Archive for October, 2015

Hello DASH families,

The DASH cross country team finished their season in Verona yesterday, competing in the 5th annual Homeschool Championships. The weather was cool, but sunny. The course was hilly and fast. It would be the first championship race for 19 of our 29 middle school athletes. Our young team would be getting some needed experience to use in the years ahead. Our high school team would be looking to improve on two second place finishes from last year. As 10:00 AM neared, it was finally time to take our sweats off, crowd into our tiny box 5, and see how our DASH team stacked up against the 8 other homeschool teams in competition.

Our very young middle school girls team was first on the schedule. Rebecca Dickman was our early leader through the first mile, with Julianna Caspers and Stephanie Chu staying close. Rebecca could not maintain her fast pace through the second mile and it was Julianna who hit the finish line first. Julianna’s time of 14:39 put her in 19th place overall. She was the fastest 4th and under runner in the race. Rebecca came in 13 seconds later in 24th place, with Stephanie Chu a few steps behind her in 26th. It was a respectable showing, but not the best day for our top girls. I think they peaked a week early. Julia Kowalinski ran very well once again. She stayed strong the whole way and got a nice 31st place finish. Emma Taylor and Grace Caspers paced together for most of the second mile with Emma coming out ahead this time. Emma has improved all season and Grace has really ran well. Our last four girls came in near the end. They found the long, hilly course tough. Angela Walters and Hellena Hacker worked together with Angela racing in ahead. Noami Zhou finished up right behind Hellena. Jenna Walters made it to the finish 15 seconds after Naomi. Overall the girls struggled, but were able to edge the Tri State team for 4th.

The middle school boys ran out conservatively at the start. Vincent Maurer and Caleb Schaber stayed close for a long time until Vincent picked up the pace near the end to nab the 10th place medal. Caleb finished with a good time of 12:52 to place 21st. Joshua LeSac pushed the pace throughout and was our 3rd runner in. He was followed by Leif Kostrzewa who placed 33rd despite coming in without a shoe. Kaden Hacker and Salim Lubbad kept Leif in their sights the whole way, working together to post times under 14 minutes. Jeffrey Breiling fell off the pace this time and raced with Noah LaBonte for the second mile. Noah had the better kick at the end to finish with a 14:18 time. Nathanael Chu raced in just 5 seconds behind Jeffrey. Tikvah Schlissel and Daniel Caspers stayed together the whole way until Tikvah pulled ahead from Daniel near the finish. Seka Kostrzewa started a run of five DASH athletes that came in right after each other. Seka was followed by Matthew Kowalinski, Ben Breitbach, Alexander Taylor, and Joshua Lipski. All those guys but Seka were in their first championship race. Ed Sherman raced in next, just ahead of Jacob LaBonte, and Bryant Farrell finished in 19:07. The boys ran pretty well, but are definitely a year or two away from being near the top. They finished 5th out of the 7 teams that scored.

Our high school girls were one of four good teams that would be vying for a top-2 team trophy. It would also be the last cross country race for long time DASH star Andrea Beck. Andrea got out fast and ran with the leaders through the first mile before settling into 4th place. She would hold her spot to the finish, running to an impressive 21:43 time. Three Chippewa Valley girls came in after Andrea making them the team to beat. Two Eagles girls were next followed by our own Kayla Bruton. Kayla took off and moved up in the last mile. It was enough to earn herself the 10th place medal. Her 22:34 time proved that her big run from last week was no fluke. Faith Caspers stayed close to Kayla through the first two miles and helped keep us in trophy contention with her personal best 23:10 time. Abby Chu never let Faith get more than a few seconds ahead. Her 23:12 time made us the team to beat for the 2nd trophy. We just needed Kayla Walters to get in. Kayla faded off the pace after the first mile, but picked it up just in time on the last loop. Her time was 24:04. Jessy Homa raced through the 5k course in a personal best 24:21. She came in ahead of the Eagles 5th runner boosting our lead over them to 4 points. The 2nd place trophy would be ours. Zipporah Caspers could not run at 100% because of a leg injury, but her great effort landed her a personal best 25:21 time. Katrina Lipski came to the finish in under 28 minutes once again as she finished up her good first season of high school racing.

