Archive for the ‘Cross Country’ Category

Hello DASH families,

Cross country season is just a few weeks away. We will practice on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at 6:15 PM, and Saturday mornings at 9:15 at Greenfield Park in West Allis. We meet at the shelter off of the Lincoln Ave entrance to the park. Our first high school practice will be on Tuesday, August 6th. The middle school athletes will join them on Thursday, August 15th.  You can check out the DASH Team Calendar for the practices and meets we have scheduled so far.

I will be keeping the team fees low again this season. $40 for high school athletes, $25 for middle school athletes that have a team t-shirt, $35 for middle school athletes needing a t-shirt.  The middle school t-shirts are also good for track season in the spring.

This will be our 15th DASH season!  Make sure you tell your friends to join the team and share in on the fun.  Of course, get some running in to stay in shape, and if I have not been running with you over the summer, I look forward to seeing you soon.

Take care,
Jim Caspers


Hello DASH families,

The color in the trees, athletes seen scouting the course wearing jackets and sweats, along with the calendar showing mid-October was the setting once again for some Homeschool Championship cross country racing. This year the 2018 DASH cross country team made its way to Janesville to compete against seven other homeschool teams from Wisconsin and Illinois. All the weeks of training and the miles the athletes have logged have been done with this meet in the back of their minds. The weather was ideal for some fast running, and the course was in great shape considering all the rain we have had. It was time to see how our team stacked up against the other homeschool teams from hundreds of miles around.

The middle school boys were first on the schedule. The founder of the DASH team, Drew Heiss, was the starter for the day, and with the lower numbered boxes, including our own box 2, marked out incorrectly, he quickly reset the starting flags and had the boys lined up for a fair race. Well done, Drew! Unfortunately for us, our boys would not be at their best this time out, but we would be beaten fair and square. Nathanael Chu was our first runner to the finish, but his 18th place over the 3000 meter course would be out of the top-15 medals. Micah Chan had a descent day ending up 26th overall. He came in just ahead of Abiah Radtke who was definitely not feeling 100% this time out. Josiah Chu competed well and was the second fastest 5th and under runner in, coming in just a second behind the first. After Josiah we had four of our athletes hit the finish in succession. Charlie Johnson placed 40th overall. He was followed by Noah Caspers, who was the top 3rd grade and under boy in. Silas Johnson was next finishing just ahead of Joshua Lipski. Ephraim Radtke had been practicing so well the last week, but for the first time he did not have it for a race. None of the boys came through with a really big day, and we had several that were well off of their best. It would be reflected in the team scores.

Julianna Caspers led the middle school girls out as usual, but she banged her knee on a post and was hurting the rest of the way. She did hit the medal stand, but she was hoping to do much better than 10th place. Bedalia Radtke did have a big day, staying close to Julianna. Bedalia was one of three 5th and under girls to get a top-15 medal with her 13th place finish. Julia Kowalinski looked to be struggling through the course. She gave great effort, but finished a full minute behind Bedalia in 26th. A good day from Julia would have been much closer to top-15. Mary LeSac was our 4th runner in for the first time this year. We needed her to be near her best, and she gave us a solid result. Joy Rasch ended up in 35th place. Joy has been so good for us the last couple years, but this was a disappointing result. Grace Caspers toughed out another race and was our sixth runner in. We need to get her healthier over the winter months. Jenna Walters had a slow start, but a nice finish. She has been running well. Mary Claire Egan had her best race of the year, showing off her potential. If she comes back next year she could be one to watch. Natalie Radtke did not have her usual good start, and never seemed to get going. She finished just ahead of Rebecca Anderson who was seen leaving some of her breakfast on the course. Rebecca is another one who could be very good if she sticks with it another year or two. Overall the girls could not come up with a big day this time out, but they were close.

We were now on to the high school races.  Our boys have had mixed results the last couple times out. The scouting report had a very good Eagles team as the team to beat, but we also had a good Lightning Bolts team to contend with. Our boys would have to bring their best to stay in the running for a top-2 trophy. The boys got out fast and looked to be running very well at the start. The goal from there would be to hold our spots and work on moving up. Caleb Schaber had another big day for us. He locked into the 3rd spot and stayed strong to the finish while posting a solid 18:10 time. Alexander Taylor gave us a personal record 18:27 effort. He battled Eagles the whole way and held his ground to the end for a 5th place finish. There were four freshman in the top-11, but Alex came in ahead of them all by 30 seconds or more. Senior Drake Hacker ran inspired, and gave us his best race of the year to place 7th overall with a season best 18:45. Drake came up big for us one last time. Kaden Hacker was back running his best and gave us 4 in the top-10 while breaking 19 minutes for the first time. Kaden finished right behind the Chippewa Valley Lightning Bolts 1st runner, but also behind the Eagles 5th. The Eagles proved unbeatable this time, but we had turned the race for the 2nd place trophy into a route. Joshua Schaber sealed it for us with a solid 20:40 effort for 26th place. Vincent Maurer stayed close to Joshua and gave us some insurance as our 6th runner in. He finished in 21:02 for 31st. Jacob Parker and Matthew Schaber paced together most of the way. Jacob posted a 21:16, and Matthew followed with a 21:21. It was their first taste of championship racing at the high school level and they did very well. They may be counted on next year to be more of a factor in the team scoring.

