Archive for October, 2019

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team put another year of racing in the books last Thursday at Rotary Park in Menomonee Falls. The team would be looking to post some great times on the fast Rotary Park course, and make amends for the disappointing results from the meet last Saturday. The team would be pushed along by over 700 other athletes on the cool, almost windless day. Hopefully the setting would prove perfect for finishing the season strong.

The faster boys race was first at 3:15 PM. It included only those with seed times 20:42 or lower so the opening mile stayed very tight. Caleb Schaber, along with three Arrowhead guys eventually broke away from the pack, and they pushed each other to low 17 minute times. Senior Caleb went out in style with a big pr of 17:24 to place 3rd overall. I think I will keep him as anchor of the 4×400 team for another year after all. Kaden Hacker cruised through the course in exactly 18 minutes to place 26th. Kaden was much improved this year and was very good when we really needed him. Alexander Taylor finished up a tough season with a season best time of 19:06. We will work on getting him enthused for track. Abiah Radtke was a mainstay on the varsity team as a freshman and gave us a fast 19:34 time this time out. Jacob Parker dipped under 20 minutes for the first time with a 19:54. He finished well and I can’t wait to see him on the track this spring. Matthew Schaber came in ahead of 10 athletes, (he just made the cut and was a little worried he would be last), and pr’d with a 20:25. That was his third time in the 20’s this season, and I see times in the teens next year.

The faster girls were next and Stephanie Chu got out fast and hung near the leaders the whole way to finish in 11th place with a 21:28. She has been a much needed low stick for us all season. Joy Rasch also got out very fast, and she was able to keep up her relentless pace to the finish. Her time was a spectacular 22:44, cutting off well over a minute from her pr. Wow! Emma Taylor hit the 23’s this time out with a good effort. I am looking forward to seeing Emma running a little shorter and much faster in track one last season.

We fielded six of our JV boys along with Micah Chan in the fast race. Micah paced the boys around and dipped under 21 minutes for the first time with a 20:57. Andy Forget went out fast and then stayed fast to the end to get a big pr of 21:10. I am talking about a 106 second pr. Nice! Cam Partenfelder had a great second mile and moved up to pace close behind Andy while lowering his pr by 89 seconds with a 21:13.  I knew a race like this from Cam would be happening soon. Joshua Lipski gave us yet another runner in the 21’s with his 21:40. No one has been as consistent as Joshua in getting his times down this year. Nathan Forget came up big in the last mile and finished in 23:34, almost a minute better than his personal best. Nolan Foster stayed consistently fast and had yet another great time for the boys – 23:45. Anthony Gotcher smashed through the 30 minute barrier so fast that he skipped the 29’s and got a 28:55. I was very happy with that time. The boys went 7 for 7 in personal bests in this rest. Outstanding!

Senior Eva Foster showed off her nice running form one last time on a cross country course and ended up with the biggest pr of them all. Eva lowered her personal best by 118 seconds to cap off an impressive, and very fun day of racing.

Thanks to Ed Beck for his help in getting the athletes ready to run fast. Thanks to Grace Caspers for her help in setting up the team camp, passing out and collecting the chips, tearing down the team camp, and for taking some of the photos. Thanks to Nancy Chu for also helping collect the timing chips. And thanks to Natalie Radtke and Emma Taylor who helped Grace with the photos. Yes, I posted some this year. We got through yet another great DASH cross country season, our 15th. Now we can look forward to seeing each other one more time at the end-of-the-year party and then we can rest up and slowly turn our attention to the track. Of course, I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school team set up camp at Concordia University yesterday to race in the Griffin Invite, hosted by the Washington County Homeschool and Ozaukee Christian teams. The sun was out and the winds were calm. It ended up being much warmer than expected, and the lake views of the course were stunning. We were one of 15 teams on hand to soak up the views and race the 3000 meter course.