The high school boys race was to be a battle between us and a very good NEWCHAA team. On paper we could not have been more evenly matched. DASH star Jacob Dickman and an Eagle broke away from the pack early. It would be a 2 man race the rest of the way. After some uncalled for elbowing and shoving from the Eagle through the first mile, Jacob got pushed back to second. Jacob held that spot to the end and finished with a great time of 16:36. Behind Jacob ran the first four NEWCHAA runners. We would have to get someone ahead of them or have their fifth runner fall much farther back if we were to win. Justin Chu stayed right behind the NEWCHAA pack, but they just stayed too strong all the way to the end. Justin’s great 17:40 time just wasn’t enough. The high school boys races have gotten so fast. Drake Hacker did his job staying close to Justin. He held his spot and was the top freshman in with a time of 17:51. Joe Hughes moved up in the last mile and with a roaring finish came in just two team points behind Drake with a personal best 18:07 time. We had John Sherman and Samuel Zinkgraf keeping their eyes on NEWCHAA’s 5th and 6th runners. In the last mile John and Samuel started moving well ahead of them and were able to put four guys in between them before it was done. The boys gave their best. It was time to count the points. NEWCHAA 37. DASH 41. So close again. Another 2nd place trophy would be ours. Lucas Ebel moved up to be our 7th runner in. Lucas joined us in the middle of the season and is just getting into top form. He could use a couple more meets. Joe Maurer, John Kowalinski, and Tim Kowalinski all broke 20 minutes. Joe and John have been great for us all season. It was good to see Tim get a result under 20. John Labonte got ahead of John Klaves just before the finish. Neither John had his best race of the year, but both are now posting nice times each time out. Ben Hughes had a very good day and lowered his best time to 21:32. Joshua Schaber came in just ahead of Will Farrell. Both Joshua and Will finished with personal bests in the low 22’s. Joshua Anumolu struggled with his breathing and could only give us a 23:37 this time out. Ben Fenelon finished off his first year of racing with a 24:20. It has been exciting watching this big 17 guy team running to fast times all year. Well done.

Thanks to everyone who made the trek to Verona. I hope the travel was worth it. Next year they are threatening us with Eau Claire. I am pushing back, and may end up with other plans for us. Thanks to Lindy Zinkgraf, Nancy Chu, Mary Beck, Hillery Farrell, Mike Schlissel, and anyone else who helped Kam with the post-race meal. It has never been better. Thanks to the camera crew of Bill Hacker, Juli Hacker, and Emily Caspers, who joined me in running around the course to catch all the action in photos. They came out very good. Thanks to Ed Beck for his help with the coaching and going to the coach’s meeting. And thanks to the athletes for giving the DASH fans plenty of opportunities to cheer you on.

Another year is done. A few of our athletes will be running individual events such as Foot Locker. For the others it will be a time to heal up, get some needed rest, and catch up on homework. The DASH Blog will be quiet now for awhile, but the seasons great stories and accomplishments will remain chronicled here and not be forgotten. The team will be very different next year. More different than we would like. Our seniors will move on to the next stage of their lives, and a new group of fresh faces will join the DASH veterans to work hard, set goals, become friends, and race. But first we have track and field in the spring. Invite a friend and have them join us as we work on making it another special season. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH cross country team was found at Brookfield Academy yesterday. The middle school team was on hand to race, and many of the high school athletes got together for their last practice. The middle school course ended up being well over two miles long giving us one last good workout before our big championship race this Saturday in Verona.

One big cloud came up that dropped some cold raindrops just before the girls race and had the team scurrying for cover. The meet was held back about 5 minutes to let it pass, and then the girls unwrapped and toed the line to race. Julianna Caspers and Stephanie Chu were our leaders, running within a few paces of each other the whole way. Julianna finished just 9 seconds ahead of Stephanie in 6th place. Hopefully Stephanie will be able to stay that close to Julianna again tomorrow. Julia Kowalinski did not let the distance bother her. She sped around the course in 17:53 to place 12th overall. Grace Caspers and Emma Taylor strided side-by-side for most of the way. Grace moved up before she hit the loop around the track and gave us another impressive finish. Emma handled the distance well and looks to be ready to take it up another notch. We had a two minute gap and then our girls started coming in fast. Zaela Schlissel led the next pack with some fast racing. She was followed by Cate Fenelon who really impressed the coach in her first race. She gives us yet another amazing 3rd grader to keep track of. Angela Walters and Hellena Hacker paced together and finished just a few seconds behind Cate. Naomi Zhou kept up a steady pace as usual. She was followed by Jenna Walters who gave us a good start and a good finish, and then Mary LeSac.