The high school girls race was saved for last. In this one, we would be the favorites, but the Homeschool Eagles and Lightning Bolts teams were both running very well lately, so we would have to keep tabs on them while doing our best at keeping them behind us. Two Eagles girls were the early pacesetters, but Abby Chu reeled them in slowly, passing them just before the trail narrowed heading into the woods. From there a Tri-State Flamingo and our own Stephanie Chu broke away from the pack to chase down Abby, but Abby would not be denied victory, coming in with a new DASH record 21:06 time. It was a spectacular and special day for Abby! Stephanie Chu blazed through the 22 minute barrier for the first time, putting a stamp on the 3rd place medal with her 21:25. That is the 3rd fastest time in DASH history. The girls were running like champions. Keeping Terez Wycklendt healthy enough to make it through the second half of the season has had us a bit nervous these last few weeks, but Terez was on the course coming through with yet another personal record effort. It would be a 7th place 22:29 for Terez. Alivia Kempf paced a few steps back of Terez for most of the race, but then she came up with a big finish, pushing Terez all the way in and getting her own identical 22:29 time. Alivia has been solid as a rock for us all year, and with her 8th place finish the race was all but over because we had our next four girls all staying near each other, and close enough to the 5th Eagle to have us winning big. Emma Taylor did not have her best race of the year, but her solid 24:34 effort was plenty good to clinch the team race in our favor. Ella Johnson was ready to be our 5th if needed, running to a personal record 24:40 while pushing Emma along. Katie Gorectke was our 5th for awhile, but was a bit sporadic the second half of the race. She ended up with a nice 25:11. She has run very well under championship conditions. We will need her to do it again next year. Faith Caspers ended her long DASH cross country career with a season best 25:23. It is hard to believe our long-time star was never really needed to come up big for us this year. Her teammates were running that good. Katrina Lipski lowered her personal best by 23 seconds with her 27:11. It has been such an impressive senior year from Katrina. Sandrelee Velez was very happy with her day as she cut off over a minute from her best time with a 31:24. Nice. Shariah Hyler was not feeling well and coasted in with a 32:29. This year Ella Johnson was rewarded for her hard work, winning the most improved runner medal after cutting off over 2 minutes from her time. If Sandrelee and Shariah keep practicing, they will be in contention for the most improved award next year for sure.

2018 will go down as one of the DASH team’s most successful season. What the high school girls did was the stuff of legend, winning big in each of their last four meets. The high school boys had two big wins, were 2nd at the championship, and placed 3rd at KML. The middle school boys got a win in Hartland, 5th at the big KML meet, and were very good at Elkhorn. The middle school girls got a trophy in Hartland, won the 6th and under race at Minooka by over 30 points, took 4th at KML, and were also very good at Elkhorn. This team practiced hard, and have been rewarded for their efforts with some exceptional results. Well done, everyone!

Thanks to the Homeschool Eagles for hosting this year. Almost everything was planned well, and the few things that slipped through were identified and corrected quickly. Thanks to everyone for making the drive out to Janesville. Thanks to Ed Beck, Chuck Maurer, and Dawn Kempf for their help with the coaching. Special thanks to Ed Beck, Steven Chu, and Nancy Chu for passing out and collecting the timing chips and bibs. Thanks to the camera lady, Julianna Caspers, and Laura Gorectke for helping with the photos. I ended up taking the majority of the photos myself this time, so they could be better. We were late in getting back to the finish in time for the high school races, and I had trouble keeping the camera ready while trying to cheer the team on as they went by. Sigh. Coaching and taking photos at the same time is never a good mix. Now we get to reminisce about the great season we’ve had while passing out awards this Tuesday at the end-of-the-year party. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was in Delafield on Tuesday for their final regular season meet. With all the rain we have had, St. John’s NW Military Academy was forced to alter their course this year. The course would remain fast, but the warm, humid weather would slow things down some. With the meet being pushed back a week and into the same week as conference meets, it was little smaller this year. But the competition from the seven other teams proved to be pretty good.

The co-ed JV race was first on the schedule. Matthew Schaber moved up as the race went along and earned the team’s first top-15 medal with an 11th place finish. Jacarie Rucker looked strong while cutting over a minute off his time from his last race despite the much warmer conditions. John Shane looked good in spurts, but was not able to maintain his best form over the course and finished with a 27:49. Faith Caspers ended up 4th this time out, coming in behind three girls on teams that ran only JV. That is practically a win. Katrina Lipski really pushed herself again and got a very nice 28:11 time in the high humidity. That time held up for the 7th place medal. Shariah Hyler had her best race yet and won the 11th place medal. Very nice. Naomi Zhou continues to run well. She is having her best cross country season, but unfortunately this time she finished just out of the medals in 16th place. Sandrelee Velez was off to a great start, but was then slowed by some issues in her upper leg.

