahead, In five weeks the races will be over. The season goes by fast.

Thanks to Mary Beck for being the team scorekeeper again. Mary was assisted by Ed Beck and Beverly Ulfeng. Thanks to Ed Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to all the parents who made the drive to Mayville. The parents I asked all thought it was worth the drive to race in this meet. Thanks to my wife for being the camera lady. We did have a camera chip issue during the boys race, but overall the photos came out OK. Thanks to the DASH fans. With 27 athletes, plus parents and siblings on hand, the DASH fans were everywhere. I am sure that played a part in our success.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The 2013 edition of the DASH middle school cross country team got its season started yesterday at Lake Denoon Middle School. The team has a lot of promising new athletes this year, and it was great to finally see them in meet conditions. Unfortunately, it was probably the warmest day for a meet in DASH history. But when it was over the team had posted plenty of good results, and had held its own among some of the best teams in the area. It looks like this team is going to be a good one.

In the 7th and under girls race, one of our new stars, Sammie Ronge, had the best girls time of the day in her first DASH cross country meet. I think she will be even better as the season goes along and is one you will want to keep your eye on in the meets ahead. Faith Caspers is coming back from a toe injury and was hardly running her best, but she gave the team another good score with her 40th place finish. Not far behind was an inspired Kayla Walters. She made the coach proud with her strong effort. Julianna Caspers proved that she will be one of our top runners this year despite her age. She battled her way to a 69th place finish in a race of 288 athletes. Abigail Larkin is running much better of late and she came in just after Julianna. Having Abigail running well will be one of the keys to our success this season. Alivia Kempf had one of her best races ever. Let’s hope we see a lot more of her the rest of the way. Maddy Schneider held up OK on the hot day. She is slowly getting better each week. Mary LeSac gave it a go, but decided to save herself for some later meets where we will need her.

Lucretia Nyhart was back running well despite little training in the 8th grade race. We need to keep the former MVP inspired this season. Grace Dupar wilted some in the heat but finished with a respectable time. She is going to be good this year and is another one to watch. Gulla Kemmann was one who did not like the heat and needed some extra cheering at the finish to finally show off her speed.

Our revamped boys team was led by track star, now cross country star, Joshua Anumolu. Joshua set a torrid pace throughout and was able to capture a medal for his efforts. Last year in this same race he was 148th; this year 13th. He makes the coach look good. John Klaves is another star in the making. In just his first cross country race, he ran like a veteran to earn the 40th place ribbon. Leif Kostrzewa proved he was saving his best racing for the meets. He moved up throughout the race to be our third runner in. Daniel Caspers had a solid first race to come in not far behind Leif. Ed Sherman looked good in his first race. He has a lot of potential and is one who should get better as the season goes along. Joshua LeSac had a very average race for him. He will have many very good races before the season is done. Noah LaBonte struggled in his first race. With a few more practices and a little less heat, he will be moving up. Elijah Anumolu showed much improvement from last year which is very encouraging, and Jacob Labonte rounded out the DASH 7th and under team. He is very young and has some good speed.

John LaBonte was our representative in the 8th grade race. He has run very well in practice, but the long wait for his race in the heat affected him some. Still he was able to earn the 48th place ribbon.

The team is very different from the last few years and it has been hard to gauge how the team was coming along. Now after seeing them race, we have had a lot of questions answered. This will be another exciting middle school team! Practicing hard and staying healthy will be the keys from here on.

Thanks to all the families that came out to cheer on the hot day. Thanks to Ed Back and the others who helped me get the athletes to the start and ready to race. Thanks to Mary Beck for being our scorekeeper. Thanks to Natalie and Prasanta Anumolu for collecting the cards at the chute. Thanks to Andrea Beck and Michael Schneider for taking some great photos. Kudos to all the athletes for giving great effort in the heat without any complaints. We have a lot of great meets left. It is going to be fun.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The exciting DASH high school cross country team competed at Minooka Park Saturday in the Blackshirt Challenge hosted by Waukesha South High School. It was another warm day and another tough course, but the team rose to the occasion and really improved from their promising first meet.

Returning DASH MVP Jacob Dickman was once again the boys front runner. Jacob likes this tough course and he ran to a season-best 19:04, good for 21st place overall. Ransom Nyhart struggled some, but was able to get to the finish in just under 20 minutes, giving us another good score. The tape needed to attach the timer chips to Joe Hughes toe-shoes did not slow him down as he cut over a minute off his time. He will be a threat to break 20 minutes later this season. Samuel Zinkgraf moved up to be our 4th runner. Sam kept a steady pace the whole way, running with fellow freshman Matt Lange who finished just one step behind Sam. Sam and Matt both broke 22 minutes. If Joe, Sam, and Matt keep improving like this, we will be beating a lot of teams this year. Zebulon Caspers made his season debut and struggled in the heat. Brady Klaves was able to cut over three minutes off his time as he continues to improve. Some cooler weather ahead should really help Zeb and Brady.

DASH star Andrea Beck led the girls team as expected. She earned a hard-fought 29th place finish in just over 18 minutes. Hannah Schein was in her first cross country race, yet ran like a veteran. She stayed with Zipporah Caspers and Stefanie Klaves early until breaking away in the last mile. If we can keep Hannah running like this, it will be a huge boost to the girls team. Zipporah Caspers ran much better this time out as she cut off over a minute from her best time to finish not far behind Hannah. Stefanie Klaves gave us all she had. She ran great early and had just enough left to make it to the finish line with a good time of 21:47. I look for her to keep pushing her times lower throughout the season. Makayla Gergeni ran a very steady race and got ahead of Amelie Kemmann late to be our important fifth runner in. Amelie struggled with her new shoes and had a disappointing day. She has been running well in practice and is due for a breakout race.

The team scores ended up to be what we hoped for. The boys tied The Prairie School for 8th place, but lost out on the tiebreaker. Looking back, there were so many ways we could have picked up one more point. I even called out to Joe Hughes going up the hill near the finish to not let the two Prairie boys behind him pass as I thought we were running very close to them. Joe got boxed in at the finish and the Prairie boys sneaked ahead of him. A little bad luck this time. We will race them again later in the season. The girls posted a nice 10th place finish. This is about where I hoped they would be, but I think the girls have the potential to be significantly better later in the season. It will be fun to watch.

Thanks to Ed Beck for taking the athletes out and scouting the course with them. Ed runs on these trails regularly and I am sure he was able to pass on some valuable insights. Thanks to Mary Beck for volunteering her services to where Waukesha South needed them. She kept the athletes on course at a fork in the trail. The job had its perks as she got a bonus golf cart ride to the spot. Efforts like this keep the DASH team looking good. Thanks to all the parents who got the athletes to the meet and then became great DASH fans for the races. Thanks to Faith Caspers for being the team photographer again. I have been putting captions on the photos again like I used to for those who like to read them. Thanks to the athletes for giving us some more exciting racing despite the heat.  It will fun to see the times go down as it gets cooler.  The high school team will be back in action Friday. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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