DASH High School Cross Country 2019 Whitnall Invitational Meet Report

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was one of 21 teams on hand at Hales Corners Park yesterday to compete in the Whitnall Invitational. This is usually one of our faster courses, but this year fog had settled in after heavy rain had soaked the course, leaving us with slow, wet, and humid conditions to contend with. We were warned that a tree had fallen down across the course which delayed the start of the first of the four races by 15 minutes while work was done to clear the tree from our path. Thankfully, the meet was still a go. We would get the chance to cheer on 20 of our high school athletes through the very fan friendly course.

The JV girls were first up. Senior Eva Foster donned DASH colors for the first time, and impressed us with her easy, natural running form. Eva left the course after 32:01, a time which could drop considerably in the weeks ahead giving the team some much needed depth. Jenna Walters cut off over 2 minutes from her personal best. Her new standard is 35:04. Jenna was pushed continuously by Naomi Zhou who came in 3 seconds after Jenna with a nice seasonal best. The girls times showed some nice improvement. Maybe the course wasn’t running so slow after all. I was also surprised at how competitive the JV girls race was. The competition was proving to be especially strong this year.

Andy Forget got off to a very strong start in the JV boys race. About midway through the course Joshua Lipski came up and kept pace with Andy and it stayed that way to the finish. Both of these freshman dipped into the 23 minute range for the first time. And they both looked good at the end which should give them the confidence needed to run even faster in the meets ahead. Our third runner in was a new freshman who joined us just two days before, Cam Partenfelder. Cam ran cross country in middle school and has a lot of potential. He slogged through the wet course in 25:05, a time that has the potential to drop considerably as Cam rounds into running shape. Yet another athlete running in his first DASH race was Nolan Foster. Nolan looked impressive through the first mile, but then struggled some to finish in 28:39. The talent is there. Anthony Gotcher cut off over a minute from his best time with a 30:43. Progress is being made each time out. Our JV boys finished 8th in the team scoring with three of the teams ahead of us not fielding a varsity team.

Varsity girls racing was next. Stephanie Chu won the 10th place medal last year in this race, but despite finishing four seconds faster this year she ended up just out of the medals in 12th. Her 22:16 early season time was encouraging and her finish looked strong. Terez Wycklendt paced with the leaders early, but then fell back to run with Stephanie most of the way. She was definitely struggling at the finish, but her time ended up being a personal best 22:25, good for 13th place. Emma Taylor had a big day, cutting 49 seconds off her time from last year to place 30th with a 24:28. Joy Rasch has rounded into form quickly for us this year as she adjusts to the high school distance. Joy cut over 2 minutes off her time from last meet to finish in 26:24. Joy also helped push Ella Johnson along when she started falling back, with Ella finishing just a second behind Joy. When the team standings came out we placed 5th, one point ahead of a strong Whitnall team. The difference was Joy and Ella coming in well ahead of Whitnall’s 4th and 5th runners. Very nice teamwork, girls!

The clock had struck six before the varsity boys got started. Caleb Schaber got out to a top-10 start and held it through the first two miles, but then in the last mile he started fading back. Just when we started thinking his top-10 medal chances were done, Caleb found his second wind and started gaining ground, finally moving back into the top 10 just steps from the finish. We would have someone to cheer for at the awards ceremony after all. Kaden Hacker methodically moved up throughout the race until his 18:58 clocking left him in 17th place. Kaden’s time shows up as a personal record on athletic.net. He was exceptional. Alexander Taylor went out very fast, maybe too fast, as he did look a little gassed through the last mile. Alex still toughed out a much needed 21st place finish with a 19:26. Behind Alex, Jacob Parker and Abiah Radtke were both seen jockeying back and forth and pushing themselves to big season bests. Jacob came in just ahead to finish in 21:04 with Abiah just two seconds behind him. I really liked those times and their effort. Micah Chan and Matthew Schaber paced close throughout and put up solid times in the 22’s. The boys placed 5th overall with just 128 points against some very strong competition. I know of 16 other teams that would trade places with us.

Thanks to Coach Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to the officials and the Whitnall team for getting the course ready to race just in time after the bad weather. Some of our newcomers were surprised to see so many people cheering for them. Thanks to the DASH fans for helping them get used to all the attention. Thanks to the camera crew of Natalie Radtke, Julianna Caspers, and Grace Caspers. The foggy, poorly lit conditions, along with a demanding coach, made it especially tough for them, but they took well over 1000 photos in all for me to peruse through, crop, and touch up. These photos made the cut. Be sure to check them out and make all the work that was put in to them worth it. Hopefully this team will see some better weather soon. They still have plenty to accomplish in the meets ahead. I hope to see you there as we see how it all plays out.

Take care,
Jim Caspers




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