Vincent Maurer led our boys team once again. He got into 4th position early and made sure no one would pass. Jeffrey Breiling liked the long course as he battled to a hard fought 6th place finish. Caleb Schaber gave us a third runner in the top-10. His 14:57 time was good for 9th. Joshua LeSac pushed himself hard the whole way as usual and got the 12th place card. Leif Kostrzewa was our important 5th runner. We will be counting 5 at the championships, so we will need our top-5 to be at their best. Salim Lubbad finished just three seconds behind Leif. No course seems to slow him down. Noah LaBonte ran a strong, smart race once again. He has established himself as one of our top runners. Kaden Hacker and Nathanael Chu worked together throughout, and came in just seconds after Noah. Our boys team is very deep. Tikvah Schlissel moved up the second half of the race and impressed the coach. Ben Breitbach did his best racing at the finish once again. He always comes in just ahead of whoever challenges him. Daniel Caspers faded the second half of the race. Hopefully he is saving some for Saturday. Matthew Kowalinski stayed steady as usual. Alexander Taylor and Joshua Lipski paced together pushing each other to the finish. Jacob LaBonte thought his running earned himself the right to eat ice cream. The course was not as sure. Sean Seraphine competed well, as did Bryant Farrell. Micah Chan raced in just ahead of his brother Peter to finish up another solid day of DASH racing.

The team looks ready for some championship racing. The one thing that could take us down now would be our health. We need to do a better job getting the athletes to put on their sweats before and after their race, especially on these cold October days. Let’s hope no one comes down sick, and we bring our best tomorrow. Homeschool Championship cross country racing comes just once a year!

Thanks to Ed Beck and Xueping Clark for being our official scorers and for collecting the cards. Thanks to the high school team that worked out on their own. I had hoped to get them more attention. Thanks to the camera lady for getting the photos. Next on the agenda is to get everyone safely to Verona and ready to race. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH team was back in action for the 5th time in 10 days on Wednesday. It would be the middle school team’s turn to run in perfect fall weather, as they took the field for competition at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School. This meet has really grown, so it would be the team’s last big test before the championships on the 17th.

Julianna Caspers has always ran well on this course, but this time she did not have a very good start. She made up a little time on the loop behind the track, but her best racing was saved for the extended uphill trek on the backside of the soccer field. When Julianna turned the corner and eyed the finish, she had moved all the way up to 7th. Her kick proved too strong for a St. Paul’s Lutheran girl, and the 6th place ribbon was hers. The amazing Juju lowered her time by 15 seconds from last week. 10:51 would be the time to beat for the boys. Julia Kowalinski impressed us all again as she raced around the course in just 12:18. That put her in the top third, and let her take home the 39th place ribbon. Our special 3rd grade girls were hardly done. Grace Caspers took off over a minute and 20 seconds from her time last week. Grace put on a surge during the last loop around the soccer field that moved her all the way up to 45th. Zaela Schlissel cracked our top-4 for the first time and lowered her time by over a minute and a half from last week. We now had four of our 3rd graders in. They were backed up by 2nd grader Hellena Hacker who finished right behind Zaela. The effort given by these girls could not have been better. One of the most talented of our 3rd graders, Angela Walters, was next. She has fallen behind the others because of her lack of training, but she is starting to look fast again. Jenna Walters gave us her best race this season and looked good at the finish. Mary LeSac, another 3rd grader, cut off almost five minutes from her time last week. That was the best Mary has run in two years. It was good to see her staying close to the other girls. We finished 8th out of the 15 teams that scored.

