Hello DASH families,

The DASH cross country team, both high school and middle school, competed in the very big, and very competitive Waukesha Cross Country Festival at Minooka Park this past Saturday. This meet was added to our schedule just last week after the Mayville meet was cancelled. The humidity was over 90% when we started, and our times were definitely slowed by the muggy weather, but overall we held our own against some of the best teams in the area.

Emma Taylor and Naomi Zhou got the day started at 8:30 in the Girls JV race. Emma ran very well overall, but her time still came in over 29 minutes. I knew then it would be a struggle for any of the athletes to get a season best in these conditions. Naomi Zhou did accomplish the feat by cutting off over 2 minutes from her time two weeks ago on the same course.

In the boys JV race, Joshua Schaber, Ben Hughes, and Seth Holter pushed each other to some season best times. Joshua raced through the course in 21:31, with Ben and Seth just seconds behind. These boys are running great, and giving us some much needed depth. Joshua Anumolu posted a nice time in the 22’s. Look for him to go even lower in the meets ahead. Zachary Pape got off to a great start, but slowed up bit toward the end. With some cooler weather his times will be coming down. Ben Bridge got through his first cross country race and broke 24 minutes. He could be pretty good for us the last two meets. Zachary Werner definitely felt the effects of the heat this time out. He will enjoy the cooler meets coming up. Miles Talbert broke 30 minutes as he continues to improve. It was a very impressive showing from the JV boys.

Abby Chu led the varsity girls once again, this time with a routine 23:12. She is running with confidence, and did not push herself too hard this time. Kayla Bruton looks to be ready for a big second half of the season. She gave us a season best 24:01. Rebecca Dickman has never looked better. She has been practicing well and her times are falling fast. 24:30 is her new standard, but it will be much lower than that soon. Faith Caspers is getting up to be speed, slowly. We will need her to be running at her best the rest of the way. Jessy Homa has been coming through for us as our 5th runner each time out. Hopefully her times will be pushed lower and lower for her to stay there. Zipporah Caspers struggled a little in the last mile, but is running pretty good right now. She may be ready to have a big finish to her senior season. Ella Johnson paced behind Zipporah the whole way. I have her running varsity because I know there is a chance she will have a breakout race before the season is out. Kayla Walters has never struggled like this before. She will be one of our stars. Let’s hope it is this season.

Justin Chu led the boys varsity with an 18:13 time. Justin looks to be staying healthy, and should be ready to run near the lead pack in our smaller meets ahead. Joe Maurer moved up as the race went along to be our second runner in. His time of 20:03 was not stellar, but should be better when he can chase Drake and Brian around. Tim Kowalinski gave us his best race of the year. He was the one varsity athlete that improved his time from two weeks ago. Caleb Schaber has not had a bad race yet and has stayed in our top-5 each time out. Well done from the freshman. Vincent Maurer gave us a second freshman in our top-5. Vincent is always able to move up in the last mile. That is a good skill to have. Lucas Ebel and John Klaves stayed together the whole way. They are two of our most talented runners, and we will need them to keep improving in the weeks ahead.

We ran six boys in the middle school race. Alexander Taylor raced to a 4th place medal in the 7th grade division with a time of 9:18 over the 1.4 mile course. Alex has been our top middle school boy thus far, but we have plenty of others staying close behind him. One of those is Nathanael Chu. Nathanael also made the medal stand with his 5th place effort among the 6th graders. Joshua LeSac, coming back from a toe injury, ran well. He broke 10 minutes and should only get better each race. Daniel Caspers did not have a great start, but he pushed hard at the end to give us a good race. Silas Johnson donned DASH yellow for the first time. He went out conservatively, and charged up the hill for a good finish. He could be very good if we can keep him racing. Micah Chan finished in 12:10 as all of our boys ran well.

Stephanie Chu blazed to a 9:46 time to place 10th in the very competitive 8th grade race. That effort got her called up to the medal stand once again. Julianna Caspers moved up as the race went along and ended up 5th overall among the 6th graders. Julia Kowalinski got off to great start down the hill and then maintained a fast pace to the finish to earn the 6th place medal. Savanna Bruton put together a very impressive race. She broke 12 minutes and was our third 6th grader in. Heidi Talbert out-kicked Grace Caspers and Joy Rasch at the finish as all three girls posted some nice low 12 minute times. Mary LeSac gave us one more great run as our little girls really impressed. We also had a late addition to our roster as 2nd grade Abby Taylor decided to run for the first time. With some coaxing, especially up the hill at the end, she made it to the finish and showed us all the potential to be very good soon.

When the long day of racing was over, we could look back and take away plenty of positives. Despite missing Drake Hacker, Brian Durbin, and Samuel Zinkgraf, three of pre-season top-5, the boys held up very well. We still have plenty of JV boys waiting to step up in case we run into any more catastrophes. The high school girls are very close now to putting together a great race. I am confident it will happen in our big meets ahead. The middle school team has turned out to be very good, and really capped the day off on a high note for me. They just need to stay healthy as the team does not have the depth that the high school team has. The next three weeks will provide plenty of theatrics and exciting results. It is going to be a whirlwind of action. Hopefully everything will fall into place. I hope to see you there.

Thanks to Mary Beck for keeping tabs on the chip timers. That is always hectic work. Thanks to Ed Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to the athletes for running hard in the humid conditions. The photos are never easy to get at Minooka, but the camera lady and I did our best. Be sure to check them out. Now to start thinking about our next practice and the meets ahead.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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