DASH Middle School Cross Country 2013 Elkhorn Meet Report

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

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