Our 6th and under girls lined up in box 3 for surprisingly the smallest race of the day. Bedalia Radtke cruised through the course in 14:13 to place 8th overall. She ran 15 seconds behind 7th and well ahead of 9th and never really had to push herself too hard, although I would have liked her to. Maryana Anderson stayed steady through her longest course to date, and hit the finish in 12th place with a 15:07. She looked good at the end when she was pushed. Charline Radtke got out OK, but then did not have her best this time out. She ended up winning the 16th place ribbon with a 15:45. Andrea Chu handled the 3k distance pretty well and placed 24th. Hellena Hacker sped up at the finish to claim the last top-25 ribbon. Her 16:49 time showed she struggled some. Talia Kostrzewa looked good out there running with the bigger girls. She just missed a ribbon with her 27th place finish. Rhapsody Kostrzewa seemed to be having some issues with her clothes and never could get up to top speed this time. I don’t think the distance bothered her which is encouraging. Overall the girls were a close third, 11 points behind both teams in front of us. I think if we had run our best we would have been right up there with the leaders. It was not our day.

The big race of the day was the 6th and under boys, with 70 athletes lined up. Seka Kostrzewa went out with the leaders as usual, but the field turned out to be very tough, and Seka held on for a 10th place finish with a 12:32. That put him on the medal stand. Andrew Anderson paced with Josiah Chu through the first mile, but then made a big move down the back stretch and was seen coming back pacing right behind Seka. Andrew ended up 11th, and his time of 12:35 was fantastic. Expect him to be on the medal stand soon, possibly later this week. Josiah Chu gave us a third runner in the top 15 with his gutsy 13:00 effort. Ephraim Radtke came in fast and put claim to the last ribbon with his 25th place effort. The boys were really posting some great times.(Compare Ephraim’s 13:49 with our girls). Noah Caspers paced himself well and was able to push up the score on all but two teams as our 5th. He took 41st with a 14:47. The boys ended up 2nd overall, 18 points ahead of 3rd. Just the one big public school team on hand was ahead of us. The boys really ran well.

The bigger than expected 7th and 8th grade girls race was next, and it ended up being especially competitive. Angela Walters got into a quick pace through the first mile, and then gave great effort through the back half to take 12th overall with a very nice 13:50 time. She even collapsed at the end to make sure we knew how hard she ran. Julia Kowalinski cruised through the picturesque course in 14:26. That put her in 17th place as she continues to run well. Grace Caspers had a much better day and got through the course in 14:47 for 21st. We needed her to stay closer to Julia and she got the job done. Mary LeSac had her best race of the year as she won the 24th place ribbon with a 15:01. The times were great. Mary Claire Egan has been practicing really well and she almost has the confidence now to keep running. She was caught walking near the end, but then she took off and had a great finish to move up to 34th. She is very close to a very big race. Natalie Radtke had a good first mile, but then slowed over the back stretch. She had an 18:46. In the team scores, the girls ended up 4th in a very tough race. We have no regrets as our four scorers all had very good times and did not have much left when they finished. Well done.

We only had two in the 7th and 8th grade boys race, but they came up big. Nathanael Chu moved up to 3rd through the first mile, and then almost moved up another spot before the end. Nathanael clocked in with a blistering 11:58. Wow! Erik Anderson ran in a big pack behind Nathanael before hitting the back stretch. When he emerged coming out of the woods on the way back, we saw him pacing behind Nathanael with no one all that close behind him. What a back loop! Erik hit the finish in 12:05 to put his claim on the 4th place medal. These guys look ready for some championship racing for sure.

