DASH High School Cross Country 2017 Prairie Invite Meet Report

Hello DASH families,

Thursday was the day for the annual Prairie Invitational, the meet the coach always looks forward to the most. There were 11 teams on hand, and the scouting report would have us as one of three teams in contention for the team trophies. The weather was a sunny 70 degrees with low humidity, making it a perfect setting for the athletes and for the fans to watch some exciting racing on the beautiful and hilly Armstrong Park course.

The girls lined up at 4:15, and after a couple of glitches, the gun finally went off. Surprising, Union Grove had not brought their varsity team, and it was soon apparent that our main rival would be the host Prairie School team. Kayla Bruton was the early leader with Abby Chu and the rest of the team all staying close together near the front, challenging the other teams to keep up.  As the girls passed the park, the Prairie girls had tightened up the race considerably with one of their girls getting ahead of Kayla and one running just in front of Abby, but as of yet they had no answer for the strong running from Stephanie Chu, Faith Caspers, and Alivia Kempf.  Past the two mile mark, Abby Chu had moved past the Prairie girl ahead of her and was looking strong, while Kayla was keeping them in her sights. Stephanie Chu was running well and taking care of things with no Prairie girls close to her, but the 3 and 4 Prairie girls were now moving up and getting closer to Alivia and Faith.  A Prairie girl won the race. Abby Chu’s 21:58 put her 3rd overall behind a Brookfield Academy girl who ran on an incomplete team, Fourth place went to the number 2 Prairie girl, with Kayla Bruton finishing just four seconds later with a personal record 22:09. Stephanie Chu moved up into 6th place in the last mile. Prairie had no one who could stay close to Stephanie, but Prairie’s next two girls were on the move, getting ahead of Faith and closing in on Alivia. If both girls could get by Alivia the race would tip in their favor, but all their efforts would be for naught as Alivia would not be passed. Faith finished comfortably ahead of the 5th Prairie girl. Victory was ours!  The girls had won the Prairie Invite for the first time. Of course we had plenty of hard running from our other girls. Our talent runs much deeper than just 5. Jessy Homa was chosen to run JV by the slightest of margins this time, but will be back with the varsity team next week. Jessy’s victory in the JV race by 23 seconds was impressive! Ella Johnson came in next with a 26:21. She has been practicing much better than that. Emma Taylor had the strongest finish among the girls and finished with a 26:30. She knows she’s capable of a little more. Katrina Lipski looked very good again, better than her 29:44 time reflects. She earned the 9th place JV medal. Naomi Zhou earned the 14th place JV medal with her personal best 34:05. With better starts Naomi could bring that time down considerably.

Just like the girls, the boys main competitor would be The Prairie School, the defending champion. Brian Durbin, Drake Hacker, and Caleb Schaber all got out to strong starts, but it did not take long to see that the Prairie boys would be unstoppable this time out. Coming around by the park past the mile mark, Prairie was holding down the top 4 spots, with their 5th also running strong. Near the end Prairie was gunning for a perfect score, but Brian Durbin moved up late to break that up.  Brian clocked in at 18:37 for 5th overall. Caleb Schaber was running ahead of Brian up until about the 2 1/2 mile mark. Caleb went on to take 8th overall with a 18:47 time and was top sophomore or freshman in the race. Drake Hacker made the medal stand with his 13th place finish. Vincent Maurer moved up through the last mile to come in right after Drake with a personal record 19:26. Vince keeps improving each race. We need that. Tim Kowalinski cracked to the top-20 with his 19:50. John Klaves moved up near the last hill to be our 6th runner in. His 20:54 time was a little off from his last few meets. Ben Hughes needed a strong finish to stay just ahead of Joshua Schaber with a season best 21:02. Joshua Schaber followed with his own season best 21:07 good for the 7th place JV medal. Seth Holter’s ankle held up to the end this time and got the 8th place JV medal. Theodore Flunker got out fast and looked great, but then he hit the wall and made it in with a 25:14. Look for his time to come way down next meet.  The boys took second overall, 37 points behind the impressive Prairie boys, and 40 points ahead of the third place team which must have made us look pretty impressive to them.

Thanks to Mr. Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to all the DASH fans. We had a very nice contingent making it down to Racine. Thanks to The Prairie School for hosting and for the invitation to race. Thanks to the camera lady along with Grace Caspers and Julianna Caspers for getting the photos.  We are now down to our last two meets. Everything is important this late in the year. It is sure to be exciting. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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