Four full teams started out in the girls varsity race, but it did not take long for our DASH girls to move into the position as the team to beat. Stephanie Chu paced in 3rd place most of the way, but eventually moved up ahead of her sister. It was really a routine 22:12 effort for Stephanie – if you can call 2nd place routine. She is has put up great times each race. Abby Chu was feeling some tightness in her hamstrings, so she ended up having more of a tempo run than a race. Abby finished 3rd overall with a 22:26. I would have loved to see her go for the win, but we need to keep her healthy through the weekend. Terez Wycklendt stayed close to Abby and Stephanie this time as she continues to improve. Her new personal best 22:47 helped us put 3 girls in the top 4. Wow! Fifteen seconds later Alivia Kempf strided in giving us 4 in the top 6. The girls were having a very big day once again. Emma Taylor made it 5 girls in the top 10 with her 24:40 effort. Emma emergence as as strong number 5 has been so important to our success. Ella Johnson gave us a sixth varsity top-15 medal and came in ahead of the other scoring teams 3rd runner. Wow! Katie Gorectke had some hip issues, but did make it to the finish. Hopefully she will be ready to race on Saturday.

The boys varsity race was a little bigger with six full teams. Alexander Taylor got ahead of Caleb Schaber at around the mile mark and never looked back. He would be the 3rd athlete to cross the finish line with his 18:55. So far, so good, but unfortunately their would be little good left to report. Caleb Schaber had a side cramp that had him falling back all the way to 13th place. Drake Hacker got off to a sluggish start, but then was able to move ahead of some key athletes for us before settling for 19th. Joshua Schaber looked really good at the start, but was not able to maintain it in the humid conditions and fell back to 28th. Kaden Hacker was not healthy this time out and it showed. He pushed himself as usual, but this time it was only good for 29th. Vincent Maurer made it in 14 seconds after Kaden, and Jacob Parker struggled the second half of the race and finished in 22:10. It was the kind of disappointing day we have not seen this year from the boys, and coming off their big day at Armstrong Park made it more surprising. But the weather will be much cooler Saturday. If the boys can get healthy, expect them to bounce back strong.

We had some thunder at the very end of the boys race, and the teams rushed off before the heavy rains came. There would be no formal award ceremony, but we did take home the 1st place girls team plaque. The girls won with just 22 points. The boys ended up behind all but one team. We do need to make amends this weekend. Individually we came away with 12 top-15 medals. Not a bad day.

Thanks to Mr. Beck, Mrs. Kempf, and Mr. Maurer for their help with the coaching. Thanks to the folks at SJNMA for getting a course ready just in time and keeping the athletes out of the mud despite all the rain we have had. Thanks to the camera crew of Julianna Caspers, Grace Caspers, Abby Taylor, and Emma Taylor. The lighting was not ideal, but the photos I kept turned out pretty good. Now we turn are attention to Saturday’s championship racing. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school cross country team was up in Jackson last Wednesday to run on the Kettle Moraine Lutheran grounds for the 10th year in a row. This has become the team’s biggest meet. We would have to be at our best to score well against the other 31 teams on hand. The recent rain left the course soft, muddy, and slow. The athletes would end up plenty dirty after battling through their races.

The 2500 meter girls race was first. Grace Caspers became our leader on the low ground by the baseball diamonds. Grace ran well and placed 57th overall out of 168 girls in the race. Rebecca Anderson, Talia Kostrzewa, and Natalie Radtke all stayed close most of the way with Rebecca being the first to hit the finish, passing Talia down the homestretch. Rebecca is walking less now, and I am sure it helped having Talia around to keep her going. Talia ran a very steady race as usual, and was impressive in placing 69th overall. Natalie fell a little behind Rebecca and Talia in the muck around the soccer field, but still placed in the top half. Angela Walters ran for the first time this year, and struggled through the tough course.

We had three at the starting line in the 2500 meter boys race, but Charlie Johnson and Silas Johnson both jumped in the race just after the horn went off. Josiah Chu ran inspired and finished 18th out of 163, and if the big Slinger team did not run their whole team in this race, Josiah would have been top 10. Charlie was soon seen moving up early after starting late, and he then ran behind Ephraim until the last loop around the soccer field. It was a nice 27th place finish for Charlie. There were 42 3rd grade and under runners in this race, and 2nd grade Ephraim Radtke beat them all by over 30 seconds! That is legendary stuff, and I am not sure if Ephraim knows just how good he is running, but the coach sure does. Noah Caspers was 4th among the 42 3rd and under runners, and he had been out sick all week. These young boys of ours are fantastic. Silas Johnson gave everyone a considerable head start after trying to get his chip in his shoe before the race. He ran hard and was moving up, but the shoe with his chip was not tied tight and came off in the mud just before the finish. We shall never know his time.

