Hello DASH families,

The full DASH cross country team was at Minooka Park yesterday competing in the Waukesha Cross Country Festival. We would be facing some of our toughest competition of the season in some very warm and steamy conditions. About 1000 athletes would toe the starting line in the six races. Not all would finish. It was also our first chance to get a look at our promising middle school team. It was a long day full of gritty efforts with a few casualties mixed in along the way. The sweaty details are below.

The JV girls got the racing started at 8:30. Katie Gorectke was getting her run in early so she could get back to dancing later in the day. Katie was in the top-10 early, but then sprained her ankle going up the big hill to the mile mark. She was carted back to the finish. Her day of racing and dancing was done. Katrina Lipski made it through the course and really handled the humid conditions well. She is primed to post some very nice times. Naomi Zhou made it to the start for the group photo this time, and finished well after a slow start.

We ran three boys in the JV race, but only two made it for the group photo.  Ben Hughes looked much better this time out. Ben moved up in the last mile to post a 21:52 time. Joshua Schaber ran well early on, but the heat did get to him by the last mile. Ben and Joshua will be moving up to the varsity team next race. Theodore Flunker made it to the start just before the gun went off and ran well for about half the race, but then he had to drop out. Fortunately, no long term issues to report on Theodore.

It was now 10 am and the heat index continued to increase. The varsity girls were led by Kayla Bruton early, but the Chu sisters caught up to her through the second mile.  Then a determined Kayla refused to let the heat slow her down. She charged up the last hill like she has done so often in practice and was our first runner in with a 23:11. Abby Chu ran a very steady 23:20. She is primed for a great second half of the season. Stephanie Chu struggled a little the last mile, but still posted a 23:45. Our star freshman is going to like the next couple races where she will be racing near the front.  Alivia Kempf  was our 4th runner once again. Her current pacing is looking routine. She may be due for a breakout race. Faith Caspers was running close behind Alivia, but the heat got to her running around the pond and she needed to be carted to the finish. The heat had claimed another victim. Emma Taylor moved up to be our 5th varsity scorer for the first time. The coach is liking her effort and results. Jessy Homa ran inspired and was one of the few athletes who finished strong despite the hot, sunny conditions going up the big hill. Ella Johnson used this race more as a practice. This is not her favorite course. The next meet’s course is.

The varsity boys warmed up in the shade. It was hard to be anywhere else at 10:45. This was not going to be a race for personal records. Brian Durbin and Caleb Schaber stayed together the first half of the race. Brian made it to the finish first, but both ran very well in keeping their times in the 19’s. Vincent Maurer did not let the heat slow him down much and was our 3rd runner in. Very nice! We need Vince to come up big for us the next four meets. Tim Kowalinski looked good for awhile, but the sunny last mile slowed him down into the 21’s. Drake Hacker really struggled late with his breathing, but he did make it to the finish. I am not too worried about Tim and Drake bouncing back and having good races for us down the stretch. John Klaves also survived and came in soon after Drake. Seth Holter was seen limping at the half way point and he did not finish. Seth may need to take some time off and get back to 100%.

The middle school girls were next. The heat on the shorter 1.4 mile course would not play as big a role as it did in the high school races. Julianna Caspers started out conservatively, but moved up some around the pond. Then Julianna gave us an inspiring finish going up the hill to move up to 8th overall with a 10:37. Joy Rasch got her season off to a great start with a steady, medal-winning 24th place finish with her 11:37.  Bedalia Radtke showed off her nice stride to the DASH fans for the first time. She was our third runner in. Yes, she really is already that good. Grace Caspers worked hard the second half of the race to be our 4th runner in. Hopefully we can count on her to post some great times this year. Savanna Bruton looked inspired going up the hill and hit the finish line right behind Grace. Angela Walters felt the heat at the end, but persevered. Hopefully Angela has a couple big races in her this year. Talia Kostrzewa, just 5 years old, is no longer a future star. She made an instant impact as our 7th runner in her debut race. It is going to be hard not to compare her to a certain young DASH star with initials JC who was also very good at that age. Mary LeSac had a respectable race. She has been practicing well and looks ready to have a nice season. Natalie Radtke did very well in her first attempt at racing. She has a lot of talent and should only get better in the weeks ahead. Hannah Schaefer stayed steady and never faltered. She has been improving each week. Alexa Bruton showed good effort. With a little more practicing she will be very good. Hellena Hacker ran a steady race. With a little more inspiration she could have a big season ahead. Jenna Walters posted a decent 15:13 time. The coach was very impressed with this young and talented group of girls.

The middle school boys needed little inspiration from the coach. They just wanted to race. Ethan Blischke got out fast and never let up. He was the 2nd boy to the finish line and was clocked at 8:19. That’s racing! Alexander Taylor stayed near the leaders the whole way and placed 4th overall. Alex is exuding running confidence and is primed for a big year. Nathanael Chu always goes all out. This time that put him in 19th place with a 9:34. Leif Kostrzewa finished a step behind Nathanael. That gave us four boys in the top-20 and four medal winners. Nice! Kaden Hacker posted a respectable 10:17 time for 39th place. We will need him to keep improving in the weeks ahead. We could be trophy contenders. Matthew Schaber fell back some at the end, but made it in as our 6th runner. He is much improved since track season. Silas Johnson showed off his strength with a great charge up the hill. Micah Chan has never run better, and he is making it look easy. He will be one to watch. Josiah Chu, Charlie Johnson, and Noah Caspers gave us a great trio of 4th and under runners. They pushed each other to some great times. The coach and the DASH fans were very impressed with their efforts. Veteran Joshua Lipski had a descent first race. He is bouncing back from some sort of sickness. Abiah Radtke got out fast, but had some problems going around the pond. He will be posting some much better results later in the year. You can trust me on that. The boys were announced as the 2nd place team, finishing just 3 points our of 1st. Well done, guys!

The high school team now needs to keep its attention on the big races ahead. They are running better than today’s times show. We will be one of the favorites in our next two races. It is time to start peaking. The middle schoolers have gotten everyone excited with their showing. They have a much flatter, faster course coming up.  It should lead to some exciting racing. I hope to see you there.

Thanks to all who helped pass out and collect the timing chips. I know my wife, Julianna and Grace Caspers, Mrs. Chu and Mrs. Walters all helped out. I am sure there were more. No more chips this year. Thanks to Ed Beck and Chuck Maurer for their help with the coaching. Thanks to Ed Beck, Dawn Kempf, and former DASH star Matthew Hughes for helping get splits for the high school races. I was the photographer again which means something went wrong. My camera was somehow on the wrong setting so the photos are a bit sparse. Fortunately Mike Childers, Emma and Alexander Taylor’s grandfather, sent me some of his photos. They were very good. Thank you, Mr. Childers. And thanks to Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Kempf for helping take care of some of our running casualties. Hopefully we will see everyone back running again soon at full speed. Can you believe we our down to our last four weeks now. Enjoy it while you can.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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