Hello DASH families,

The full DASH cross country team competed in the very competitive Waukesha Cross Country Festival last Saturday at Minooka Park. The high school team would be facing mostly Division 1 schools, and the middle school team went up against a couple of all-star teams running under the West Bend West and Wisconsin Lutheran names besides the usual good teams we face here. Overall, we would be up against our stiffest competition of the year with hopes that it would bring out our best, and toughen us up some for the last four big weeks of racing left on our schedule.

Katrina Lipski led the JV girls around the course in the first race of the day at 8:30. Katrina put together one of her best races ever as she hit the finish in 28:35. If I have to leave her on JV, she should be near the front in all our remaining races. Sandrelee Velez led Shariah Hyler up the big hill to the finish, but Shariah came in just ahead as they went down the short hill to the finish. The girls times were both in the 32’s, cutting off close to 4 minutes from their times last week. Very good progress, girls.

Jacob Parker got off to an amazing start in the boys JV race, running in about 3rd place at the half mile mark. But then, unfortunately, he would be slowed by an ankle sprain and hobble in with a 27:46. If Jacob can heal up and be ready for the next race, he will be running with the varsity squad. Matthew Schaber gave us another steady race, making it to the finish unscathed in 22:55. He looked pretty fresh at the end which means he is ready to push his times down much lower. John Shane was in his first cross country race, and handled the very tough Minooka Park course pretty well. He has some talent. He just needs more practice time.

The varsity girls took the next shot at conquering Minooka. Abby Chu proved up to the task as she flew through the course in just 21:46. That was good enough to get her a top-20 medal, the team’s first ever at this big meet. Wow! Stephanie Chu was 29th overall with a personal record 22:18. Those who set personal records at Minooka are ready for a big second half of the season. Keep your eyes on Stephanie. Alivia Kempf’s 23:07 time was faster than any of our girls ran last year, meaning the girls were having an epic day thus far, but the Minooka course bit back and it was Katie Gorectke who was the victim. Like Jacob before her, Katie rolled her ankle after a good start and never did make it to the finish. Emma Taylor toughed out a 26:23, and to her credit wouldn’t let Faith get by her, but the Minooka course did wear on Emma. Faith ran well for awhile, coming in just a fraction of a second under 27 minutes, but her best times of the season remain future. Ella Johnson was moving up on Faith near the end and settled for a 27:15. Now she can look forward to one of her favorite courses next. Naomi Zhou missed the JV race, but we found room for her in the varsity race. She was a little over matched, but did manage a season best time. When the points were counted the girls came in with a very respectable 11th place finish. I think I sense big things ahead for the girls.

Caleb Schaber led the varsity boys once again, finishing with a routine 18:44. We will need Caleb to come up even bigger in the weeks ahead, and I think he will prove up to the task. Drake Hacker looked confident while running to a 19:15 time. He is slowly working his way up close to Caleb now. I like that. Kaden Hacker is really turning heads each time out. He battled until the very end, and maybe even left the Minooka course a little humbled, moving up to finish just a split second behind Drake while setting a personal record in the process. As I said earlier, those who set personal records at Minooka are ready for a big second half of the season. Keep your eyes on Kaden. So far, so good, but at Minooka it rarely ends up all good. For the third race in a row, an ankle sprain would slow us down. Alex Taylor would be the latest victim. Alex would finish, but his 20:45 put him almost 2 minutes off his best. Joshua Schaber and Vincent Maurer both had descent races, but ended up in 100+ place running in such a tough field. They will stack up much better in our races ahead. If Alex can bounce back fast, the boys look to be ready to have a big second half.

Our long day continued. We were on to the middle school girls. Julianna Caspers stayed near the leaders and broke 10 minutes over the 1.4 mile course. That effort earned Julianna the 2nd place 6th grade medal. Bedalia Radtke really picked it up after a conservative start, and was the next 6th and under girl to hit the finish line. A 10:54 from Bedalia won her the 3rd place medal. Very nice. Mary LeSac proved her great result from her first race was no fluke. She followed it up with an 11:44 12th place finish. Our 6th grade team score was looking good. And our next girl in was another 6th grader. Julia Kowalinski made her season debut with an 11:50. Not too bad, but long-time star Julia should be even better in the meets ahead. Julia was followed by yet another 6th grader, Grace Caspers. Grace is getting fast now and hopefully putting her knee issues behind her. Just like that, we had our first five 6th grade division athletes in. Our team score was complete. When the results were posted, the girls had overwhelmed the competition, winning the 6th grade race by 30 points with a team score of just 40 points. Our young girls are living up to their potential so far this year. Rebecca Anderson and Jenna Walters ran close through the course with Rebecca coming out just ahead. Both girls posted 13:38 times. These two 8th graders are very close and should push each other all season. Alexa Bruton posted a 14:08 and remains close to really pushing her time down. Natalie Radtke went out really, really fast down the big hill, and then really fast up the big hill on the way back. Once she gets better at the middle part of a race she will be a star. Mary Claire Egan picked a tough course for her first cross country race. She showed us some potential and posted a nice 16:25 time.

The middle school boys were saved for last and they did not disappoint. Abiah Radtke had a fantastic finish, edging Zackery Meyer at the line with both boys posting identical 8:49 times. This was Zackery’s first DASH race, and he was impressive. Zackery can make it to the Saturday races, so hopefully we will see more from him in the weeks ahead. But as good as Abiah and Zachery ran, they just missed out on the medal stand. The 8th grade division was amazingly tough this year with the top 15 boys all being in that division. Nathanael Chu on the other hand posted a routine, for him, 9:07. That time ended up getting the 1st place 7th grade medal, and he won it by 16 seconds! Oh, yeah! Micah Chan impressed the DASH fans once again. His charge up the hill moved him up to 19th place in that overly tough 8th grade division. Our really good little boys started coming in next. Josiah Chu was the first to hit the finish this time. His 10:35 kept him ahead of Charlie Johnson and Noah Caspers. Charlie recovered from a slow start to place right behind Josiah in the 6th grade race. Noah really pushed Josiah and Charlie along, with our star 3rd grader posting a very nice 10:54 time. I would say some more nice things about these three, but they were really four, as 2nd grade Ephraim Radtke made his DASH debut in style. Ephraim showed off his immense talent, moving up considerably as the race went along and hitting the finish in 11:18. Compare these four boys times to the award-winning girls times and you will see how fast these guys were going. So impressive! Silas Johnson powered his way to a nice 11:27 time. He looked pretty good for a first race of the season. Joshua Lipski was our last runner in again, and yet he is running so well. Our boys this year are all running in the top half of the race, and that has me bragging a lot. Well done, guys.

In such a big meet we were bound to have a few disappointments mixed in, but after finally getting through writing about all the six races above, I am a little overanxious to get on to our next meets. This is turning out to be one of my hardest working teams, and the fruits of their labor is becoming more apparent each time out. Wednesday middle school, and Friday high school meets are next up. I hope to see you there.

There is too much running around at this meet for me to do it all myself, so thanks go out to Mr. Beck and even Mrs. Kempf for their help with the coaching. I saw a lot of great pictures of DASH fans cheering the athletes on, many of who were even wearing DASH yellow. Thanks to all of you. Getting photos at Minooka is a truly big task. I always have to run around and take many myself, but I had Grace Caspers and Julianna Caspers helping out in the JV races, and Zipporah Caspers saved my day by taking the majority of the photos in the other four races. Special thanks to them. The photos turned out mostly good, so be sure to check them out.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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