Archive for April, 2014

Hello DASH families,

Our high school track team was back in action Tuesday at Whitnall High School. The temperature was in the mid-50’s when we arrived, which for some reason had the team thinking it was mid-summer. As the temperature dropped throughout the night, blankets were in high demand in a futile effort to keep warm. Fortunately, everyone was still able to post some good results when it was there turn to run. It turned out to be another memorable day of DASH racing.

Andrea Beck and Zipporah Caspers got the racing started in the 1600. Andrea had the DASH fans on their feet to witness her surge to the finish line. When the surge was over, six minutes had been broken and first place was hers. Zipporah Caspers looked much better this time out, running to a personal best 6:40. In his 1600 heat, Joe Hughes was able to cut seven seconds off his best time, with Samuel Zinkgraf coming in soon after. Jacob Dickman inched his way ever closer to breaking 5 minutes. He is now just one second away and placed 3rd overall. Amelie Kemmann got back to winning 200 meter races again, posting her best time of the year. Nina Smrecek showed off her speed again to be our number 2 runner in. Stefanie Klaves was placed in a fast heat, and she ran fast as planned. Johannah Lee pulled away from Renee Walters late as they raced in the same heat. Nicholas Funk ran to the 2nd best DASH 200 time ever with his 26.21 time. Danny Wickman, Brady Klaves, and Tommy Ebert, and Justin Chu all claimed personal bests. Anna Seidl lined up for her first DASH race in four years in the 800. The former sprinter impressed us with her stamina. Zipporah Caspers continued her good day by cutting three seconds off her time from Saturday. Hannah Schein was back with the team and running fast again. She went out with the lead pack and hung on for a nice 2:56. Andrea Beck stayed ahead of everyone but two in her race. Samuel Lee got his chance to race an 800 and made the most of it. He had the DASH fans on their feet with his strong finish. Samuel Zinkgraf posted his usual good time with his always great effort. Justin Chu impressed us again in his 800. He is that fast. And despite running the 1600 earlier, Joe Hughes ran his two laps in personal record time. Jacob Dickman, running in the final heat, posted the best DASH time of the day: 2:23. There was no 400 meter race at this meet, so Johannah Lee ran fast in the 100 meter race instead. Renee Walters was edged by Stefanie Klaves at the finish with both girls doing some strong racing. Nina Smrecek was able to break 16 seconds despite the chill in the air, and Amelie Kemmann settled for 2nd place overall this time with her usual strong showing. Samuel Lee, Tommy Ebert, and Brady Klaves got the boys 100 meter racing started. Danny Wickman and Nicholas Funk lowered their times from last race considerably with Nicholas getting his time under 13 seconds.

While all the racing was going on, the athletes struggled to fit in their field events. Samuel Zinkgraf got his discus in early, and his final throw was good for a personal record. Hannah Schein tried the triple jump for the first time and hopped, skipped, and jumped over 25 feet. Samuel Zinkgraf, Joe Hughes, and Samuel Lee all threw the 12 pound shot farther than they ever have before. But it was not a good day overall for our long jumpers. Hannah Schein and Stefanie Klaves went over 11 feet, and Nicholas Funk and Danny Wickman leaped past the 14 foot mark. Danny was the bright spot as he broke his personal record by an inch.

The sun was down, the cold was out, yet it was not time to go. The 4×400 relays were saved for last. Renee Walters, Johannah Lee, Anna Seidl, and Zipporah Caspers put the cold out of their minds and displayed some exciting running to get things going. Not to be outdone, Amelie Kemmann, Hannah Schein, Nina Smrecek, and Andrea Beck won their heat and lowered the DASH record by four seconds! It no longer seemed quite so cold. Both boys teams ended up in the same heat. Joe Hughes, Samuel Zinkgraf, Justin Chu, and Jacob Dickman bested their seed time and put up some great splits. Danny Wickman and Nicholas Funk got their team out fast. Tommy Ebert got the baton next and ran a good lap, but the handoff to Brady Klaves was ruled out of the exchange zone. I was close by getting their splits and not worrying about such things. Now, I wish I had. They were having a great race.

Overall, the team proved very competitive again. The effort given consistently by the athletes each race helps make this team exciting to watch, and gives the DASH fans had plenty to cheer about. Now we have a nine day gap in the schedule to work on a few things, take a breather, and hopefully come back stronger for the meets ahead.