The varsity girls were now ready to run their longer 3200 meter race. Julianna Caspers got off to her best start of the year and was already in 13th place when she headed down the hill for the loop by the football field. Despite going up against probably our toughest competition of the season, Julianna was still able to move up little by little until she raced down the homestretch in 9th place. After just missing last year, Julianna hit the medal stand once again. Bedalia stayed steady and strong the whole way, and gave us an important good result by finishing 27th. Julia Kowalinski and Joy Rasch pushed each other through the course with both cracking the top-40. Having four girls in the top-40 boded well for our team score. The lookout was then on for Mary LeSac. Mary handled the distance well and gave us a nice 61st place effort. The girls had had a good day. We would have to wait to see how we ended up when the points were counted. Jenna Walters ran varsity to give us a little insurance. She brought two left spikes to the meet, so she ran with one of them and took 85th. I would have liked to see Jenna’s result on a cleaner course. She has been impressive lately in practice.

Our six varsity boys then lined up to compete in a field of close to 200 athletes. This race would be crowded and fast. Nathanael Chu got out extremely fast, and was our leader most of the way. Nathanael has done well in muddy conditions before, and he was impressive again, coming in with a 21st place finish. Abiah Radtke liked the longer course, and kept Nathanael close the whole way while giving us two in the top 25. Leif Kostrzewa was a little too fast the first half of the race. He grabbed the lead for awhile, but dropped back later. He settled for 35th which was pretty good. Seka Kostrzewa gave great effort and was the eighth 5th grade and under athlete to the finish. I would have loved to see what he could have done wearing spikes. Micah Chan had a big day and liked the long course. His 67th place finish helped keep our team score low. Joshua Lipski held up pretty well in the mud and heat. He came in ahead of over 50 athletes, but I think it would have been a lot more on a cooler, drier day. The coach was happy with the boys effort.

We ended up with nine top-40 ribbons, and one top-10 medal. In a way that was expected because we have seen this team rake in the awards at a high rate before. The team scores were also very good. The boys were one of six teams that separated themselves from the others, and we ended up 5th. The girls came in 4th overall, and only behind three much bigger teams. That was a big improvement over our 9th place finish last year. I thought the team was a little off last meet, but this meet was very good. That makes four out five meets this year where this team has really shined. Now we get one more chance to see this team race, and that will be at the Homeschool Championship. I hope to see you there.

Of course, we had a big contingent at the fun run again this year. We always do. The coach has dominated the bald guy division the last few years, and now seems to have scared off all the competition. The coach slogged through the mud to a top-10 finish. It was a very tiring way to end a great day of racing. We did not get photos this time of the fun run so I don’t know too much about what happened. I do know it took me a long time to catch some girl named Charlene Radtke. We need to get her wearing some DASH yellow soon. Of course, I never did catch Ephraim.

Thanks to Mr. Beck for his help with the coaching. I see he prayed with the team when I was scrambling trying to get people to the start. Very nice. Special thanks to Debbie Anderson for her leadership in passing out and collecting the chip timers. Judy Chan also assisted. That is such an important job, and it all went very smooth. Thanks to all the parents for making the drive to Jackson for what I consider one of our big meets. Thanks to the camera lady, who had a little help from Julianna, in getting some very nice photos. You will want to check them out. Now on to our final week of racing. It is going to be fun.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

Our middle school cross country team competed on the familiar grounds of Greenfield Park today in the annual Wisconsin Lutheran College Warrior Invite. We were one of 24 middle school teams on hand to race, with college races held afterwards. The weather was cool and sunny with almost no wind. The course was in great shape, although the tree that fell across the trail in August would still have to be jumped. It was the latest big test for this team that so far has been grading out very well.

At 9:30 the gun went off, and the girls sprinted out of our box 4. Julianna Caspers got behind the leaders in the first half mile, but then she worked on getting ahead of one runner at a time the rest of the way. Before she was done she had moved up to 5th overall in the 6th and under race. She would be back on the medal stand this year after a years absence. Julianna has been very dependable this year. Bedalia Radtke was also able to move up the second half of the race finishing 12th. She is making running look easy which means she may be ready to take it up another notch in the races ahead. Julia Kowalinski did not look her best this time out, but she held her ground well through the woods and gave us a 22nd place finish with a time of 12:18. Joy Rasch was back racing after missing the last two races. She is not in top shape yet, but is getting there. She was our first 7th and 8th grade girl to the finish, placing 23rd with a 12:52. Mary LeSac came in very soon after Joy. Mary has become one of most important runners now, and she did well as our 4th scorer in the 6th and under race. We had over a minute wait after Mary for our next girl to finish which is something we need to improve on. Grace Caspers had a very poor start, but then really moved up the rest of the way and finished in 14:21. If she can stay healthy she may help us yet this season. Rebecca Anderson had a good start, and was almost able to maintain it through the woods. She is really close to having a big race. Natalie Radtke was much more steady this time out, coming in just a few seconds behind Rebecca. Hopefully she is slowly gaining confidence as the talent is obviously there. Alexa Bruton gave much better effort this time out and posted a respectable 14:52. Mary Claire Egan is still struggling through a 1.6 mile race like this. It will only take more practice to get her times down.