Thanks to Concordia University for setting up the course. Thanks to WCHSA for inviting us to race. Thanks to Grace Caspers and Julianna Caspers for passing out the bib numbers. Thanks to all the parents who made the drive, found the course, and helped get everyone shoes tied. Thanks to Jodi LeSac who was our photographer. She got us some very nice photos you will want to check out. Now our thoughts move ahead to Saturday’s big Homeschool Championship race in Jackson. With the whole team is on the schedule it is going to be so much fun. Everyone stay healthy and stay fast until then.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school cross country team was up at Kettle Moraine Lutheran a week later than planned, but it was worth the wait as the weather was perfect and the course mostly dry. Many teams could not fit the rescheduled date into their schedule, so the meet would be much smaller this year. But after some of us did some raspberry picking, we got ready to race the other 19 teams on hand, and then we had our usual big contingent staying for the fun run at the end. The daylight was dwindling as the big day of racing ended.

The 2500 meter Open JV girls race was first. Maryana Anderson got off to a descent start, but then after coming up the big hill she moved ahead of a whole pack of girls to finish 7th overall. That was impressive. Andrea Chu ran a smart, steady race to take 29th out of the 93 racers. Talia Kostrzewa made a big move up the hill on the back stretch of the soccer field and came in just 9 seconds behind Andrea. She looked good. Mary Claire Egan needed some coaxing to keep going, but was next runner in after Talia and gave us a fourth girl in the top 34. Natalie Radtke ran well again and gave the girls enough runners to get a team score. They placed 3rd. Very well done.

We only ran four in the Open JV boys race so they would be running for good individual results. Seka Kostrzewa went out with the leaders and stayed top-5 the whole way thus assuring himself a top-5 medal. Ephraim Radtke took off over the last loop and cracked the top 10. I really like his 10:54 2500 meter time. Martin Wichgers was 30th out of 85 as he continues to impress. He is one to watch. George Wichgers paced out a little slow, but showed us some speed as he passed a few before the finish.

The varsity girls were next up running the longer 2 mile course. Bedalia Radtke was our first runner in. She paced behind Angela Walters most of the way and then picked it up at the end displaying some big kick down the last hill to claim the 8th place medal with a 14:54 time. Angela Walters paced near the front once again and gave us a nice 13th place finish. She has really stepped it up over the last few weeks. Julia Kowalinski never faltered as she got through the course in 15:36. She gave us a much needed 17th place finish. Charline Radtke burst off the line and paced the girls through the first loop before settling into a steady pace to come in right after Julia. Four in the top 18 was nice. Grace Caspers was our final scorer. She worked hard for her 30th place finish and clocked in at 16:19. Mary LeSac held down her spot and was the next runner in behind Grace with a 16:42. Hellena Hacker stayed steady and kept Mary in her sights and hit the finish in 16:54. It was a very good effort from the girls in their first long race of the season.

It was already about 5:30 when the varsity boys race got going. Nathanael Chu led the way for us as usual and battled his way to an 8th place finish just behind a good St Lucas athlete. Erik Anderson showed us some real racing skills over the last tough loop around the soccer field. By the time he was done he had maneuvered his way up into 10th place. He would collect his top-10 medal later during the medal ceremony. What an effort from Erik! Andrew Anderson got his first taste of 2 mile racing and came through with a fast 14:07. He only seemed to get faster through the course. Josiah Chu paced with Andrew the whole way and finished just 2 spots behind him in 32nd. I liked the way Andrew and Josiah were pushing each other. Charlie Johnson went out fast and stayed tough down the stretch to crack the top 40 and get under the 15 minute mark. Noah Caspers gave us a 6th by choosing the longer race. He ran very well and pushed the team score up on a team ahead of us and three more behind. That’s what good teams do.

We had our usual big group on the line for the start of the fun run, many who would be running barefoot. Abiah Radtke was 2nd overall in the 2 mile race.  Ephraim Radtke and Noah Caspers led the DASH team in the 1.5 mile race.  Charlie Johnson tried to scare a dirty looking Mary LeSac and a coat toting Andrew Anderson around the course.  Jenna Walters paced around some of my middle school stars and was our first high school girl in.  We had some future stars showing off their paces.  I took notice of some little Anderson, Johnson, and Radtke boys with a lot of talent. Angela Walters and Maryana Anderson showed off some fast finishing kicks for an encore.  Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. LeSac, and Mrs. Anderson got in some good training for their November 5k they are competing in at Greenfield Park.  And Andrew Anderson even found a softball. It looked like so much fun. It is too bad I got stuck behind the camera this year.

