Archive for October, 2014

Hello DASH families,

The DASH cross country team finished another season yesterday at Badger Prairie County Park in Verona, competing in the Wisconsin Homeschool Championships. Eight teams from around the state all get together each year for this race. It is a chance to see how we stack up against the best homeschoolers in the state.

The high school boys race was first on the schedule, and it was to be the stiffest competition ever at this event. Our boys got out the gates in good position, but we soon found ourselves trying to keep up with the Chippewa Valley team. Jacob Dickman ran inspired, finishing 4th overall with a DASH record 17:17 time. Ransom Nyhart broke 18 minutes on the hilly course, but that time was only good for 11th place. Justin Chu was our third runner in once again, staying just ahead of Joe Hughes at the finish. They both set personal best times of 18:23 and 18:24. John Sherman gave us a fifth runner under 19 minutes for the first time ever. Our boys times prove how well they ran, yet the Chippewa Valley team had an even more amazing day to keep our boys in 2nd. Matt Lange pointed all the teams behind us as our pusher extraordinaire. His personal best 19:23 time was good for 25th overall. Sam Zinkgraf had his best race of the season, pushing up the scores on four teams. Twenty-one athletes broke 19 minutes, and eight more broke 20. The homeschool boys are running fast.

There was no clear favorite in the girls high school race. It was going to be interesting to see how the race filtered out at the mile mark to see exactly which teams were still in contention.  Andrea Beck raced through in 4th place, a place which she would hold to the finish. Kayla Bruton came through next. She would break 24 minutes and finish 12th overall. Lucretia Nyhart was running good at the mile. She would later be caught by Johannah Lee and Jessy Homa. All three girls crossed the finish in line in succession posting low 25 minute times. The Homeschool Eagles and Chippewa Valley teams were both running very close to us throughout.  We would have to wait for the official results to find out we ended up. When the results were posted, we had finished just 2 points out of first, and just two points ahead of third. Oh, the ways we could have made up two more points! Zipporah Caspers was our next runner in and would have won a tie-breaker. We were so close. Andrea Coulter kept up her great end of season running, beating her personal best by over 30 seconds. Stefanie Klaves forgot her warmups and never got up to full speed this time.

Our young middle school boys team was next. Joshua Anumolu ran in the top-10 the whole way and finished in 8th place overall. John Klaves moved up throughout and ended up finishing right behind Joshua giving us two in the top-9. Leif Kostrzewa had another great day. The 4th grader really battled at the end and gave us a nice 18th place finish. Joshua LeSac gave us great effort as usual and was our 4th scorer. Daniel Caspers fell off the pace early and was not able to catch back up to Joshua. When the results were posted, the boys placed 4th overall. Seka Kostrzewa was the first 3rd grade under runner to the finish, earning him the 3rd grade blue ribbon. Ed Sherman was our 7th runner in followed by Elijah Anumolu and Andre Coulter.

Rebecca Dickman led the middle school girls team from start to finish, gliding in to a 8th place finish. Faith Caspers gave us a 2nd runner in the top-10 with a good effort. Julianna Caspers moved up and raced with three Chippewa Valley girls. She beat all but one to the finish and placed 12th overall, and took home the top 3rd grade and under ribbon. Kayla Walters was our 4th runner in and placed 18th overall. Angela Walters ran very strong and posted a time of 15:15, good for 24th place. She was easily the second 3rd grade and under runner in, and helped the team to a solid 3rd place team finish. Mia Wickman finished in 28th place overall. Katrina Lipski and Naomi Zhou got their first taste of championship racing.

The team had two 2nd place finishes, plus one 3rd and one 4th place finish. We had had a very good day despite not taking home any 1st place trophies. We were the only team to take home two high school trophies. We also took home ten top-15 medals, plus the two 3rd grade and under awards. It will be a year to be remembered. Now it is time to exhale and rest up through the winter.

Thanks to all the families who made the trip to Verona to see the championship racing. Thanks to all those who helped with things like setting up and taking down the tent, getting the name tags pinned on, helping with the pot-luck setup, and handing out suckers after the pee-wee race. Thanks to the camera lady and Andrea Beck who along with myself got some great photos from the days big races. It is now time to put the DASH Blog to rest for a season. I hope to see you at the end-of-the-year party.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

For the third straight year, The DASH team made the trip to Rochester, MN to compete in the Midwest Homeschool Championships. We had 16 athletes on hand ready to race of which 11 had been here before. We would see how our team would fair against some of the best in the Midwest. Our main rival would be the very big Rochester Jaguars. They are always gracious hosts, but when the racing starts they prove to be worthy competition for everyone.

