DASH Middle School Cross Country 2019 Elkhorn Meet Report

Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school cross country team made the drive to Elkhorn last Wednesday to compete in the 7th annual Elkhorn Invitational. We have never missed a meet here, but the last two years we have found ourselves getting familiar with some modified courses because of construction. This years course had to be shortened down to 1.4 miles because of recent heavy rain. The athletes were warned before hand that the short, flat course would be running lightning quick, and that they would have to get out near the front early to have a chance at a top-10 medal. We would be racing only 7 other teams, but many would be arriving on multiple buses because of their size. In all, almost 350 athletes would cross the finish line, making this the biggest meet we have ever run in Elkhorn.

Our very good 7th and under girls would be the first to set up in box 5. Julianna Caspers stayed out of traffic at the start and then really moved up over the final loop to place 6th overall. Julianna has run all seven races here, and she made the medal stand for an amazing sixth consecutive time. Bedalia Radtke did not get out well and had me worried, but then she put the burners on just in time to move up to 8th at the finish. Bedalia’s medal run had the coach feeling much better about our team score. We had a little over 20 second wait, and then DASH yellow was seen heading to the finish in waves. Angela Walters, despite no practice the last week, took advantage of the short course, showing off her stride for her dad, and racing in as our 3rd scorer in 16th place. Julia Kowalinski got off to a fantastic start and was running near the leaders through the first loop. She fell back some through the second loop, but hung on to come in right after Angela in 17th place. Having your first 4 finish in the top-17 is exceptional in a race with 100+ athletes, but the good results were just hardly over. Charline Radtke strode in right after Julia with another great effort. We now had five in when no one else had four, so Charline’s 18th place finish pushed up the score on every other team. That would prove important. With a great second loop, Grace Caspers finished 10 seconds behind Charline for 21st place. She is running well and may like the longer races ahead. Mary LeSac was very good this time out, and gave us a seventh girl in the top-24. Hellena Hacker was next, hitting the finish in 26th place. I think Hellena may have been even better on a tougher course. Next was 2nd grader Maryana Anderson. She ran a pretty steady, very fast race to finish 29th. That gave us 9 of the first 29. With that kind of depth you would have thought we were one of the teams that came on two buses. Andrea Chu showed us some competitive fire as she finished in the top half in just her second race. Mary Claire Egan also had a very good day leaving over 50 athletes behind her. Compare that to last year here and you will know how much she has improved. Talia Kostrzewa was the only one not posting a good time. The coach and her mom both failed to make sure her shoes were tied properly, and she ended up finishing with just one. I am not sure how I missed her as I did have several of her teammates get their shoes retied. Expect to see her bounce back next race running fast as usual.

Seka Kostrzewa paced the 7th and under boys from the start. Seka ran up with the lead pack the whole way and hit the medal stand for the third year in a row, this time capturing the 6th place medal. Andrew Anderson went out more conservatively, but picked it up late and finished strong before being handed the 21st place card. Josiah Chu ran a very steady race, and gave the team a nice 27th place effort. Third grader Ephraim Radtke looked a little timid running with the big 6th and 7th grade boys at first, but when the finish line drew near he was seen coming in ahead of all but the first 33. Noah Caspers ran a strong, evenly paced race to place 48th. I think a tougher course would have moved him up some. Martin Wichgers ran well and finished exactly a minute behind fellow 4th grader Noah. George Wichgers was not hounded enough in the open course and finished in 15:45.

Natalie Radtke ran by herself in the 8th grade girls race, so the DASH fans were able to keep her moving fast. Natalie liked the short course and finished in an encouraging 37th place.

Nathanael Chu and Erik Anderson both had great starts in the 8th grade boys which kept them in contention for top-10 medals throughout. Nathanael ended up in a breakout pack of four boys the last half of the race, and gave us thoughts about a win, before settling for the 4th place medal. Erik was pressured from behind for most of the way, but that just had him going a little faster as he would not be denied the medal stand, earning the 9th place medal in impressive fashion. Nathanael and Erik really had big days.

The average team our size, 22 athletes, would have come away with about 2 1/2 medals. We ended up with 5. The average team of 22 would have put about 7 in the top third. We had 15 that can make that claim. We ran well, but that is not always reflected in the team scores at this meet because of the big, multiple bus, teams we face. This time our 7th and under girls came in ahead of the big Parkview and Elkhorn teams, getting ahead of Parkview on our tie-breaking 5th runner. (Thank you, Charline). It is hard to believe that the girls only came in 2nd. The East Troy team went 1-2-3-25 to come out ahead. They were impressive. The 7th and under boys finished 4th out of the 7 scoring teams, missing 3rd by just 1 point. It was definitely a fun, competitive day of racing.

Thanks to Mr. Beck for being our flawless official scorer. Thanks to Jodi LeSac for collecting the place cards, also without a flaw, thus making it an easy day for the coach. Thanks to all the DASH families for making the drive down to Elkhorn. Thanks to the DASH fans, which included DASH athletes when they were not racing, for lining the course cheering on our stars. Thanks to the camera lady, who had help from Julianna Caspers and Mrs. Chu for getting the photos. And thanks to Philip Caspers for holding the umbrella for the camera lady. Now our thoughts turn to Saturday’s race at Minooka Park, the race with the big hill at the end. I hope to see you there on that big hill cheering our middle school stars on.

Take care,
Jim Caspers




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