The varsity girls won the 3rd place medals and the varsity boys were 4th, missing 3rd by one point to St Lucas. There are too many ways we could have taken 3rd so I won’t go over them all. Very close. It was a good effort once again from this team, and we will get to see them again soon as they have their last two meets coming up next week.  I am looking forward to them.

Thanks to Mrs. Egan and Grace Caspers for their help in passing out and collecting the timing chips. Everything went smooth. Thanks to Mr. Beck for his coaching assistance. Many thanks to Mrs. LeSac for inviting us to join us for some berry picking before the meet. She also helped take down the team tent and she even helped out the camera lady taking photos. Thanks to the camera lady for helping get another big set of photos, and you can thank me for the photos of the fun run.  Now we turn our attention to our Monday meet at Concordia. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school team was at the familiar grounds of Greenfield Park last Saturday morning, but this time it would not be to get in some practicing. This was the day for the annual Wisconsin Lutheran College Grade School Meet. Twenty-nine starting boxes were painted up for the team to run a course shortened to 1.5 miles because of the week’s heavy rain. It was a breezy, cool October day. The one concern was the mud that was sticky in spots, so we made sure everyone had their shoes tied on tight and ready to race.

We had 14 girls line up for the 9:30 race, and while we would clearly be one of the more talented teams out there, the team would be running without long-time star Julianna Caspers for the first time since early 2013. Angela Walters stepped up and led the way for the girls setting a fast, unrelenting pace to hit the finish in 10:36. Angela has been practicing well and is in great shape now. Her inspiring effort will hopefully give her the confidence she needs for the longer courses ahead. Bedalia Radtke also had a day to remember as she glided through course with her beautiful stride making the medal stand with a 7th place finish in the 6th and under race. Charline Radtke would not let Bedalia out of her sight and was the next 6th grade girl in breaking 11 minutes with a 10:51. Wow! Julia Kowalinski posted another great result, also getting to the finish in under 11 minutes. She will be very important in the meets ahead. Maryana Anderson always seems to be moving up when you watch her in a race. The race ended with her 14th overall in the 6th grade division. I don’t think a longer race will bother her much. Mary LeSac ran well and steady and came in just ahead of Grace Caspers. Grace got off a little too fast and faded through the back stretch. We will need Mary and Grace to bring it up a notch the rest of the way. Hellena Hacker held off a hard charging Josephine Wichgers to be our next girl in, with both girls getting times of 12:08. Andrea Chu snuck in at the finish without getting timed, but the photos had her at 12:48. Talia Kostrzewa made a big move up as she hit the woods and came in just six seconds after Andrea. She looked good. Mary Claire Egan did not look overly comfortable in the mud, and charged in a second after Talia. Natalie Radtke is running pretty well now and very steady. She may surprise us with a breakout race soon. Rhapsody Kostrzewa did not come prepared to race, but I had her signed up so we got her a jersey and off she went. Despite her being of kindergarten age, I was not worried about her racing, but I was worried about her shoes. She was wearing crocs! As dozens of athletes were losing shoes in the mud, little Rhapsody gracefully got through the course proving too light for the mud to suck them off. I was relieved, and also excited seeing the debut of one of our future stars.