In the middle school race, Joshua Anumolu was the pacesetter throughout with one Jaguar athlete lurking a few seconds behind. They broke away from the pack heading into the woods leading to the finish. They were seen running stride for stride as they approached the finish line, but then the Jaguar surged ahead. It was a great race for Joshua, but he would have to settle for second. A new team from Minneapolis was on hand, the Northwest Nighthawks. They had two very impressive middle school girls who claimed the top two spots in the girls race. Rebecca Dickman got out fast and settled into 4th place which she held to the finish line. Faith Caspers kept Rebecca in her sights, and was continually being pressured from behind by a Jaguar girl the whole way. Faith stayed strong and was able to hold on to 5th place at the finish, giving the team three medal winners from the middle school race. Joshua LeSac and Daniel Caspers got a taste of Midwest championship racing for the first time. Hopefully they will be back again stronger and faster next year, and not forget their gloves.

We lined up the minimum five in the high school girls race, so it was important that they all ran well if we were to score good as a team. Andrea Beck ran with the lead pack of five girls the whole way. This was a talented bunch, which included two other Wisconsin girls from the WCHSA team. Andrea ran very hard, and earned herself a place at the awards ceremony with her 5th place finish. Marlissa Muckerheide ran with Lucretia Nyhart for most of the way, then got ahead of Lucretia before heading into the woods for the last time, and stayed just five seconds ahead at the finish. Marlissa and Lucretia finished 14th and 15th overall. Zipporah Caspers ran much better this time, giving us her best race of the year to finish in 18th place. Johannah Lee’s great effort gave the team our 5th top-20 finish. All the girls ran well which is just what we needed. It looks like it was a good idea to rest Marlissa and Zipporah last Thursday.

The boys were defending their title from last year, and knew that if they ran their best they would prove tough to beat. Ransom Nyhart led the way through the first mile before Jacob Dickman took command of the race the rest of the way. No one challenged our stars who were both in the process of breaking the meet record set by Ransom last year. Jacob finished the challenging course in 18:11, which is now the new standard. Ransom came in less than 10 seconds later and 28 seconds ahead of the third runner in from Rochester. Justin Chu battled to a 5th place finish between two Metro United boys. Justin broke 19 minutes and has really lowered the gap between our 2 and 3 runners which bodes well for next week’s big race. Joe Hughes took care of business with another solid run. He moved up to where we needed him to be in the first mile and hung on for an 8th place finish. Then he took care of business again. Matt Lange always seemed to be surrounded by blue Jaguar uniforms. He showed us his mettle as he battled his way up into the top-10 before crossing the finish. That gave five in the top-10. That gave us our 3rd victory in a row. That effort gave us the championship once again! Samuel Zinkgraf was back running fast which was icing on the cake. Sam went out inspired and stayed the course for a 16th place finish. He is almost back in top form and may play an important role for us next week.

What a day! The girls were declared the runner-ups to the very good Rochester team, and the boys were announced as the champions with a team score of just 26 points. We had placed athletes in the top-5 in every race keeping the DASH fans and the cameras very busy at the awards ceremony. Faith Caspers, Rebecca Dickman, Joshua Anumolu, Andrea Beck, Justin Chu, Ransom Nyhart were all called up to receive their championship medals. Jacob Dickman was then called up and declared the Midwest Homeschool champion, taking home the trophy that goes with it. It was a another monumental performance by the DASH team. The team is on quite a run. Now with one more big championship meet left on the schedule we will see if this team can do it one last time.

Thanks to our chaperones, Mr. Beck, Mr. Zinkgraf, Mrs. Couppee, and Emily Caspers for helping keep things orderly and getting the athletes prepared to run like champions, Thanks to the Dickman’s for all of their help, including bringing a cooler full of water and healthy food. Any detail I miss, they always seem to pick up for me. Thanks to all the great DASH fans for lining the course and cheering the athletes forward. Thanks to Mr. Zinkgraf and Mrs. Couppee for following my van and getting the athletes to the meet. Thanks to all those who captured the trip in photos. And thanks to Wayne Dickie and the rest of the Rochester team for treating us so well and making this meet so enjoyable. Let’s hope there are no scheduling problems next year, so we can come back again. Now we have one last week to practice hard and stay healthy. Then I hope to see you in Verona.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country competed in the Westosha Central Falcon Invite yesterday at Fox River Park in Kenosha County. Fox River Park may be the most perfect setting I have ever seen for a cross country race, and yesterday the weather was absolutely pristine. Unfortunately, we had a meet the previous Thursday and the team will be racing again this Saturday morning in Rochester. We decided to only start seven athletes total, and either let the athletes do their normal Thursday activities or rest up for Saturday. It was probably our last race in this perfect setting for awhile. I need to find a race where that will fit better into everyone’s schedule next year.