The boys would be running a little short-handed, but all our boys can really run so hopefully we would have enough to be up near the top of the team standings. Daniel Torresin was running with us for the first time, and he really showed off his talent. He was found moving up throughout, and ended up 5th overall among the 7th and 8th grade boys. He was rewarded with a medal stand appearance. Well done, Daniel. Nathanael Chu got off to a blazing start, but then struggled. Afterwards he told me he could not feel his feet in his wet shoes. Nathanael would not be on the medal stand this time, but he was able to tough out a 14th place finish. Abiah Radtke was not at his best for the first time this season, and ended up a disappointing, for him, 18th place with a 10:25. He is putting in the work so the coach is not worried. Micah Chan has been counted on and dependable all season, and he came through again. His 11:03 put him in 27th. A good run on his birthday. Charlie Johnson posted an 11:18 and was our first 6th and under runner in, and he really just had an average day. He is running that good now. Josiah Chu seemed to get caught in traffic some, and posted a respectable 11:45. Silas Johnson hit the finish in 12:05 which was also nothing special for him. The boys just were not showing that spark that has been getting everyone so excited. Ephraim Radtke was an exception. He got off to a great start and maintained his level until the finish. 12:08 from a 2nd grader is top notch. Joshua Lipski got his time down over 30 seconds from last year. Well done.  Noah Caspers was solid and finished 65th out of the 128 athletes.  We had everyone in with just about half the field still out racing once again. I liked to see that.

The 6th grade girls were a solid 4th overall. We were one of the good teams as we should have been. The 6th grade boys ended up 9th, a little lower than I expected, but not too bad. They are a year away with all of them being 5th grade and under. The 8th grade boys were close, placing 2nd, 7 points out of first. I like that result, but it is hard to not think about ‘if only we could have…’ type of thoughts. The team has been so good the first three meets, that maybe they were due to come down a little this time. It didn’t help that the rain on Tuesday kept the attendance at practice low, and the high school meet got in the way of the Thursday practice. Now we have to keep our thoughts ahead to the big meet on Wednesday at Kettle Moraine Lutheran. That’s the meet with the fun run at the end, so everyone, including parents, need to start getting ready. I hope to see you there.

Thanks to Mr. Beck as usual for his help with coaching. Thanks to Wisconsin Lutheran College for hosting both the middle school meet, and the college meet afterwards. Those that stayed got to see former DASH stars Kayla Bruton, Jessy Homa, Justin Chu, and Siobhan Heiss in action in the college race. They all ran well. Thanks to Faith Caspers who got the team photos at the start on her phone after I left the camera chip in the computer. My apologies for the lack of photos. We are down to two weeks in the season now. Everyone stay healthy and stay ready.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The full DASH high school cross country team was in Racine on Thursday to compete in The Prairie School Invite. This is a meet that we think about and prepare for as soon as we start practicing each August. The goal is, and has been all along, to be peaking now with hopes that all the miles we have put in would be enough to have us come out on top in meets like this. Nine other teams were on hand to race the meticulously groomed Armstrong Park course. The DASH fans would be in for a treat, watching the race develop on the very fan-friendly course.

The girls lined up at 4:15, and right from the gun a pack of DASH yellow was seen surging near the front. Abby Chu led the race for about 2 1/2 miles until finally being run down by a very good Prairie School girl who also won this race last year. Abby gave it her best, and was pushed to another personal record, which is also the new DASH record, of 21:22. Abby has raised her level to new heights all season. It has been a joy to watch. Stephanie Chu ran in 3rd place almost the whole way, and cruised to the finish 21 seconds ahead of her closest competitor. Stephanie made 22:11 look routine. She is running that good. Terez Wycklendt and Alivia Kempf turned the team race into a route with their 5th and 6th place finishes. We had four girls in and the clock had not struck 23 minutes. That was a first for the team, and it had everyone from all the teams talking about ‘those DASH girls’. Alivia has come through for us each time out. Now with Terez rounding into form and keeping up with her, we are running on all cylinders. Emma Taylor continues to close the gap on her teammates ahead of her. She has never looked better, and broke 24 minutes for the first time with a 23:51. That gave us 5 of the top 11, thus clinching the team race in our favor. Ella Johnson lowered her personal record by 10 seconds with a 16th place 24:42 effort. She is practicing well, and running with confidence. Katie Gorectke was back in action after missing the last meet. She looked good the first half, then the training she missed while healing up caught up with her. She finished with a respectable 25:51. If Katie stays healthy from here, that time will be coming way down. Faith Caspers ran with the JV team for the first time because she just hasn’t been able to match her times from previous years, and because we have so many girls running well in front of her. She made the most of it, winning the JV race in a sprint to the finish with the 2nd and 3rd place girls both just a few seconds behind. Katrina Lipski continues her big senior season, this time racing in with a personal record 27:33. That was good for the 4th place JV medal. Naomi Zhou has improved her time each race, a feat only Abby and her have accomplished this season. Her 32:28 is a 5 minute improvement since the start of the season. Shariah Hyler was the next runner in after Naomi. She is still teasing us with her nice stride that gets interrupted with occasional walking. She is due for a breakout race. Sandrelee Velez missed the last race because of injury, and struggled through the course. If she can stay healthy and put in some good practices in the next 12 days, we are going to like her times. Trust the coach on this one.