For the boys, Nathanael Chu got off to his usual great start, and held down his spot until the home stretch. His fast 9:12 effort held up for 9th overall, just out of the medals this time. Erik Anderson had a big day eventually moving up to finish just 3 seconds behind Nathanael to get 12th. It is hard to believe this is his first year of cross country. Seka Kostrzewa paced with Erik through most of the course and hit the finish in 9:20. That time held up for 2nd place overall in the 6th and under division, just 3 seconds behind 1st. What an effort from Seka! He will look good wearing yet another medal. Andrew Anderson came on at the end as he seems to do every race and clocked in at 9:46. That put him in 11th. Then Josiah Chu was seen coming in just 3 seconds later in 13th. Our team score was going to be good. Ephraim Radtke fell off the pace midway, but then picked it back up in the woods and was 22nd in his division. We would have to wait to see if our team score was low enough. Noah Caspers showed us once again how much he likes running in the mud, hitting the finish in just under 11 minutes. That put him in the top third which shows you how well the boys were running. Charlie Johnson came in just 8 seconds after Noah. He is getting into shape now and should have his best racing ahead. Martin Wichgers got through the course in 11:49. He is really getting fast. And George Wichgers did some real racing this time to get in on the good results. The boys had as good a day as I ever hoped. Exceptional effort!

The wait for the team scores was painful. After about an hours wait the award ceremony finally happened with most teams having already left. I had to go up and get Bedalia and Seka’s top-7 medals. And then they only announced the winning team in each division and nothing else. With no results posted on the shelter walls, I boldly went up and looked over the one printed copy that the announcer was using and saw that they did not even tabulate the team results correctly, counting top 5 rather than top 4 in each race. I have them posted correctly here on the DASH Blog. Our 6th and under girls took 2nd overall, coming in ahead of the big public school team, and our 7th and 8th grade girls finished a close 4th.  I was talking with a coach in the woods watching the boys race and was impressed with his team, and he was impressed with ours.  That coach was from Trinity Lutheran Waukesha and they ended up being the one team to beat our 6th and under boys.  They fielded 23 boys to our 8 and got ahead of us by 13 points. We were 18 points ahead of 3rd. What a day for the boys. What a day for the team. Two 2nd’s and a 4th and we only ran 24 athletes! It is exciting to see three more meets on the schedule for this team over the next two weeks. I know I want to see this team running fast again. And I also hope to see you there.

Thanks to Mr. Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to DASH super fan Pete Dickman for helping out wherever needed, giving the athletes advice and keeping then enthused as they run by, and getting us some new super cool DASH hoodie sweatshirts. Get them while they last. Thanks to all the DASH fans that stuck around for the award ceremony. It will be better next year. We had a new photographer as Stephanie Radtke volunteered for that important duty. I panicked this morning as I loaded them onto my computer. It was only about 90 photos, including a few that I had taken. Had the camera malfunctioned? Had we missed all the good running?  Then I looked at the photos and saw that Mrs. Radtke goes for quality rather than quantity.  I got the photos cropped and spruced up in a jiffy, keeping almost all of them. It is a small, but very good set that you will want to check out.  Special thank to Mrs. Radtke for relieving me of that duty! Now off we go to get ready for the next big October meet. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The sun was out as the DASH high school cross country team arrived at Armstrong Park in Racine yesterday, but the heavy rains from earlier in the week had left the park very soggy. Eleven teams were on hand for this much awaited event and everything pointed to some very close team battles. With two months of preparation behind us, it was finally time to get on the spikes, run through some mud, splash through an overflowing river, and get over any other obstacles put into our path. It was time for some big October cross country racing!

Stephanie Chu and Terez Wycklendt were the early pacesetters for the girls, but about halfway through, on the top of the big hill, a Catholic Central girl took over the lead. Stephanie Chu was holding down second place with the home stretch ahead of her, but then took a wrong turn around a tree and fell back. Stephanie paced with the girls ahead the rest of the way, but settled for 5th place with a 22:29. Terez Wycklendt was definitely slowed by the wet conditions after her strong start, but held on to finish right behind Stephanie to put a claim on the 6th place medal. Joy Rasch was impressive again and almost equaled her time from last week despite the wetter conditions. She earned the 11th place medal with her 24:30 effort. Emma Taylor competed well and kept Joy in her sights. Emma’s 24:50 14th place finish also put her on the medal stand. Ella Johnson was not at her best, but she toughed out a nice 18th place finish with a 26:49. Eva Foster ran varsity again and came through with a big personal record 29:32 23rd place finish. She is improving fast. Emily Janes ran much more confidently this time out and her time came way down, like four minutes down. Emily’s new standard is 37:14 and she also won the 11th place JV medal. Nice.