The 6th and under boys race was very competitive with 19 scoring teams and 171 athletes. Leif Kostrzewa had been sick earlier in the week, but he worked his way through the crowd and cracked the top-30 with his 10:42 effort. After Leif’s finish, the DASH boys would start coming in fast. Kaden Hacker has been improving each time out. He paced close to Leif for the whole last loop and finished just a fraction of a second behind him in 32nd place. Salim Lubbad willed himself to stay close to Leif and Kaden. He received the 34th place ribbon for his great effort. Nathanael Chu pushed it as hard as he could from the start and did not drop back from Leif, Kaden, and Salim until the very end. His run was inspiring. Seka Kostrzewa was next. He got stuck running by himself most of the way which I don’t think helped him. Hopefully that means our big guys ahead of him are getting faster. Joshua Lipski’s hard work is paying off as he lowered his 2500 meter personal record by 29 seconds. Alexander Taylor has been one of our top runners all year, but he is running injured now. He is going to take a few days off, and we will see if he is available for the championships next week. Micah Chan had a great day. His times are really coming down, except when he paces his mom in fun runs, then he has to slow down some. Jacob LaBonte showed off his speed with a great finish. Bryant Farrell fell one second short of breaking 15 minutes. So close. Ethan Lindberg dropped his time all the way to 16:30. He is running now. The boys team placed 5th overall, which left 14 teams behind us.

Rebecca Dickman led our 7th and 8th grade girls from the start. She had trouble with a side-ache, but finished strong and received the 16th place ribbon. Stephanie Chu paced herself very well, put a smile on when running past the camera lady, and moved up late to finish 26th. She knows how to race. Emma Taylor pushed herself much better early, then stayed steady until showing off her speed at the finish. Her 12:58 time reflects her improvement. Sarah Lindberg came through with her best race. She kept her composure and came through in 14:39. Naomi Zhou finished just two places back from Sarah. The team finished in 5th place, just one point out of 4th.

Caleb Schaber has become one of our stars. Caleb pushed the pace early and never backed down until he crossed the finish line in just 9:58. His time and 16th place finish were the tops among our boys. Joshua LeSac kept up a relentless pace. His 10:35 time was his first under 11 minutes on this course. Noah LaBonte ran a smart, strong race from start to finish. He has improved so much, and may be one of our key runners at the championships. Daniel Caspers had his best race since the Elkhorn meet. He liked his 10:58 time. Tikvah Schlissel lowered his time from last week with a gutsy effort. Our boys are really getting fast. Sean Seraphine posted a nice 13:34 time and has never run better. Ed Sherman ran much faster than he did last weekend to cap off our boys team. The 7th and 8th graders placed 5th overall out of 11 teams.

The team is looking good as we head into our last week. Our times are coming down, and with the exception of Alexander, we are staying healthy. It is time to look ahead to the Homeschool Championship meet in Verona on the 17th. We have one more week to get in some good practices, which includes our middle school meet at Brookfield Academy next Thursday. It is more fun to run fast, so let’s make it fun.

Thanks to Ed Beck and Pete Dickman for their help in getting the athletes ready to race. Thanks to Ramsey Schlissel and Hillery Farrell for helping pass out the bib numbers. Thanks to all the athletes, parents, grandparents, and little kids who joined me for the fun run. Thanks to Daniel Caspers for being my pacer, and for being tired enough from his first run to let me beat him at the end. Thanks to the camera lady and Zipporah Caspers for getting the photos. They took a lot. We have finished our 5 meets in 10 days swing, but it is not time to rest yet, not with championship racing on the radar. You will not want to miss it. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was back at the St. John Northwestern Military Academy for the first time in five years yesterday. It was the team’s last regular season meet. Running on the golf course in the back of the school grounds on an almost windless, mid-60’s day, we were looking to post some very fast times. The team scores were looking to be tight, so we would have to be at our best to come away with a top-3 team trophy.

Our girls team got out fast with Andrea Beck leading the way as usual. As the race thinned out, Andrea was running up with the leaders in 5th place, and that is where she would stay as she finished with a personal best 21:27. Kayla Bruton made an inspiring charge after the mile mark, and moved all the way up to 8th place before she was done. Her time of 22:17 was less than a minute behind Andrea’s. No one has stayed that close to Andrea the last three seasons. Kayla Walters stayed ahead of all the St. Joseph girls and broke 23 minutes to give the team a 10th place finish. It was the breakout race from Kayla that I have been waiting for. Abby Chu came to the finish surrounded by nine St. Joseph girls. She beat all but one and gave us a very important 12th place finish. All eyes were now on Faith Caspers who had fallen behind the big pack about half way through the race. Faith finished with a decent time of 23:36, but she came in after St. Joseph’s and Watertown Luther Prep’s 5th runners, and Kenosha Christian Life was still in it after having placed their first 3 runners in the top 6. The race was too close to call. Zipporah Caspers pushed herself to a nice 25:41 time to place 38th. Katrina Lipski ran very well and edged Jessy Homa at the finish to be our 7th runner in. Jessy was not 100%, but she toughed it out and made it to the finish.

