Hello DASH families,

It was warm and extremely humid, as it always seems to be, for the annual Waukesha Cross Country Festival at Minooka Park. Our full team would be on hand to participate in the six races. The high school team would have its stiffest competition of the season. The middle school team would be facing several all-star teams comprised of athletes that participated in summer running camps hosted by some of the high school teams on hand. The competition was top notch, the course one of our most difficult of the season. Add in the noisy, festive atmosphere and we were set for a thrilling and challenging day of racing.

Jenna Walters and Naomi Zhou arrived early to be ready for the 8:30 AM JV Girls race. Jenna got out to a good start, stayed pretty steady when the course got tough, and finished in 36:41. Jenna’s time was a sign that the times would not be too fast once again in the super-humid conditions. Naomi Zhou started out too slow down the hill, but then picked up her pace to finish just 9 seconds behind Jenna.

Andy Forget was our first JV boy in once again. Andy really looked good, and had a much better finish this time which added up to a personal record 22:56. Andy is running close to our varsity runners now. If we have an opening in the meets ahead he will get the call. Joshua Lipski had a great start, and held up well to the big hill at the end. He lowered his pr by 2 seconds, a time which could come down considerably in the races ahead. Nathan Forget was back with us after missing the last race and he also raced in with a personal record, 24:26, but that pr does not reflect Nathan’s talent. Keep an eye on him. Cam Partenfelder got his time down to 24:31 with some nice striding. We may see him having a breakout race soon. Anthony Gotcher gave us nice effort, as always, but missed breaking 30 minutes this time. Cooler conditions and a faster course should fix that. I was really looking forward to this race, and the JV boys only have me more excited now about their prospects in the meets, and even years ahead.

The varsity girls would be starting only 4 because Terez Wycklendt needed the day off to rest her legs. Stephanie Chu helped us forget about a team score with her exceptional effort. Stephanie ran so well down the first big hill that I was showing some of our middle school stars her perfect technique while going over the photos. Stephanie was then able to maintain a torrid pace, and come back up that same big hill with a top-20 medal assured. Her time would be a DASH Minooka Park record 21:39. I was so impressed! Senior Emma Taylor once again smashed her own course record, this time by 50 seconds. She conquered the big hill at the end which is never easy. I am going to remind her of this accomplishment to try to get her to go out a little harder in the weeks ahead. Joy Rasch was having a breakout race, pacing behind Emma to the half-way point, but then stopped to tie her shoe. When she got going again her side cramped up and she fell back. We will get her shoes tied properly next race, so expect her to be fast to the end. Ella Johnson ran to almost exactly the same time she had last year. And it was after this race last year, that her times came way down. She also has a camera shy sister who would look good in DASH yellow.

The varsity boys would be missing two of their stars this time out, so we would need everyone to have big days, which unfortunately rarely happens. Caleb Schaber ran well, but did not push it too hard and ended up with an 18:44. Alexander Taylor looked like he was doing a tempo run, which was OK for this race. Micah Chan stayed steady, and then made a big charge up the hill at the the end to finish in a personal record 22:00. Matthew Schaber followed Micah around the course, but didn’t charge the hill quite as hard and finished 20 seconds back. Abiah Radtke was our third runner at the half way point, but struggled with a side-ache at the end and finished in just under 23 minutes. but we were running short-handed, and we fielded an especially young team for a Division 1 type race, and we were running short-handed, so our team score is not to be worried about.

Julianna Caspers paced the girls through the 1.4 mile middle school course. Julianna ended up winning the 2nd place medal in her grade level for the second year in a row. Bedalia again went out very casually, but then made up some lost ground to also hit the medal stand with a 6th place 6th grade finish. Our third girl in was surprisingly Maryana Anderson. Maryana had a fabulous pond loop, and then humbled the big hill at the end. Maryana just missed out on a medal this time, but as she is only a 2nd grader, she has many years ahead of her to win some hardware. Angela Walters got out to a good start, and was just tough enough on the last hill to stay ahead of Grace Caspers, who was very good again this time out. We will need Angela and Grace to continue their good seasons as the races get longer. Mary LeSac also had another good day. She started out fast and saved just enough to make it up the hill at the end. Charline Radtke went out fast, but then a side ache had her drifting back. Many were very surprised where she ended up as she has never really had a sub-par day before. I had Josephine Wichgers and Mary Claire Egan start out side by side with hopes that they would help each other along. And it went as planned as they were seen coming up the hill together. Josephine had her arms pumping at the end, conquering the big hill in just her first race. Mary Claire finished just a second later with her best race of the year. That was nice to see, and really got me excited. Andrea Chu was very steady this time out, but probably should have gotten out faster. I think she still had a lot left at the end. Natalie Radtke was happy with her race. She is gaining some confidence now, and only needs to get in more practice time. This was the day Ilyana Mallegni got in her first race. She ran hard and enjoyed herself. It was good to see her in a race after so many practices.

Nathanael Chu followed the medal-winning plan of going out fast and then conquering the big hill at the end. He won the 4th place 8th grade medal for his stellar effort. Erik Anderson did not go out nearly as fast, but did everything else to plan. His timid start hurt as he ended up missing the medal stand by a minuscule .2 seconds. James Manley really impressed the coach in his first cross country race. He got himself in good position early and looked strong coming back up the hill. Well done. We will see him again in two weeks. Andrew Anderson, Ephraim Radtke, and Josiah Chu all paced together through the course, pushing each other to some nice sub-10 minute times. We were hoping they may have cracked the top-10 in the 6th grade division, but they ended up 12th, 13th, and 14th. So close again. Charlie Johnson donned DASH yellow for the first time this season and toughed out a descent race, but not fast enough for his own high standards. I expect him to be very good later this year if we can get him to the races. Noah Caspers could have pushed himself a little harder around the pond, but he looked good on the last hill. Martin Wichgers continues to run well, although a little under the radar with so many of our stars out in front of him. Keep an eye on him. George Wichgers finished in over 18 minutes, but the attentive coach may have figured out the way to get him to run faster.

The middle school competition was better than it has ever been this year. As good as we ran, we did not crack the top spot in any of the team scores. The 7th grade girls were an easy 2nd behind the Jefferson all-star team. The 6th grade girls took 3rd in a very close battle between the 2nd-4th place teams, and the 6th grade boys ended up a close 3rd. We ran well so we have no regrets.

Thanks to Jenna Walters, Jodi LeSac, and Ed Beck for their help passing out and collecting the timing chips. Thanks to Mr. Beck for his help with the coaching, and again thanks to Mr. Beck for his help in taking down the tent and getting everything back in my van. I did not get involved much in the above duties because I took on the task of running around the park getting the photos for all six races. My feet held up pretty well. Now the high school team turns its attention to the second half of its season, and the middle school team gets ready for its four October meets. There is still plenty of action to look forward to. Of course, I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

P.S. Disaster struck yesterday in my home as I was sitting down writing the above report with my kids goofing off behind me while putting off their after dinner chores. Julianna took a spill and then gave out a scream after looking at her left arm. Two bones were broken. She came home last night with a cast up past her elbow. It is hard to believe. Later, we received an encouraging report from Terez on her health. Oh, the vicissitudes of a cross country season that later gives us such scintillating DASH conversation! Sigh.




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