While our girls were the pre-race favorites, the boys race was set up for a very close 3-team battle between the defending champion Prairie School team, Brookfield Academy, and us. On paper it looked like the race could easily be decided by the team with the best 5th runner. At 5:10, the gun went off, and the jockeying for position began. Brookfield Academy got off to a very good start and looked to have the early lead as the boys headed for the loop around the buildings to the mile mark. Our boys were running well, but in the front two BA boys were leading everyone through the course. While the two BA boys would go on to place 1st and 2nd, behind them the race would be changing considerably before it was done. The Prairie School team started moving up and becoming a factor again, eventually getting their number 1 ahead of Caleb Schaber. Caleb then held down the 4th spot the rest of way and broke 18 minutes for the second meet in a row with a 17:56. That is just we needed from Caleb. Alexander Taylor was able to stay ahead of BA’s 3rd runner from the start which is what we had to have him do, but through the 2nd mile, Drake Hacker and Kaden Hacker both moved in front of him as well. Meanwhile BA’s 4th and 5th runners started to fade some while Joshua Schaber and Vincent Maurer stayed strong, both eventually getting ahead of them. The lead was ours. We just needed to play some defense the rest of the way, but instead the boys just kept turning up the heat and ran away with it. Alex hit the finish in 8th place with a personal record 18:42. He was followed by Drake Hacker who had a season best 19:06. And Drake was followed by Kaden Hacker who had a personal best 19:10. Yes, we had put 4 in the top-10! Then Joshua and Vincent clinched it with some big efforts of their own. Joshua kept his lunch down long enough to break 20 minutes for the first time with a 19:59 18th place finish. Vincent finished 19th with a season best 20:09, coming in ahead of The Prairie School’s 5th, and Brookfield Academy’s 4th and 5th. We have had some disappointments on this course the last 3 years, but this time the day was ours. The race didn’t really come down to who had the best 5th runner after all. We had won too convincingly. Jacob Parker had been sick earlier in the week, and faded some after a great start. His 21:57 was respectable, but he will be giving us more than that in the remaining races. Matthew Schaber placed 5th overall in the JV race. It was a good effort and got him to the medal stand. It was good to see Jacarie Rucker get to run. He had a good start, and then tailed off a little to finish in 25:55. John Shane ran the last half close behind Jacarie and lowered his personal best by 1:40. Nice.

The medals went to the top-15 varsity runners, and top-10 JV runners this year. That had a few of our athletes just missing out, but we still ended up with 9 varsity and 3 JV individual awards. More importantly, we came away with both the girls and boys 1st place team plaques, a first at this meet. Now we have 12 days of practicing ahead with the goal of getting just a little better in the remaining weeks ahead.

Thanks to Ed Beck and birthday girl Dawn Kempf for their help with the coaching. Thanks to The Prairie School for hosting another great meet on such a nice course. Thanks to all who made the drive down to Racine. Thanks to all the athletes who came ready to race. Thanks to the camera lady and Julianna Caspers for getting some great photos on my camera. Using Emma’s camera, Abby Taylor helped out in getting some great photos of the girls race. She was a little slow in getting to her spots and missed Abby a few times, but if we can get her to practice that will be corrected. And Emma Taylor transformed herself from DASH star to team photographer for the boys race. Thanks to all the photographers who were able to capture the moment in photos for everyone to enjoy. Now everyone stay healthy so we can do it again soon. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was at the Mitchell Park Domes yesterday to compete in the annual Trojan Invite. The team has raced this meet every year since we have had a high school team, so this would be our 11th time here. The race is a little smaller now than it was years ago, and they changed the course about four years ago after some construction at the park. But the meet has remained a place where we can get in a mid-season race against some smaller teams, win some awards, have fun in the more relaxed atmosphere, enjoy the setting of the Domes in the background, and help us get ready to peak for our big end-of-season meets left on the schedule.

The combined boys and girls JV race was first at 4 PM, but traffic was bad and only two of our girls made it to the start. Shariah Hyler got out fast, and then after the usual ups and downs of an athlete that has only been doing cross country for a few weeks, showed off her nice stride at the finish and lowered her personal record by over a minute. Shariah’s 31:28 won her the 6th place ribbon. She could be really good if she sticks with it. Naomi Zhou had her best race of the year. She was tired at the end after pushing herself to a season best time of 33:18, and won the 12th place ribbon. Many teams ran their whole teams in the JV race, so the girls 6th and 12th place ribbons were hard earned. Unfortunately, Jacarie Rucker could not get out of school in time, and was unable to stay for the varsity race. I would have loved to see him run.