The girls were led by Andrea Beck once again. Andrea is running well right now and tied her personal record while making it look routine. Lucretia Nyhart keeps getting faster with each race which is why the coach had her run. She earned a meet t-shirt for her efforts. Kayla Bruton ran conservatively. She injured herself playing volleyball recently, but looks like she should be ready for our last race. Jessy Homa ran much better this week and definitely enjoyed racing in beautiful Fox River Park. Andrea Coulter really ran well and lowered her personal best time by over a minute to finish as our 5th scorer. Stefanie Klaves let some doubts get into her head and did not run her best. We have to get her thinking more positively next time.

Joe Hughes is from Kenosha and he would not miss a chance to run on this course. He put in a routine 19:18. It was a good workout for him to get him ready for the big races ahead.

We ended up with many more DASH fans than I expected. I counted nine on hand to cheer for the seven athletes. Thanks go out to all of them. Thanks to Zipporah Caspers who helped me with the photos. She will be racing next time. Now we are off to Rochester. The championships await.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The middle school cross country team was back at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School yesterday. It sun was out. The wind was blowing. It was a perfect fall day to run and complete the team’s regular season schedule.

We ran only six girls because of vacations and other conflicts. Julianna Caspers was the team leader again on this 2500 meter course. She sprinted to a 12th place finish out of 120 participants in the 6th grade race. Faith Caspers raced to a 13th place finish in the 8th grade race, but was five seconds behind Julianna’s time as they continue to race close each meet. Katrina Lipski lowered her time from last week by 25 seconds which kept her happy. Grace Caspers was healthy and ready to race for the first time this year. She looked great and set her personal record for this distance. Naomi Zhou was not at her best, but she ran hard to the finish. Mary LeSac got off to a very slow start, but ended up beating two athletes.

Joshua Anumolu went out fast as usual, and hung on for a 14th place finish. He is now ready for some championships racing. John Klaves continued his great season, battling to the end and finishing 28th. The 6th and understand boys race had 144 finishers, by far the largest of the day. Leif Kostrzewa paced the boys from the start and ended up in 31st place. Daniel Caspers ran much better this week and was our next athlete in. Joshua LeSac fell down in the woods behind the baseball diamond. He recovered, but found himself racing with Seka Kostrzewa the rest of the way. Seka was determined to keep up, and he did, finishing just a split second behind Joshua. Joshua Lipski finished his first cross country season with another solid race. Elijah Anumolu came in shortly after Joshua as usual. Andre Coulter looked good in spurts and beat four athletes to the finish.

The fun run is always looked forward to at this meet. Three dads and three moms joined the kids for one final showdown. Awards and bragging rights were on the line. Mr. Beck got out fast and relentlessly moved up until he found himself in 2nd place at the finish line. The coach ran with Julianna early before his pace proved too much for the DASH star. The coach then had his eyes on Daniel just ahead, finally surging past him at the far end of the soccer field. It would be a 9th place finish for the coach. Daniel was the first athlete in, coming in right behind the coach and running about the exact time he did in the meet. Mr. Klaves got out fast and finished in 13th place. Mrs. Clark now holds the title of Fastest DASH Mom after staying ahead of Mrs. LeSac and Mrs. Couppee. It was a great showing from the moms and a great way to end another day of DASH racing.

Thanks to Mr. Beck for collecting the cards at the end of each race, and for his help with the coaching. Thanks to Zipporah Caspers and Lucretia Nyhart for helping with the pictures. Thanks to all the DASH parents who got the athletes to the meets all season long. We have to do it one more time in Verona at the championships!

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

Cold weather welcomed the DASH middle school cross country team this morning at our own Greenfield Park. It was the third straight year of cold at the annual Warrior Invitational hosted by Wisconsin Lutheran College, and it was the team’s third race this week. This meet now attracts some of the best teams in the area, so hopefully we would be able to use our knowledge of the course to our advantage and post some good times.

