DASH Middle School Cross Country 2019 WLC Warrior Invite Meet Report

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

  • 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.