The girls varsity race was very small this year after so many teams foolishly ran their best girls in the JV race, but we did have just enough fast girls line up with us to help push us along. Abby Chu may have been the one exception. No one pushed her for long. Abby broke away from the pack before the half mile mark and never looked back. In the windy, cool conditions so unlike last year, Abby kept up her relentless charge all the way to the finish, lowering her own DASH 5k record with a 21:31. That was fun to witness. Stephanie Chu made her own break away in the last mile and came to the finish all by herself while claiming the 2nd place medal for the second consecutive year. Stephanie’s 22:04 effort was so impressive. Alivia Kempf stayed strong throughout, and finally dropped a very good Greenfield girl down the home stretch to finish 3rd place by nine seconds with a personal record 22:22. These three girls were amazing. Terez Wycklendt finally made it to the starting line after missing our first four meets with some foot and knee issues. The expectations for Terez were super high after she won our team race back in mid-August, but she followed the game plan and did not push herself too hard this time out. Terez stayed with Stephanie and Alivia for over a mile before dropping back and holding down 5th place. A Carmen girl was coming up on Terez fast and gave her a race at the end, but Terez proved too strong. The 5th place medal was hers with a nice time of 23:48. Well done. If Terez can finish three more times for us this year we will be ecstatic and relieved. Emma Taylor looked so good out there you would have thought it was track season. Emma kept her arms pumping the whole way and hardly looked tired while posting a big personal record of 24:30 to place 8th. Our 5th spot is becoming a strength with running like that. Ella Johnson really pushed herself at the start, and then got in a nice rhythm which she maintained to the finish. Ella has worked hard, and is in top form now as her personal record 24:52 time shows. The 9th place medal was hers. Was Ella really on the JV team the first meet? That seems a long time ago. Faith Caspers found herself running all by herself like she often does for some reason. She finished with a season best 26:22 for 10th which is encouraging. Hopefully her time will be coming down a lot more in the big meets ahead where the fields will be much bigger. Katrina Lipski lined up with the varsity runners and broke 28 minutes while winning the 12th place medal. Katrina was superb, and everyone was so happy to see her come away with a varsity medal. That also made it a clean sweep for us, with all 8 of our varsity girls winning top-15 medals. We have never done that before. These girls were special.

The boys varsity race was a little smaller this year as well, but the competition mixed it up with us pretty well. Caleb Schaber broke away from the pack early just like Abby did, but then a very good Messmer athlete started making his move toward the front through the second mile. Caleb and the Messmer boy would jockey for position the rest of the way, all while getting about a full minute ahead of everyone else. It was fun to watch Caleb battling for the win, but he would have to settle for a big personal record time of 17:48 and the 2nd place medal this time. Caleb looks to be ready for a big finish, and we will need that from him. Alexander Taylor got into good position early and then put it on cruise control. He was impressive after having ankle issues last race. His 18:46 won him the 3rd place medal. There would be three freshman in the top-6 with Alexander being the first one to the finish. Drake Hacker put in a good workout. He ran comfortably in 4th most of the way without getting pushed much. Drake also looks to me to be ready for a big finish. Kaden Hacker was running in the top-10 the whole way, and he did find a few athletes to battle with. Kaden came through with his usual big finish, moving up to 6th by the time he was done. That gave us 4 of the top 6. All the DASH fans liked that. Our 5th runner in was sophomore Jacob Parker, running varsity for the first time. Jacob really came through for us as we started without Joshua Schaber this time out. Jacob is running with confidence, and is looking so good out there now. He lowered his personal record by over a minute with his 20:48 and got himself on the medal stand with a 14th place finish. It was the fifth medal for the boys. The first place trophy would be ours again. Matthew Schaber was also running varsity for the first time and made the most of it. He lowered his best time by over a minute and a half with his 21:18 17th place finish. This was the breakout race we have been waiting for. Well done. Vincent Maurer was on his way to another top-15 finish, but was then slowed by a side cramp, and ended up with a 23:05. Vince was running his best race of the year for the first two miles, so I am not too concerned about one of our long-time stars. John Shane lined up with the varsity boys after arriving too late for the JV start. He is a week or two away yet of really putting a full race together. He posted a 28:14 time. That will be coming way down as he gets in some more practices.

We won both team trophies as expected, but the important thing is the trophies were won on a day where we ran very well. The weather was perfect for running fast for 3 miles, and we made the most of it with 11 of our 18 athletes setting personal records. We are obviously peaking now as we should be, and that can only get you a little more excited about the final three weeks of the season. Thursday in Racine is next on the schedule. We are always one of the contenders down there, but it is never easy. We will have to run like we did today, and maybe a little better to come out on top. The course is a great one to watch a race develop.  I hope to see you there!