Thanks to all the great DASH fans who kept the cheering going throughout the night. Thanks to Ed Beck and Pete Dickman for their help with the coaching. Thanks to all our photographers who took the photos. With fingers getting cold, Andrea Beck’s camera changed hands often throughout the night. And thanks to the those who brought the blankets. They were definitely needed. Our winter coats would have been even better. May racing is still left for this team. The home stretch is in sight. Let’s hope the weather heats up, and that our times keep going down.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school track team made its way to Watertown on Saturday morning to participate in the Gosling Open. The competition included some of the best high school teams in the area. The day started cool and blustery, with the team keeping warm under blankets. The day ended with us a bit sunburned, and satisfied that we had done our best.

The 1600 meters was the first event for the DASH team. Andrea Beck looked much healthier this time out, and broke 6 minutes for the first time this year. Jacob Dickman was the pacesetter early for the boys. Jacob finished with a personal best 5:02. Breaking 5 minutes should happen soon. Joe Hughes and Samuel Zinkgraf also were impressive and looked strong. We had three girls in the same heat in the 200. Nina Smrecek raced to victory in the heat, proving I had underestimated her speed. Johannah Lee edged Stefanie Klaves, with both girls posting nice times. Nice times running into a headwind, that is. All the 100 and 200 times were slowed by the wind. We had to wait for the final heat, as usual, to see sophomore Amelie Kemmann run. Amelie ‘only’ came in second this time, the first time she has not won a 200 meter race since 7th grade. The competition at this meet was very tough. Brady Klaves, Tommy Evert, and Samuel Lee raced in the same heat with Brady staying just ahead of Tommy at the finish. Samuel showed us how much he has improved in the last couple weeks. Danny Wickman finished strong as usual in his heat, and Zeb Caspers followed with a good time. New DASH star Nicholas Funk raced to the best DASH time of the day, breaking 27 seconds. Zipporah Caspers got the 800 meter races started. She is still not in top form, but getting closer. Andrea Beck followed and broke her own DASH record finishing in under 2:40. She wants to lower it some more before the year is done. Justin Chu got his chance to run and made the most of it. Justin raced out ahead of Joe Hughes and Samuel Zinkgraf, and his kick was strong enough to hold them off to the finish. Justin exceeded the coach’s expectations. He is a runner. Jacob Dickman did not give the DASH fans a break, as he got out fast in his 800 heat and broke 2:20, good for 4th overall. He was MVP last year, yet has been able to take it to another level. In the 100 meters, we had another race off with Nina Smrecek staying ahead of Stefanie Klaves and Johannah Lee once again. All three girls are running very well proving the depth of this team. Amelie Kemmann bested her result of the 200 by running away from the field and winning the 100 meter race by several steps. Yes, the DASH team, and Amelie, were definitely getting noticed! The order of the boys in the 100 was the same as the 200. Nicholas Funk held nothing back and finished 12th overall, Zeb edged Danny at the line in their heat, and Brady edged Tommy in his. Samuel looked strong to the finish in his race. Now we were down to the 400 meters. Nina Smrecek and Johanna Lee posted the times the coach was hoping for. Amelie got a chance to break her own DASH record and did not disappoint. Running in the final heat, she was carried along to 1:02. It was good to see her push it more early in the race. Joe Hughes posted the best time for the boys. He never seems to tire. Zeb did tire down the home stretch, but hung on just enough to edge Justin Chu. Tommy Ebert ran a nice race in his heat and came in right where I hoped.

We also did a lot of field events. Zeb Caspers broke his own DASH record in the discus. Samuel Zinkgraf also threw his discus well. Andrea Beck and Amelie Kemmann both did very well in the discus for the girls. Brady Klaves proved the strongest in the shot put. Samuel Zinkgraf also had a good throw of over 25 feet. Amelie Kemmann jumped farther than all but two girls in the long jump. Stefanie Klaves and Zipporah Caspers also jumped well. Nicholas Funk had an amazing first day of long jumping. He flew 16-09 to finish 5th overall.