All the girls run together at this meet, so we had another race between sisters Faith and Julianna Caspers. It was a repeat of last Wednesday. The girls stayed together the whole way, with the older sister crossing the finish line just a few paces ahead of the younger. Julianna’s 11th place finish in the 6th and under division would hold up to be our best result of the day, with Faith ending up 16th in the 7th and 8th grade division. Kayla Walters and Mia Wickman raced through the course quickly and posted some good times. Then off they went on vacation for a week. We not see them race again until the Homeschool Championship. Angela Walters was not sure if she wanted to race, but she ended up joining her teammates and ran well. Katrina Lipski gave us great effort as usual and came in under 15 minutes. Sarah Lindberg enjoyed the shorter race on her practice field, not showing much pain on her face this time. She stayed ahead of Jenna Walters and Mary LeSac who came in together at the finish. Grace Caspers gave it a go, but did not make it to the finish. Hopefully her foot will be better soon.

Joshua Anumolu led the boys as usual, but John Klaves was never more than a few seconds behind. John has not had a bad race yet this year, and has now become one of our stars. Leif Kostrzewa finished in 15th place in the 6th and under race which was the best result among the boys. Joshua LeSac joined Leif in the top-20 with his tough running. Daniel Caspers struggled at the start, but moved up in the woods to post a respectable time. Seka Kostrzewa was our fourth scorer for the 6th and under team, helping the team finish 5th place overall. The young boys are running very well right now. Zachary Werner impressed the coach with his great running in just his first race of the year. Hopefully we will see more of Zachary soon. Joshua Lipski has been very consistent for us this year, and this race was no exception. Elijah Anumolu got off to a slow start, but looked good at the finish. And Ethan Lindberg donned the DASH yellow for the first time and ran a hard race. He is only a third grader. I like to get them running early on this team.

The team handled the cold weather very well and ran hard once again. We have another race behind us. We are now left with just one meet before the championship meets ahead. Let’s hope we continue to stay healthy, so we can cap off the season with our best racing yet.

Thanks to Ed Beck for his usual help with the coaching duties. Thanks to the camera lady for taking the pictures. We had some camera issues today, so the set is not as big as usual. We will have a new camera to work with the rest of the season. Thanks to the parents who came out and cheered the team on. You get more father’s to a meet on a Saturday which is always a plus for the kids. Only three meets total for the DASH team next week. Does that qualify as easy? No way, cross country is never easy. It is time to keep working hard!

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The high school cross country team was in Racine yesterday for the annual Prairie School Invitational. The weather turned for the better earlier that morning. There would be no thunderstorms, only a minimal light rain. The Armstrong Park course was in pristine condition. It was finally time to put our paces to the test in this much anticipated meet.

Andrea Beck led the girls team once again. Andrea is really running well now and ran to a season best 22:41 to finish 7th overall. Behind Andrea, Kayla Bruton, Lucretia Nyhart, and Marlissa Muckerheide were all racing close together. Marlissa was the early pace-setter for the group with Lucretia following close behind. Kayla would later move up and stride with Lucretia through the last mile before showing off her speed with a great finish. Lucretia was right behind posting a personal best time of 25:21. Marlissa struggled through the last mile, but finished in under 26 minutes. Johannah Lee ran varsity for the first time and broke into our top-5. She lowered her time from Saturday by over two minutes. She looks ready for Rochester. Zipporah Caspers struggled again with a foot injury. She will now rest up and try to get ready for the championship meets ahead. Jessy Homa was out sick last meet and is not back running her best yet. She gets another chance next week. The girls placed 5th place overall, well ahead of 6th. The team is very young, and the coach is already dreaming about moving up in the standings next year.

Our boys team was the favorite to win this meet, but staying ahead of the defending champion Brookfield Academy team would prove difficult early. In the first half of the race, DASH stars Jacob Dickman and Ransom Nyhart settled in with the lead pack keeping the top-2 Brookfield boys behind them. John Sherman and Joe Hughes got out fast with the pack and fought hard to keep us in contention, while Justin Chu and Matt Lange bided their time waiting to move up later if and when the Academy boys slowed. As the second half of the race heated up, our boys were methodically moving into the spots we needed to be in to win. Jacob Dickman was holding the 5th place spot down, with Ransom playing defense behind him. They would not be passed. Justin Chu made his move and got ahead of Brookfield Academy’s 3rd runner. Joe Hughes and John Sherman worked together holding their positions and stayed close to Justin with Matt Lange in the back waiting to help out if anyone faltered. The boys had the lead, and they stayed the course to the end. They ran like champions and would be rewarded appropriately for their efforts later. Danny Wickman was behind them running to his best time of the year. And Samuel Lee ran in his first race giving everyone a little excitement with his sprint to the finish to cap off an historic day of DASH racing.