Jacob Dickman made his way to the front early in the first mile with three other athletes lurking close behind. In the last mile, Jacob had dropped all but one. This time Jacob had to settle for second as an University Lake school athlete proved too strong. Jacob’s time of 16:17 obliterated the old DASH record. All of the boys times would be good today. Justin Chu looked fast as he ran in the top-10 the whole way. His 17:15 time put him in 8th place overall. Drake Hacker stayed behind Justin for most of the way, and also came in in under 18 minutes. Drake gave us three in the top-12. John Sherman gave us his best race of the season. He never let up and gave us a great time of 18:37. Samuel Zinkgraf left no doubts that he would get under 20 minutes this time. He moved up in the last mile and finished just a few spots behind John with a time of 18:45. We now had five in. We would have to wait to see how the team scores would fall. John LaBonte took another great leap forward in his quest to run varsity. He held off Joe Maurer at the end to be our 6th guy in. Joe finished just two seconds behind John with a 19:04 time. We’ve never had a 7th runner run that fast. John Kowalinski ran one of his best races and gave us eight runners finishing in less than 20 minutes. John Klaves was just four seconds over 20 minutes as he continues to improve each race. Lucas Ebel saved a lot for the last mile. His times are really coming down now after his late start to the season. Tim Kowalinski faded some again this race. He will have 11 days to get ready for the Championships. Joshua Anumolu got his best time down by about 2 minutes. He is really running now. No one looked stronger at the end than Will Farrell. He is now running in the 22’s. Joshua Schaber and Ben Fenelon are also getting better with each race. To have your 14th and 15th guys running low 23’s is amazing.

I peeked at the boys team scores before the award ceremony again this race. I will have to break that habit if the points don’t start falling our way soon. The boys ended out of the trophies by one point, and we were out of 2nd place by just six points. Oh, so close once again. I had no idea how the girls were going to end up, but we were told the top-4 were very close which we already knew. The excitement started getting pretty intense once the 4th place team was announced and it wasn’t us. St. Joseph’s was announced as the 3rd place team. Their pack running did not quite put them on top. It was now down to Watertown Luther Prep and us, and I was as stunned as anyone when Watertown was announced next. Our girls had won! Our top four girls had never run better, and it was enough to give us an amazing victory. I have been on a mission to get our girls fast for the last five weeks, and now that they are running the times I knew they were capable of, it is still hard to believe. Pinch me at the today’s middle school meet and remind me it really did happen.

Thanks to all the DASH fans who lined the course to keep everyone running fast. The little girls who followed me around for the girls race were especially great, but where were they for the boys? Thanks to Mary Beck for getting everyone their bib number. Thanks to Ed Beck and Chuck Maurer for help with the coaching. Thanks to Grace Zinkgraf for taking most of the photos. Thanks to athletes for working so hard, and making it worthwhile for us to run around ourselves and cheer you on. The season has become very special, but we have one big meet left that we have to be ready for. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

We brought a big team of forty athletes to the Wisconsin Lutheran College Warrior Invite yesterday at Greenfield Park. The weather was cool, but nothing like the cold we have experienced here the last few years. A few minutes before each race, the sweats came off. It was once again time to race.

We had fifteen girls pack into our box 17. Eight of the girls are 4th grade or under, so the packing was not too tight. Julianna Caspers proved once again that little is not equivalent to slow as she moved herself steadily through the field and cracked the top-7 before it was done. Stephanie Chu kept Julianna in her sights through the first loop. It was good to have her back. Stephanie clocked in at 12:22, good for 25th place in the 7th and 8th grade race. Julia Kowalinski was one of our athletes that had a breakout day. She has been impressive each time out, but this time she was able to keep her eyes on Stephanie to the end, and race into the top-15. Yes, that gave us two 3rd graders in the top-15. Emma Taylor brought a friend to the race. Naturally I asked her if she would like to have a uniform. After a jog to my van, Katie Gorectke soon appeared as DASHing as ever, and despite wearing jeans stayed just ahead of Emma. Emma had one of her best days with Katie pacing ahead, so bringing a fast friend to the race is now highly recommended. Now to get Katie to race again. Plenty more of our fast little girls were next. Angela Walters brought her dad to the race which was a good sign that her effort would be better. Angela got out fast, getting the coach who was going through Angela racing withdrawals very excited, and then stayed steady to the finish. Grace Caspers, Hellena Hacker, Zaela Schlissel, and Savanna Bruton ran together through the first loop. Grace Caspers would move up and pass Angela before the finish, with Hellena, Zaela, and Savanna coming in right behind Angela. All the little girls were great, and that gave us seven 4th and under girls already finishing. How do you not look ahead a year or two with this group? Makenna Fisher and Naomi Zhou stayed close from start to finish and posted respectable times once again. Jenna Walters toughed this race out. She hurt her leg somewhere on the course. Mary LeSac showed off her speed as she stayed just ahead of Anabel Fisher at the finish line. All this excitement and we had not seen the boys race yet.