Caleb Schaber settled into 4th place early, and then ran solo most of the way. His time was 18:42 and that was fast enough this time out. I am hoping he saved a little for the next race. Kaden Hacker moved up behind Caleb midway and let no one pass from there, giving us a much needed 5th place 19:05. Yet another great race from Kaden. Alexander Taylor is getting close to top form now. He fell back from Kaden midway, but gave us a third top 10 finish – 8th place in 19:35. No one had three in but us, but then the Prairie School team started coming through fast followed by the Union Grove boys. Brookfield Academy got their third runner in just ahead of Abiah Radtke, our fourth. Abiah struggled coming back from the river, but had a great finish to place 23rd with a 20:39. We had our 5th in at 20:47 as the steady Matthew Schaber crossed the finish. Matthew stepped up for us once again with another strong race. Micah Chan had a big day, smashing his pr by 47 seconds in the slow conditions and coming in ahead of Brookfield Academy’s 4th and 5th. Micah’s new standard is now 21:13. Jacob Parker faded some over the back half of the course, but finished in a respectable 21:39. We need to keep him healthy. Joshua Lipski was our first JV runner in once again. Joshua stayed close to his pr with a 22:28 and won the 6th place medal. His strong effort left him especially dirty at the end. Well done. Andy Forget got out super fast, but got a side cramp. He did pick it up at the end to finish just behind Joshua in 7th with a 23:10. Stephen Janes looked to be very comfortable in the mud. He cruised through the hilly course in just 23:31 while showing us some nice kick at the end. He was 9th. Campbell Partenfelder gave us four in the top-10. He overcame a slow start and then was seen moving up throughout. He hit the finish in 23:36. Nathan Forget was back after missing practice time and the last meet with injury. He ran well while posting a 24:31. Hopefully he can get in some good workouts the next two weeks. Nolan Foster lowered his pr by almost a minute with a 24:33. He is competing well out there now and is one to watch. All of our six JV boys were in the top half of the JV race. Outstanding.

The girls ended up 3rd in the team scores with The Prairie School edging ahead of us by 6 points for 2nd, and Catholic Central running away with it. We had our chances, but we ran up against two teams having very good days while ours was pretty average. We will need to be a little better and peaking in two weeks. The boys ran very well, but the way the points fell again this year, it was advantageous to have the strongest 4-7 runners. That was a big reason we won last year. This year our 4-7 were pretty good, but The Prairie School’s were even better and they came in 17 points ahead of us. It really hurt Brookfield Academy who despite having 2 of the top 3 overall, still ended up 18 points behind us in 3rd. The team scores were not as close as expected, but the race was still very exciting. Hats off to The Prairie School boys. I am liking our boys depth in the years ahead so I am already getting anxious for a rematch next year. But I must be patient as we have a Homeschool Championship next up on our schedule, another very big meet. The high school team will have two weeks to get ready.  Meanwhile, the middle school team will have three meets up first to keep the DASH fans busy. Stay healthy and stay fast!

Thanks to The Prairie School folks for getting the course set up despite the rain and for giving us the chance to race. Thanks to Ed Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to Frank Wycklendt, Jarrett Janes, Patty Forget, and everyone else who helped set up the tent and take it down.  And thanks to the camera lady, who with a little help from Grace Caspers and myself, got us another set of nice photos to remember the days festivities where we got plenty dirty, competed well, and had fun.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

  • 2018 Cross Country

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    Midwest Homeschool Champions - 2013

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    Legendary race - Maitland Park This is where it all began.