DASH High School Track 2016 Pacer Relays Meet Report

Hello DASH families,

Last Friday the high school team was at Union Grove high school to compete in the much anticipated Pacer Relays. It was supposed to be the teams’ third meet in three days, but because of the rainy, cold week everyone would arrive well rested. This is the coach’s favorite meet. Individual glory is put aside as our athletes work together, combining their talents to see how we stack up against the worthy competition. DASH records are usually set as the intensity drives the team to compete at its highest levels. It all adds up to a special night where memories that will last a lifetime are made.

When the heat sheets came out Thursday morning, we found both of our 4×1600 relay teams listed as the top seeds. We have never come out on top in any Pacer Relays event before. That would hopefully be changing this year, but we knew it wouldn’t happen if we did not bring our best. The Martin Luther team got out ahead of our 4×1600 team by about 100 meters through the first mile despite Kayla Walters running in the 6:20’s. We knew then we were in for quite a race. Faith Caspers and Zipporah Caspers raced through the next eight laps as fast as we expected, but the girls could not put a dent in Martin Luther’s lead. Andrea Beck took the baton for the last four laps and patiently and methodically cut the deficit down to about 25 meters before the bell lap. Andrea made her move to loud DASH cheers right in front of our tent with 300 meters to go. Her kick would not be matched. It took 16 laps to get the lead, along with a 5:47 effort from Andrea, but the girls did it. We had laid claim to our first 1st place Pacer Relay medals. The boys lined up next with Justin Chu getting out fast through the first two laps. Justin would put us in a close third through the first mile, before handing off to Drake Hacker. Drake soon passed the Martin Luther team. It was now a two-team race with Drake keeping the Shoreland Lutheran team in his sights. Briton Kostrzewa would then tuck in behind Shoreland’s third runner and stay that way for the first three laps. On Briton’s last lap, again with 300 meters to go right in front of our tent, he made his move to the front. Briton’s kick gave us a lead of over 50 meters as he got the baton to Jacob Dickman. That is right where we wanted to be. Jacob would never be threatened over the last mile as the boys laid claim to our second set of 1st place medals with a time of 20:20. Monumental! We had three girls jump the 100 hurdles. Grace Zinkgraf, Johannah Lee, Hannah Forget earned the team four points for their efforts which is what we had hoped when we formed that team. Our sprinters were next. Our 4×200 girls team of Nina Smrecek, Zoe Smith, Meg Mazza, and Kayla Bruton gave us a DASH record, finishing in 2:01, yet only finished 7th. The boys 4×200 team of Jeremy Marek, Ben Hughes, Westley Marek, and Samuel Zinkgraf broke a long standing DASH record by 3 seconds, yet took 8th. The competition was fast, and was pulling us along to some really nice times. Our girls distance medley team got started with an 800 leg from Kayla Walters. Abby Chu then ran a fast 400 meters, followed by Zipporah Caspers nice 4:42 split over 1200. With Andrea Beck ready to run another 1600 leg, we found ourselves not far back from the Martin Luther girls again, running in 3rd. Andrea Beck soon moved us up to 2nd and that is where the girls would finish. Our 14:47 time lowered they DASH record by 30 seconds. In the boys distance medley, Briton Kostrzewa got us into the lead through the first 800. Drake Hacker ran the next 400 and got the baton to Justin Chu just ahead of the Ronald Reagan team. Justin then proved too fast for the other athletes running the 1200. Jacob Dickman would once again get to run the last four laps with the lead. It was a tight race behind us, but we stayed well ahead of all that, crossing the finish line 14 seconds ahead with an amazing time of 11:55. It was a second set of 1st medals for the boys. The 4×100 was next, and our girls team of Hannah Forget, Jessy Homa, Johannah Lee, and Meg Mazza was impressive and got us the 5th place points with their 1:01 effort. Our boys team of Westley Marek, Ben Hughes, John Klaves, and Ben Bridge got the baton around the track in 53 seconds to take 7th. The sprint medley was next. We fielded a very strong girls team of Nina Smrecek, Kayla Bruton, Zoe Smith, and Abby Chu. The girls stayed very competitive and ended up a very close 4th place with their 2:10 time, breaking the DASH record by 8 seconds. When the 2nd place team was disqualified we were moved up to 3rd to capture some more medals. Medals and DASH records were coming our way on a steady basis. What fun! But then our boys sprint medley team of Westley Marek, John Klaves, Jeremy Marek, and Tim Kowalinski found the competition especially tough while taking 10th out of 11 teams. Our distance runners were back for the 4×800. Briton Kostrzewa and Justin Chu had enough left to put us in 2nd place through 4 laps, but the race was staying very close behind us. John Kowalinski gave us a personal best 2:29 split, but we fell back into 3rd. Jacob Dickman gave us an inspired surge at the finish, but this time we would come up short by .05 seconds. The boys would add some 3rd place medals to their haul. The girls 4×800 were seeded to place 3rd, well behind 2nd and well ahead of 4th and that is exactly how the race played out. Kayla Walters, Faith Caspers, Zipporah Caspers, and Andrea Beck ran the 8 laps in 11:46. We would not be pushed a DASH record this time, but we would get another set of top-3 medals. We were able to field very strong teams in the 4×100 Throwers relay. Our girls team of Nina Smrecek, Renee Walters, Meg Mazza, and Zoe Smith got the lead early and saw it only got bigger as the girls set a DASH record 58.81. The girls won the 1st place medals and the free hot dogs. Yummy! The boys team of Ben Bridge, Ben Hughes, Samuel Zinkgraf, and Jeremy Marek made a valiant effort for the hot dogs, but the Thomas More team was just a little hungrier. The boys settled for the 2nd place medals hoping the hot dogs would slow the Thomas More boys down for next year. Our girls 4×400 team of Abby Chu, Johannah Lee, Jessy Homa, and Kayla Bruton broke 5 minutes to take 4th overall. The boys 4×400 team of Tim Kowalinski, John Klaves, John Kowalinski, and Samuel Zinkgraf finished the amazing day of racing by coming in first in their heat. Well, the day was finished until the coaches were coaxed into the Coach’s Relay. The old coach, with his back hurting, got us off to a slow start. Then coach Dickman kept us slow through the 2nd leg. Tonya Bruton and Mr. Beck were able to give us a good finish. I was surprised at how much fun the athletes had watching us all. We will have to prepare better for next year. Practice on Tuesday.

