DASH High School and Middle School 2013 Wisconsin Homeschool Championship Meet Report

Hello DASH families,

The DASH team ran in its second big homeschool championship meet this past Saturday. The setting this year was Lake Farm County Park in Madison. We would have a new course to learn which is always a challenge, along with an unaccustomed noon start to throw off our usual race-day routine. We would have to overcome those issues plus a cold, blustery day to have a chance to take home some homeschool championship trophies. The races would give us the answers to whether we were ready.

The high school boys run first at this meet. With the Liberty Eagles unable to field a complete team, I figured our main rivals would be the Tri-State Flying Flamingoes and the Green Bay NEWCHAA teams. Once the gun went off and the race hit its first mile, a Flying Flamingo athlete was in the lead. Ransom Nyhart was running in 3rd,  with Jacob Dickman not far behind.  John Sherman, Joe Hughes, and Sam Zinkgraf passed by soon after. Zebulon Caspers was running well, ahead of a not so healthy Matt Lange, followed by Isaac Fredricks and Brady Klaves. After the first mile, It was evident that it was to be a two team race between the Flying flamingoes and the DASH team, with John, Joe, and Samuel holding the keys to our success. At the two mile mark, Ransom and Jacob were staying in the top-5 getting their job done. Two Flying Flamingo boys went through before we saw John Sherman. Within sight of John, Joe Hughes was running stride for stride with the next Flamingo. As Joe went past, he was told of the team’s urgency to have him get ahead. Samuel, always in sight of Joe, was staying ahead of the Flaming’s last scorer which was another situation that had to hold. As the boys came in sight of the finish, Jacob Dickman had gotten ahead of Ransom Nyhart as our stars finished 3rd and 4th overall. More important, they gave us a 1-2 punch of a mere five points as the 2nd place finisher was not on a full team. Two Flying Flamingo athletes came next, keeping the heat on us to hold our last spots. DASH yellow was soon spotted coming out of the woods and it was John Sherman. John had done his part. As we looked back, Joe Hughes was seen with a pink Flamingo jersey running a few strides back. Joe had come through. Now all eyes were on Sam. Samuel Zinkgraf came in sight right on schedule with the last Flamingo nowhere in sight. It looked like it would be a close victory for the DASH team. Later we would find out just how close. Matt Lange edged Zebulon Caspers at the finish. It was the first time Matt was not in our top-5. Fortunately our depth came though and we could withstand the inevitable sick days that happen. Zebulon set a personal record to end his season on a good note. Isaac Fredricks ran much better this time as did Brady Klaves. It was good to see them finish well.

The high school girls received bad news a short while before the race when it was found out that Hannah Schein would not be able to make it. The girls did their best to make up for the loss with some great running. Andrea Beck, just like last week, moved into 2nd place, well ahead of 3rd, by the mile mark. It would be a two girl race once again. Andrea kept it close, and kept fighting to the end, completing the course in 16:27 to earn the 2nd place trophy. Zipporah Caspers strided through the course in 18:33, cutting over a minute off of her personal record. The course was fast, and we were taking advantage of it, posting some great times. Not to be outdone, Amelie Kemmann also cut off over a minute from her best time, and really showed off her amazing speed at the finish. Stefanie Klaves kept us in the chase for a trophy with her effort. Stefanie has come through for us all year, and this was no exception. Now we needed a great race from either Makayla Gergeni, Kristin Ulfeng, or Renee Walters. Unfortunately, Makayla was still running with her hip injury and could only give us so much. Kristin and Renee both had their best times of the year, but it was not enough, as we finished 7 points out of second. It was a valiant effort from the short-handed girls team.

Our middle school boys team is very young this year, but it has been running very well of late. Joshua Anumolu’s goal was to be top-10 and he achieved his goal. Joshua never slowed on the long course and it is so exciting to see him compete at that level. John LaBonte ran a solid race, but ended up just out of the medals. Leif Kostrzewa kept up a relentless pace, and passed John Klaves late to be our third runner in. John Klaves was right behind Leif, and a little ahead of Daniel Caspers who also ran very hard to the end. Joshua LeSac struggled early, but came back to finish strong. Ed Sherman was back after missing a month with a neck injury and ran well. He will be needed next year. Seka Kostrzewa was the youngest competing athlete in a race where some teams only bring their older runners. He kept up as usual. Ethan Scholz is another athlete we have not seen enough of this year. He ran well in such a big race. Noah LaBonte and Elijah Anumolu were both coming off good races, but really struggled this time. Overall, the team scored as good as I had hoped. Next year, I expect us to be back in the race for a trophy.

The DASH middle school girls would need to be very good if they were to win as they faced off against the defending champion Homeschool Eagles. Faith Caspers tried a little too hard to get us off to a good start. She was leading at the mile mark, but had clearly gone out too fast. It was a struggle the rest of the way for Faith, but she hung on for 4th. Rebecca Dickman gave us another top-10 finish as she ran very well and under control throughout. Sammie Ronge had not raced for two weeks and came in a little sick. She started way off her usual pace, but was able to move up late to finish 11th. At this point we were clearly running in 2nd place in the team scores. Our next runner in was surprisingly Simran Khunger. Simran has only been able to run sparingly this season, but she really picked up the team with her effort. Her strategy was a good one: try to keep up with Julianna Caspers. Julianna finished right behind SImran with another great race.  She came in with a hole in her pants and a bloody knee after an early fall on the gravel road. She is a racer. Kayla Walters, Grace Dupar, and Lucretia Nyhart all gave us solid races and gave us eight athletes in the top-25. Our depth earned us the 2nd place trophy. Grace Zinkgraf looked good as she donned the DASH yellow once again. Let’s hope we see more of her in the near future. She can be very good. Angela Walters led Mary LeSac, Grace Caspers, and Maddy Schneider to the finish, each running in her first championship race. It will not be their last.

We did some great DASH cheering as our individual award winners were called up. Sammie Ronge, Rebecca Dickman! and Faith Caspers accepted their awards for the middle school girls, and Joshua Anumolu for the middle school boys. Zipporah Caspers and Andrea Beck were called up for their high school awards, followed by Ransom Nyhart and Jacob Dickman. The middle school girls team went up to DASH cheering to accept their 2nd place trophy. A groan was heard among the DASH fans when the scores for the high school girls race were announced. If we had had our full team, the 2nd place trophy would have been ours. The closest race of the day was declared to be the high school boys race, making us a little nervous. The DASH team was announced the winner by just three points. Our boys had done it again! Our top-5 boys all had personal records, with John Sherman and Joe Hughes breaking 20 minutes, and Samuel Zinkgraf just two seconds away. That is championship racing when you need it! That’s the kind of racing that gets talked about for years.

Thanks to all the parents who made the drive to Madison. It was so nice to get almost the whole team to the race. Thanks to Carolyn Skalsky for hosting the meet. We know how much work that entails having done it at Greenfield Park the last two years. Thanks to Jilleen Pfarr for her meet director duties. Thanks to the athletes for another exciting season. Thanks to Mary Beck and Beverly Ulfeng for volunteering for course marshal duties. Thanks to my wife, the camera lady, as well as Andrea Beck and Zipporah Caspers for taking the great photos. Thanks to Ed Beck for assisting me and the team in whatever is needed. Another season is over. It is time to put the blog to rest, have some ice cream, give the kids more homework, and get ready for track. We will make more great DASH memories then. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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