DASH Middle School Cross Country 2019 Peace Lutheran Panther Prowl Meet Report

Hello DASH families,

Yesterday, the DASH middle school cross country team made its way up to Peace Lutheran in Hartford on a very warm and humid, mostly sunny day. There were thunderstorms in the forecast at times, but as the day went on the forecast looked more promising. When we arrived we found out that the plan was to run only one race, girls and boys combined, at 4 PM to get things finished before the potential rain. Chips were being tied to shoes, the course was being scouted, all while some ominous looking dark clouds swirled in unpredictable patterns above our heads. Then about 3:45 PM lightning was seen. Soon after, we were sitting in our vehicles getting out of a heavy downpour. The rain stopped for a few minutes, only to come back once again even harder. Finally at about 4:15 PM things cleared up, but we came out hearing about rumors that the race had been cancelled. The coach went into lobbying mode, scrambling around and making it known that the DASH team was ready to race. To our relief, the cancel rumors turned out to be just that – rumors. The race was on! And the weather was much cooler. We would get to see our very promising middle school athletes in action after all. (Exhale from the coach as he wrote that.)

All 23 of out athletes had plenty of time to warm up and pose for a nice team picture while they waited for the race to eventually start at 4:45 PM. As the horn went off, we saw Nathanael Chu race out to the front as the team headed down the hill to the sidewalk around the back neighborhood. It was a welcome sign that the boys, along with our powerhouse girls team, were going for some wins.

In the boys race, Nathanael stayed up with a breakout pack of four 8th grade boys to the finish. Nathanael would put his claim on the 4th place medal with a super fast 9:45 clocking. Seka Kostrzewa got out to a great start and held on for 9th place in the end. Seka’s 10:24 time gave him rights to the 1st place 5th/6th grade medal. Erik Anderson was amazing in his first cross country race, eventually working his way up to finish a step behind Seka all while giving us a third top-10 runner. The only team that seemed to be a threat at this point was the Richfield team wearing red. Josiah Chu really looked fast and cracked the top-20 with an impressive 11:09 time. He will be counted on to come through for us a lot this season. Ephraim Radtke gave us a fifth runner in the top-25 and was the top 3rd/4th grader by almost a minute. He is a special talent. Andrew Anderson moved up close to Ephraim in the end, taking 29th with an 11:23. Andrew never faded in his first race which bodes well for my prediction of future stardom for him. Noah Caspers put in a solid effort which won him the 3rd place medal in the 3rd/4th grade division. Martin Wichgers also looked good in his first race, adding his name to our impressive 4th and under contingent. Also add Philip Caspers name to the list as he toughed out a nice win in the 2nd grade division, once he found the finish line. George Wichgers got through his first race. He will only get faster.

The girls race was particularly tough to keep track of with all the boys in the way, but it looked early on like we would be the team to beat. Julianna Caspers led the way as usual, but then she rolled her ankle midway through. Bedalia Radtke kept Julianna in her sights and then moved up with a great finish to place 4th overall, which got her the 3rd place medal in the always tough 5th/6th grade division. Julianna toughed it out at the end to place 5th overall, 2nd among the 7th/8th graders. An inspired Charline Radtke was our next girl in and she finished just 32 seconds behind Julianna, all while winning the 1st place 3rd/4th place medal. Charline also gave us a third girl in the top-8. Did I mention that this was Charline’s first race? I knew Charline had the talent to post a result like this, but I did not expect it so early this season. Our girls team has become a little more scary good now. Julia Kowalinski picked up where she left off last season with a nice 13th place finish. Angela Walters faded a little at the end, but still gave us a fifth girl in the top-15. And I know Julia and Angela will be even better in the meets ahead. Grace Caspers is back running fast after struggling last year. Grace moved up in the last half of the race all the way up to 16th overall. Hellena Hacker showed off her much taller stride for us after a year off. I was impressed. Hellena came in just before Maryana Anderson who placed 20th. That gave us 8 of the top-20. Wow! Maryana is only a 2nd grader. Three minutes later the next 2nd grader from another team came through. Really. I am not making this stuff up. Mary LeSac did not get out fast enough for me, but she had a great finish to place 24th. She will be good this year. Mary Claire Egan was running near Mary early, but had a rough finish. A few more weeks of practice will fix that. She joined us late. Andrea Chu did well in her first race, proving she is more than just a dancer. I knew it all along. Talia Kostrzewa was our 5th runner in last year. Our team has improved so much that this year she was our 12th, coming in with about the same time, although the course ran slower this year. Talia earned the 2nd place 2nd grade medal for her nice effort. Natalie Radkte was the top 8th grader while placing 43rd, proving my point about 8th grade girls not participating as much. Hopefully that point will not harm us next year as we have so many very good 7th graders.

It took a while before the official results were ready, but it was worth the wait. The countdown of the boys teams scores left us in the top-2, but we were called out as the 2nd place trophy winners. We missed first by just five points. Our boys teams have been very good the last few years, and this year’s edition is reloaded and still top notch. The girls race was not very close with our girls coming out on top, winning the 1st place trophy with just 40 points, 21 points ahead of second. I have been waiting a long time for my little girls to get bigger and this is that year. And we are turning out to be as good as I ever hoped. We still have six meets ahead of us and I am really looking forward to each one. Tune in next Wednesday for the next chapter of the DASH 2019 middle school cross country team to be written. I hope to see you there.

Thanks to Mrs. Walters, the camera lady, and Mrs. Beck for passing out and collecting the timing chips. It went very smooth. Thanks to all the parents who made the drive to Hartland and waited patiently for the race. Thanks to Mr. Beck for his help with the coaching. Special thank to the Peace Lutheran folks and official starter and timer Tim Kuehl for squashing all the cancel rumors, not being afraid of a little rain, and giving the athletes a chance to race. When the rain did stop the camera came out allowing the camera lady to catch some of the days action in photos. The day was not lost after all. What a relief. (Another exhale from the coach as he wrote that, too.)

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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