DASH High School Cross Country 2015 Blackshirt Challenge Meet Report

Hello DASH families,

Our high school cross country team was found at Minooka Park yesterday morning, competing in the Blackshirt Challenge hosted by Waukesha South. We have participated in this meet for as long as we have had a high school team with mixed success. The course is tough, and yesterday gave us warm and especially humid weather to compete in. We would be bringing our biggest boys team ever. Seventeen DASH boys would be coming out of box 1, followed by six DASH girls running a 4k. Nineteen other teams were on hand, many of them division 1. It would be a great early test to see how we stack up against some very good competition.

I ran the back trails just fast enough to see the lead cart coming through at about the 2/3 mile point. Coming in right behind the cart were DASH newcomer Henry Chapman and longtime DASH star Jacob Dickman, both running in the lead pack. My excitement grew as more and more DASH yellow passed me by, all holding down very good positions. The boys were on pace to have a special day, but it was still very early with plenty of hilly terrain ahead. At the next viewing area at about the half way point, our boys were all still holding down their spots. With Henry and Jacob still running in the lead pack of three, we were definitely becoming the talk of the race. It was now time for me to head to the big hill that the athletes must conquer before the finish. I nervously passed the next few minutes making small talk with some of the other coaches while waiting for the cart to be seen again. As the cart came into view, a silence came over the crowd, not broken until Henry Chapman came into view. He had broken away from Jacob and a Kettle Moraine athlete and was heading for victory. Jacob was seen second later charging up the hill in second place, just a step ahead of third. Jacob and the Kettle Moraine boy hit the top of the hill almost tied. In a photo finish decided by just .03 seconds, Jacob had come out on top as he always seems to do. It was to be a spectacular 1-2 finish for the DASH team! A minute later Justin Chu was seen. Justin would end up in 20th place overall and make it to the medal stand. Joe Hughes ran much better this time out and looked like the runner we DASH fans have become accustomed to see. He posted a respectable 19:29 time. John Sherman is coming off of an ankle injury and was running with us the first time this year. John came through for us as our 5th runner. He will be getting his time down as the weather cools and his ankle strengthens up a little more. John Kowalinski had a great finish, moving up to 6th on the team with a nice 20:31 time. Drake Hacker was feeling the effects of a cold, yet came in just a few seconds after John. Tim Kowalinski also ran very well, posting a 20:41 time as our 8th runner in. Joe Maurer moved up late in the race to be our next runner in, with Samuel Zinkgraf right behind. Samuel ran much easier this time out. Let’s hope his back issues are behind him. We had three more athletes finish in under 22 minutes. John Klaves ran a very even race and finished in 21:17. Ben Hughes cut several minutes off his time and stayed right behind John the whole way. John LaBonte finished in 21:48 as he continues to improve at the 5k distance. The team had 13 guys finish in 21:48 or less proving our depth. Joshua Anumolu put the timing system to the test. He tied both of his chips to one shoe. Would it record his time? The answer is no. Ben Fenelon is really improving. He is in racing mode now and was able to cut off well over a minute from his previous time. Will Farrell beat his time from the first meet. He is running well, and will be lowering his times as the weather cools. Joshua Schaber finished his first 5k race on the tough course. He is talented and just needs to keep gaining more experience. Overall the boys had about a great a day as anyone dared hope for.

The sun came out for our girls, who were all entered into the smaller 4k race. Kayla Bruton got out fast and held the lead for awhile. Abby Chu worked her way up to run with Kayla for most of the race, including the big hill at the end. Kayla ended up ahead in the end, with both girls earning medals in the award ceremony. Faith Caspers ran much better, but is still a little timid at the start. She held on for 12th place overall. Jessy Homa really looked good this time out, and gave us a 16th place showing. Katrina Lipski finished with a nice 23:59 time. Her hard work is paying off. Zipporah Caspers decided to get her bad race out of the way. If she can stay healthy she will be helping us soon.

There was a mixup in the times for the boys that I was able to correct. When the scores were finally tallied our boys had placed 6th overall, just a point out of 5th. Only the really big teams were ahead of us, and not by much. Our 119 team points were less than half of the 270 points Catholic Memorial tallied to take 7th. We have put a scare into the teams we will be facing later in the year. The girls finished 2nd by just two points in the 4k standings. It was good to see them having such a good showing despite not having their top two runners from the first race competing this time. The day was too much fun. I want to see this team run again soon. Friday seems a long way off.

Thanks to all the DASH fans who stayed until the end to see the awards ceremony. It is always special to hear loud DASH cheering for our athletes who are going up to collect their awards. Thanks to the Dickman’s who always make sure we are all taken care of before, during, and after the race. Thanks to Heather LaBonte for collecting the boys chips for me. Thanks to Grace Zinkgraf for again taking some extraordinary photos that really captured the moment. Now we need to get a little rest, but not too much. The season will be passing us by fast. We have to stay ready.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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