Our field event teams got us some extra points, with one team nabbing our first ever top-3 medals. Our boys long jumpers were actually declared the winners for a while. John Klaves, Briton Kostrzewa, and Westley Marek’s jumps added up to over 45 feet. Jeremy Marek also jumped over 15 feet. PTTiming added our 4 boys together and they came out ahead of the other teams 3 jumpers. After taking Jeremy out the boys finished 8th. Our boys discus throwers also took 8th. Jeremy Marek got his discus just over 70 feet, while Samuel Zinkgraf and Ben Bridge were in the mid 60’s. We were short on shot putters, but Ben Bridge got his shot past 24 feet. We fielded a girls triple jump team for the first time. Renee Walters, Hannah Forget, and Johannah Lee had their jumps add up to over 75 feet to finish 5th. Our shot put team of Renee Walters, Zoe Smith, and Nina Smrecek impressed with their 7th place finish out of the 10 teams competing. Our discus team of Renee Walters, Andrea Beck, and Grace Zinkgraf finished a nice 5th place out 8 teams. Our girls long jump team captured the 3rd place medals with Kayla Walters and Abby Chu’s jumps adding up to over 25 feet. Kayla Bruton gave us another 14 feet 10.5 inches to win the meet with a DASH record setting jump. Wow! I wish we had photos of that jump.

Our boys finished up with 40 team points to place 7th. The girls earned 72 team points to place 4th, just behind Shoreland Lutheran’s 79 points, and Thomas More’s 77. A pole vault competition was added to the meet earlier in the week which Thomas More won and Shoreland Lutheran placed 2nd. Take the pole vault out and our girls would have moved up to second. Oh, so close, but that’s the way it goes.

The team competed exceptionally well. We had nine DASH records set. Looking back I am not sure how we could have done much better. I was a little worried during the girls 4×1600 that the day would have us coming up just short, but Andrea’s comeback in the 16th lap squashed those doubts and then the team rolled through the meet and kept the great results coming. I did not find out about the girls long jump until after the meet, so the epic results continued even after the meet for me. I hope everyone enjoyed it, and appreciate the effort the athletes gave us.

Thanks to Mr. Beck and Pete Dickman for helping inspire the athletes to compete at their best. Thanks to the DASH fans for spurring the team on. It was no accident that our base is where the team started moving up in many of the races. Thanks to the Shoreland Lutheran team for hosting such a top-notch meet that I have come to hold so dear. Thanks to the camera lady who captured the excitement in photos. I actually forgot the camera, then Renee Walters was going to bring it, but she also forgot it. But Andrea Beck came through for us by bringing her camera and letting us use it. What a relief! The team still has three meets left. We get to see what this team can do for an encore.  I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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