The award ceremony had the DASH fans cheering loudly as Andrea Beck was called up to receive her 7th place medal. Kayla and Lucretia just missed out on a top-15 medal with their 17th and 18th place finishes. We were hoping to cheer for Joe and John, but they ended up in 16th and 17th. So close! The DASH fans recovered and were back cheering loudly for Justin Chu and his 10th place medal, and for Ransom Nyhart who finished 6th. Jacob Dickman had to leave early, but his 5th place medal will be his soon. The boys team results were announced next, and to the amazement of many, the DASH team was declared the winner by a convincing 15 points. We had won our second meet in a row! it was time again for trophy pictures, and the apres-race pizza party.

Thanks go out to Ed Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to Faith Caspers who took most of the pictures in the rain. Thanks to The Prairie School for putting in the work needed to set up the course, inviting us, and giving us the opportunity to take home a little extra this year. Thanks to all the DASH fans who made it to the meet and cheered the team on. And congratulations to former DASH stars Christian and Matthew LeSac. They both received top-15 medals, with Christian winning 1st for the second year in a row. DASH stars, current and former, are running fast all over the area. This team is special. And with homeschool championship racing the next two weekends, it should be equally exciting. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The middle school cross country team had some great weather to race in yesterday at Brookfield Academy. This would be the team’s smallest meet of the year, but the competition proved to be very good. The course was longer than advertised – I think it was over two miles – which would be humbling to our first year athletes, but overall it was another successful and exciting meet.

The girls ran first. Julianna Caspers was out fast pushing the pace, showing sister Faith that keeping up with her would be no easy task. Julianna was always trying to stay a step ahead, but in the end Faith proved a couple steps faster. Order had been restored. Kayla Walters looked good at this longer distance and was our next runner in. The 5k high school distance she gets to run next year should not be a problem for her. Mia Wickman made it to the race just in time and impressed the coach with her time, too. Our 8th grade girls are very good. Angela Walters started out running great, but the distance was a little long for her. She got in a good workout pushing herself that far. Katrina Lipski came in right after Angela, giving us her best race of the year. She looked very strong at the end. It was a plus to be a strong 8th grader in this race. Naomi Zhou gave us her usual good effort. She is running well. Sarah Lindberg put in a good first mile, but definitely hit a wall after that. Greenfield Park on Saturday will be welcomed by Sarah. Mary LeSac gave us good effort and a good race.

Joshua Anumolu ran with the leaders early, then settled in and raced to an impressive 3rd place finish. John Klaves also ran fast the whole way and finished in 7th. As you can tell, I wanted to see how our 8th graders would handle a race at this distance. They all met my high expectations. Leif Kostrzewa really fought hard the whole and was able to hold off all challengers at the finish as usual. Joshua LeSac stayed close to Leif this time out. He had his best race of the year, and beat all of our girls times. Daniel Caspers did not have his best, but he never gave up and pushed hard to the finish. Seka Kostrzewa posted a great time. Nothing, not even a 2 mile run, is too much for Seka. Ed Sherman was back and looked better than he has all season. Let’s hope we can keep him healthy the rest of the way. Joshua Lipski ran a good race and is blowing by people with his kick at the end. It is exciting to watch him. Elijah Anumolu kept Joshua in his sights as he continues to impress. Joe Laufenberg is slowly getting better each race. Andre Coulter stayed close to Joe most of the race. He will like the shorter races ahead.

This will not go down as our most important meet of the season, but a long race like this is helpful to see where we are as a team and where the team needs work. We would expect our older, more experienced runners to handle a race like this better than the younger kids, and that is what we saw. Our next race will be on our practice field. There will be no surprises or problems with pacing for us there.

Thanks to Jodi LeSac for handling the official scoring for the team. Thanks to Ed Beck for his coaching assistance and for his help at the finish line. Thanks to Brookfield Academy for giving us a tough course, and for picking a date that we could fit in our schedule this year. It was yours truly who took all the photos this time. It was the first time I have ever taken more than a handful of them at a meet. To get the pictures at this meet would require a little running, so I decided to take on the duties myself. I missed a few at the finish, but overall they turned out OK. The racing is hardly over yet this week. It is no time to rest. The best may be yet to come.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

  • 2018 Cross Country

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  • Cross Country 2013

    Midwest Homeschool Champions - 2013

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  • Cross Country 2009

  • Cross Country 2004

    Legendary race - Maitland Park This is where it all began.