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

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  • Cross Country 2011

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