Our twenty-five boys that we lined up did have trouble fitting into our small box. The team in box 16 next to us would be squeezed some as our boys were anxious to get out fast. Vince Maurer was back and racing like a star once again. He raced around in 7th place most of the way and held it to the end. He would join Julianna on the medal stand. Caleb Schaber went out fast and showed no signs of fading this time. His kick at the end kept him in 11th place overall. He is now officially one of our stars. Jeffrey Breiling moved up and edged Joshua LeSac at the finish. These two posted good times despite not really having their best. That’s what good runners are capable of. Salim Lubbad was amazing. He came in just behind Joshua and was 13th overall in the 6th and under race. He is pushing the pace and helping our boys behind him run faster. Could this really be the same guy who didn’t want to run a 400 in track? Kaden Hacker put together his best race of the year. His 14th place finish as our 3rd 6th and under runner shows how fast these boys are running. Nathanael Chu gave us four in the top-19. Nathanael just never slows down. Noah LaBonte and Leif Kostrzewa ran strong, but not as strong as Monday. Noah and Leif gave us nine guys 11:36 or under. Seka Kostrzewa led the next group of DASH boys in. His 12:00 time was good for 27th place. Alexander Taylor followed close behind Seka with Tikvah Schlissel coming in two seconds later. It is fun seeing so much DASH yellow coming in fast. Daniel Caspers was not at his best. That will be worked on this week. Matthew Kowalinski got off to a very fast start, and finished just after Daniel. He is getting closer to our top guys now. Ben Breitbach gave us another strong race. Joshua Lipski followed with another good race of his own. He has not had a bad race yet. Jacob LaBonte has never run this well. The distance is becoming easier for him now. Christian Loustaunau is slowly getting his times down. Ed Sherman worked hard and broke 15 minutes. Bryant Farrell gave us his usual good race, and Peter Chan was back coming in a second behind Bryant. Adam Loustaunau and Micah Chan struggled through the course. Jose Rosario and Ethan Lindberg enjoyed their stroll through the woods until the coach reminded them they were racing today.

It is hard to monitor how the team is scoring during the race with all the grade levels running together. We ended up pretty good. Our little girls finished 6th overall as did the 7th and 8th grade girls. Our 7th and 8th grade boys placed 5th, and our 6th and under boys 3rd, just four points out of second. It is too bad the 6th and under boys could not count 5. No one could match our 5th and 6th runners. Let’s hope we get everyone up to Jackson this Wednesday for the next big meet and score well there.

Thanks to those who helped pass out the bib numbers. Thanks to Juli Hacker for hauling the green bin back full of the athletes sweats. Thanks to Ed Beck for his help with the coaching. The pictures did not turn out so well this time. They would not let the camera lady get very close to the finish. The photos I kept were a little thin, but worth checking out. We are down to our last two weeks now. We are running fast and having fun. Let’s hope we stay healthy now and do our best in the big meets coming up. Championship racing is on the radar now. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was in Racine yesterday to compete in the annual Prairie School Invite at Armstrong Park. It was a blustery, cool day, and the course was in meticulous shape and would be running fast. We have seen some very close team scores here in the past, and everything pointed to a repeat of that again. This meet is my favorite, and has been on my radar all season. The gun went off to start the girls at 4:15. At long last, it was time to run around the beautiful park and try to follow all the action.

