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

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