There is a lot to be thankful for in getting the opportunity to compete in a meet like this. Thanks to the people at Watertown High School for being so accommodating to us, and for running such a first class meet. Thanks to the parents for getting the athletes out ready to race. Thanks to the athletes for being so much fun to watch. Thanks to Ed Beck who was always there when the athletes wanted him to get their splits. Faith Caspers captured the meet in photos using Andrea Beck’s camera. They turned out very good. The meets will be coming up fast now. We need to keep healthy, keep improving, and be ready to do it again on Tuesday. I hope to see you there. The season goes by fast.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The young DASH middle school track team was indoors last Saturday competing in the annual University Indoor at UW-Milwaukee. It was the earliest meet the middle school team has ever had. Add in all the cold weather, the new athletes, and the stiffest competition of the year, and this meet was bound to be particularly challenging. Here are some of the highlights and reflective thoughts from the big meet.

The boys start first in this meet and our big guys, John LaBonte and Joshua Anumolu, got the season started by posting some nice times in their warmup 50 meter dash. Eli Adler edged Caleb Alles in a closely contested 50 meter heat to lead the 5th graders. Joshua Anumolu had been sick earlier in the week and did not have his usual kick in the 800 but put a respectable time. Our veteran distance runners, Joshua LeSac and Daniel Caspers, were joined by Eli Adler in the 800 with Eli coming out ahead in this promising threesome. In the 200, John LaBonte got off to a great start and posted a nice time. Wesley Evans looked great and finished in 9th place overall. 3rd grader Joshua Lipski impressed with his form. He has the talent to be pushed out a little longer. Our 6th grade relay team of Wesley Evans, Elijah Johnson, Zachary Werner, and Noah LaBonte put a better time than our 5th grade team of Joshua LeSac, Caleb Alles, Joshua Lipski, and Eli Adler, but our lack of experience showed on both teams. We had just two athletes run the 1600 meters this year. Joshua LeSac and Daniel Caspers placed just out on the ribbons as they try to race themselves into shape. The 400 meter race exposed our lack of practice time. The one exception was Wes Evans who raced to an 8th place finish and the boys best result of the day.

Our more experienced girls team got going in the afternoon. Returning DASH MVP, Gulla Kemmann, got the season off to a blazing start with a 3rd place finish in the 50 meters. Kayla Walters followed that up with her own 3rd place finish in the 7th grade division to get her day started. Stephanie Chu had one of her famous starts and earned 9th place out of 74 runners in the 5th grade. Alexa Dawson is back with the team again this year and was caught running fast in her race. Lucretia Nyhart put up the best time in the 800 for the girls. Faith Caspers followed with a 6th place finish in a very crowded combined heat race after starting in the back row. In the 200, Gulla Kemmann and Grace Dupar posted some good early season times. Abby Chu showed off her steady speed and got the coach thinking about getting her to run a 400 soon. Stephanie Chu’s 11th place finish in the 200 was the team best. Our 8th grade relay team of Lucretia Nyhart, Kayla Walters, Grace Dupar, and Gulla Kemmann posted a good time, but just missed out on the awards. The 5th grade team of Stephanie Chu, Julianna Caspers, Libby Evans, and Alexa Dawson was very exciting and came in 2nd in their heat. Faith Caspers has run the 1600 in this meet since its inception in 2009. She came in 2nd place again this year, making that four 2nd place finishes in those six races. Our accomplished 1st grade foursome of Julianna Caspers, Angela Walters, Grace Caspers, and Mary LeSac all lined up for the 5th grade 1600. Julianna and Angela went out fast and stayed together for a lap and a half until Julianna pulled away. Grace Caspers stayed steady early on and kept Angela in her sights. Mary decided to enjoy this race from behind. Julianna never let up to the finish and posted a personal best 7:10 to place 5th overall. Grace raced past Angela in the final stretch to post an 8:15, five seconds ahead of Angela as the girls turned heads as usual. We still had the 400 left for the girls, and like the boys our lack of practice was exposed. Kayla Walters posted the best 400 time of the girls in the last DASH race of the day.

I would have liked this meet to be a week or two later, but one of the positives will be the extra couple extra weeks of practice gained before the next meet. Now we have a lot of hard work ahead to get into mid-season form. We need to stay alert and give our best effort in the weeks ahead to make this another great DASH season.

Thanks to Ed Beck as usual for his assistance with the coaching. Thanks to Adam Wickersham, the meet coordinator, for getting us heat sheets this year. That really made things easier. Thanks to Andrea Beck for letting us use her camera. Andrea along with Zipporah Caspers and Faith Caspers took the great photos. Thanks to all the parents who sat through another long meet. And thanks to the athletes for running hard and having fun.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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