We were only able to line up six girls, so the added pressure was on to have everyone run their best. The pace was surprisingly slow at the start, so Andrea Beck stepped up to pace the pack from the front. Andrea is really hitting her peak now and she maintained her great racing to the end to get a personal record 21:50 and place 6th overall. Faith Caspers put in another solid performance, coming in with a respectable 24:18 time, good for 18th. Kayla Walters stayed close to Faith once again, and moved up to 20th with her strong finish and a season best time of 24:46. Zipporah Caspers was able to run much easier this time and came through for us with her best race of the year. Jessy Homa broke 26 minutes for the first time this year and finished right behind Zipporah. Katrina Lipski stayed steady through the course and posted a good time. I wish she would have stayed to collect her 9th place JV medal. Our girls were impressive.

Jacob Dickman assumed the lead in the boys race coming back up the hill on the first loop, then he continually pushed the pace the next two miles, dropping everyone in the process. A Prairie athlete moved up just before the finish, but was never a real threat. Jacob would get his second victory in less than a week, this time with a personal best time of 17:14. His legend grows. Justin Chu was back with the team and gave us a second top-10 finish. His 18:30 time was good for 7th. Seen finishing just a few places behind Justin was freshman Drake Hacker. Drake has been running strong in practice, but his 18:36 time and 10th place finish surpassed expectations. He was the first freshman on any team to finish and he helped give us the strongest top-3 of any team. Speaking of team scores, the race was turning out to be a four-team battle. The top-10 were spread out among all the top teams leaving no one more than a few points ahead or behind. The race would be decided by the 4th and 5th runners. Joe Hughes was next in for us. His time of 19:34 was respectable, but the other teams were able to get too many athletes in ahead of Joe, who placed 27th. John Sherman ran much stronger this time out. His 19:56 time was his best of the season, which is a good sign that John is rounding into form. In the end, the top four teams all had their top-5 times add up to an hour and 33 minutes. It was oh so close, but the way the points landed gave the advantage to the team with the best 4th and 5th runners. That was Union Grove. Congratulations to them. Samuel Zinkgraf’s calf held up as he ran to his personal best time of 20:00.4. I am betting he gets under 20 minutes this Tuesday. He just has to! Joseph Maurer ran with Sam and John Kowalinski most of the way, and he also just missed going under 20 minutes with his 20:09. John followed with a 20:14. Our boys would be coming in fast now. John Klaves edged John LaBonte this time out and they got their times to show up red on, which means personal bests. Tim Kowalinski finished just ahead of Lucas Ebel. Lucas was our 6th JV runner to finish and he placed 13th overall. When you have 6 of the top 13, you dominate the team scores. The JV boys scored a very low 32 points, well ahead of Union Grove’s 60, while taking home 6 of the top-15 medals. Joshua Anumoulu runs better each time out. His time is down to 23:04. Ben Hughes was running with a cold and it showed. I hope to see him race like last Saturday again soon. Will Farrell broke into the 23’s. His hard work is paying off. Joshua Schaber had his best race thus far, as did Ben Fenelon who was racing his first race since Minooka Park.

The girls ran great. The varsity boys were close, and nobody could run with our JV boys. It was an exciting meet again this year, and we have grown into a team that should be in contention every year for the foreseeable future. We will give it another try next year. Now we have to prepare for the two remaining meets on our schedule. They should also prove to be very competitive. Let’s get ourselves in position to run our best and hope that the points come out in our favor next time. I hope to see you there.

Thanks to all the DASH fans who joined me in encouraging the athletes and keeping track of the race. Thanks to our coaching staff who was all on hand. Kudos to three former DASH athletes who all earned top-15 medals – Christian LeSac, Matthew LeSac, and Alex Navin. That comes out to six medal winners total in the varsity boys race that have current or former DASH ties. Kudos also to the new Eastbrook coach, DASH mom Jodi LeSac. She had her boys team running well, and got them to finish right behind us just as I had hoped. Thanks to the camera lady for getting us plenty of good photos. We have two more weeks to keep pressing forward. Let’s finish up with no regrets.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

  • 2018 Cross Country

  • 2017 Cross Country

  • Track 2017

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  • Track 2016

  • Cross Country 2015

  • Track 2015

  • Cross Country 2013

    Midwest Homeschool Champions - 2013

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  • Track 2012

  • Cross Country 2011

  • Cross Country 2009

  • Cross Country 2004

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