DASH High School Cross Country 2018 Trojan Invite Meet Report

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was at the Mitchell Park Domes yesterday to compete in the annual Trojan Invite. The team has raced this meet every year since we have had a high school team, so this would be our 11th time here. The race is a little smaller now than it was years ago, and they changed the course about four years ago after some construction at the park. But the meet has remained a place where we can get in a mid-season race against some smaller teams, win some awards, have fun in the more relaxed atmosphere, enjoy the setting of the Domes in the background, and help us get ready to peak for our big end-of-season meets left on the schedule.

The combined boys and girls JV race was first at 4 PM, but traffic was bad and only two of our girls made it to the start. Shariah Hyler got out fast, and then after the usual ups and downs of an athlete that has only been doing cross country for a few weeks, showed off her nice stride at the finish and lowered her personal record by over a minute. Shariah’s 31:28 won her the 6th place ribbon. She could be really good if she sticks with it. Naomi Zhou had her best race of the year. She was tired at the end after pushing herself to a season best time of 33:18, and won the 12th place ribbon. Many teams ran their whole teams in the JV race, so the girls 6th and 12th place ribbons were hard earned. Unfortunately, Jacarie Rucker could not get out of school in time, and was unable to stay for the varsity race. I would have loved to see him run.

The girls varsity race was very small this year after so many teams foolishly ran their best girls in the JV race, but we did have just enough fast girls line up with us to help push us along. Abby Chu may have been the one exception. No one pushed her for long. Abby broke away from the pack before the half mile mark and never looked back. In the windy, cool conditions so unlike last year, Abby kept up her relentless charge all the way to the finish, lowering her own DASH 5k record with a 21:31. That was fun to witness. Stephanie Chu made her own break away in the last mile and came to the finish all by herself while claiming the 2nd place medal for the second consecutive year. Stephanie’s 22:04 effort was so impressive. Alivia Kempf stayed strong throughout, and finally dropped a very good Greenfield girl down the home stretch to finish 3rd place by nine seconds with a personal record 22:22. These three girls were amazing. Terez Wycklendt finally made it to the starting line after missing our first four meets with some foot and knee issues. The expectations for Terez were super high after she won our team race back in mid-August, but she followed the game plan and did not push herself too hard this time out. Terez stayed with Stephanie and Alivia for over a mile before dropping back and holding down 5th place. A Carmen girl was coming up on Terez fast and gave her a race at the end, but Terez proved too strong. The 5th place medal was hers with a nice time of 23:48. Well done. If Terez can finish three more times for us this year we will be ecstatic and relieved. Emma Taylor looked so good out there you would have thought it was track season. Emma kept her arms pumping the whole way and hardly looked tired while posting a big personal record of 24:30 to place 8th. Our 5th spot is becoming a strength with running like that. Ella Johnson really pushed herself at the start, and then got in a nice rhythm which she maintained to the finish. Ella has worked hard, and is in top form now as her personal record 24:52 time shows. The 9th place medal was hers. Was Ella really on the JV team the first meet? That seems a long time ago. Faith Caspers found herself running all by herself like she often does for some reason. She finished with a season best 26:22 for 10th which is encouraging. Hopefully her time will be coming down a lot more in the big meets ahead where the fields will be much bigger. Katrina Lipski lined up with the varsity runners and broke 28 minutes while winning the 12th place medal. Katrina was superb, and everyone was so happy to see her come away with a varsity medal. That also made it a clean sweep for us, with all 8 of our varsity girls winning top-15 medals. We have never done that before. These girls were special.

The boys varsity race was a little smaller this year as well, but the competition mixed it up with us pretty well. Caleb Schaber broke away from the pack early just like Abby did, but then a very good Messmer athlete started making his move toward the front through the second mile. Caleb and the Messmer boy would jockey for position the rest of the way, all while getting about a full minute ahead of everyone else. It was fun to watch Caleb battling for the win, but he would have to settle for a big personal record time of 17:48 and the 2nd place medal this time. Caleb looks to be ready for a big finish, and we will need that from him. Alexander Taylor got into good position early and then put it on cruise control. He was impressive after having ankle issues last race. His 18:46 won him the 3rd place medal. There would be three freshman in the top-6 with Alexander being the first one to the finish. Drake Hacker put in a good workout. He ran comfortably in 4th most of the way without getting pushed much. Drake also looks to me to be ready for a big finish. Kaden Hacker was running in the top-10 the whole way, and he did find a few athletes to battle with. Kaden came through with his usual big finish, moving up to 6th by the time he was done. That gave us 4 of the top 6. All the DASH fans liked that. Our 5th runner in was sophomore Jacob Parker, running varsity for the first time. Jacob really came through for us as we started without Joshua Schaber this time out. Jacob is running with confidence, and is looking so good out there now. He lowered his personal record by over a minute with his 20:48 and got himself on the medal stand with a 14th place finish. It was the fifth medal for the boys. The first place trophy would be ours again. Matthew Schaber was also running varsity for the first time and made the most of it. He lowered his best time by over a minute and a half with his 21:18 17th place finish. This was the breakout race we have been waiting for. Well done. Vincent Maurer was on his way to another top-15 finish, but was then slowed by a side cramp, and ended up with a 23:05. Vince was running his best race of the year for the first two miles, so I am not too concerned about one of our long-time stars. John Shane lined up with the varsity boys after arriving too late for the JV start. He is a week or two away yet of really putting a full race together. He posted a 28:14 time. That will be coming way down as he gets in some more practices.

We won both team trophies as expected, but the important thing is the trophies were won on a day where we ran very well. The weather was perfect for running fast for 3 miles, and we made the most of it with 11 of our 18 athletes setting personal records. We are obviously peaking now as we should be, and that can only get you a little more excited about the final three weeks of the season. Thursday in Racine is next on the schedule. We are always one of the contenders down there, but it is never easy. We will have to run like we did today, and maybe a little better to come out on top. The course is a great one to watch a race develop.  I hope to see you there!

We had a great group of DASH fans lining the course. Thanks to everyone for doing what they can to keep the athletes energized. Thanks to the athletes for giving such great effort while showing off their talents. Thanks to Mrs. Kempf, Mr. Maurer, and Mr. Beck for their help with the coaching. Thanks to Joshua Lipski and Mr. Beck for being our official scorers. They were flawless. Thanks to the camera lady, along with Julianna and Grace Caspers, for helping me get some great photos. And thanks to Emma Taylor for lending us her camera at the end when our battery ran out, and then sending me all the photos taken from her camera to include with the others. The photos were a lot of work this time. Be sure to check them out, as they capture the highlights of another great day of DASH racing.

Take are,
Jim Caspers

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