We had a great group of DASH fans lining the course. Thanks to everyone for doing what they can to keep the athletes energized. Thanks to the athletes for giving such great effort while showing off their talents. Thanks to Mrs. Kempf, Mr. Maurer, and Mr. Beck for their help with the coaching. Thanks to Joshua Lipski and Mr. Beck for being our official scorers. They were flawless. Thanks to the camera lady, along with Julianna and Grace Caspers, for helping me get some great photos. And thanks to Emma Taylor for lending us her camera at the end when our battery ran out, and then sending me all the photos taken from her camera to include with the others. The photos were a lot of work this time. Be sure to check them out, as they capture the highlights of another great day of DASH racing.

Take are,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school team was back for its third meet in eight days last Wednesday, ready to compete in the 6th annual Elkhorn Invite. We have been coming to this meet since it started in 2013, and it has become one of our favorites, but this year we would be on a new course. Gone was the trail through the tall grass, in was the new loop around the pond. The course remained fast and 1.5 miles in length. Our relatively small team took home 8 of the 50 medals in some very warm conditions last year. Now it was time to see what the 2018 edition of the DASH middle school cross country team could do for an encore in some much cooler, and wetter weather.

Our 7th and under girls team got their race in before the rain started. Julianna Caspers got off to a decent start, and as she usually does, was able to move ahead late. This is the 5th consecutive year Julianna has been top-10 in this race, and the first time she has cracked the top-5. She will get one more try next year to move up even higher. Bedalia Radtke was able to keep Julianna in her sight, and stayed strong to the finish to give us a 2nd girl in the top-10. Julia Kowalinski was back to running like we know she can. Julia gave us three girls in the top-12, and upped our medal count to three after just the first race. Mary LeSac stayed steady through the course and finished with a nice 34th place finish. She is having a great year. Natalie Radtke had her best cross country race to date, staying in the top half of the competition. I doubt she has peaked yet. Grace Caspers did not have her best this time, but she toughed out a 13:30 for 50th place. Mary Claire Egan and Alexa Bruton kept each other company the whole way, with Mary Claire coming in just ahead of Alexa in 15:34.

The rain did start to fall for the 7th and under boys race. But it did not slow down Nathanael Chu. Nathanael got into a relentless stride early and never let up, finishing 3rd by a step, and well ahead of 4th. His 9:22 time was outstanding. Seka Kostrzewa was 9th last year, and he brought his best again. His 7th place finish keeps him moving up and near the top. Well done. Charlie Johnson really opened some eyes while showing off his talent. He stayed close to Seka and never slowed down, giving the boys a third top-15 finish. Amazingly that put our medal count up to 6. It was turning into another epic day. Josiah Chu raced through the course in 10:46 and placed 29th. Yes, we had three 5th graders finish in the top-29 in a 7th and under race with close to 100 runners. These boys have been special. Silas Johnson had his best race of the season, coming up with a nice 35th place finish. Silas was actually disappointed with 35th. The coach liked it. I let my really little boys run in this big public school meet, mostly because they are clearly ready. 2nd grade Ephraim Radtke showed he can run with anyone. It took him just 11:18 to get through the course, while 3rd grade Noah Caspers finished a step behind Ephraim in 44th. These two little guys left about 50 boys behind them. Every one of our boys came up big today.

Jenna Walters and Rebecca Anderson did not let the rain bother them. Jenna ran a smart, steady race and hit the finish with a nice time of 13:11. Rebecca ran very well through the first mile, but then had some doubts. She picked it up again as Jenna came by, and then ran close behind Jenna to the finish. She is getting very close to a breakout race. Joy Rasch missed the race with a sore shin. Hopefully she will be back at Greenfield Park so we can field a full 7th and 8th grade girls team.

We had four 8th grade boys line up, so we had enough to field a scoring team. It also meant all four boys would be counted. The boys positioned themselves well early, and held down their spots tenaciously through the first loop. Leif Kostrzewa then made a bold move and made it up all the way to 2nd place for awhile, before earning himself the 3rd place medal. Abiah Radtke really looked strong through the course, pushing the pace and showing off his nice stride to place 5th. That would be our 8th medal on the day matching last years total. Amazing! Micah Chan moved up late, and powered his way down the home stretch to place 14th. Joshua Lipski held down his spot well and came through for the team with a nice 27th place finish. Once again, all the boys ran exceptionally.

The rain was starting to let up for those who stayed for the award ceremony. Everyone crowded close to the Elkhorn tent to hear the results, and the first thing we heard is that the vendor that the medals were ordered from had only supplied 10 for the 7th and under races, rather than 15. That was disappointing to Julia and Charlie who missed out on the hardware, but I am still counting them as medal winners. The DASH team placed 3rd overall among the 8 teams. That is quite an accomplishment for a team fielding only 21 on the day. The team ahead of us had 38 girls in the first race alone as a comparison. It was another epic day of DASH racing for sure. The season is now half over, and we have a 10 day break before our next meet. That should give us a chance to practice hard and hit the second half of our schedule running even better. I will be there to see it all, and of course, I hope to see you there.

Thanks to everyone who made the drive to Elkhorn, and for those who brought their umbrellas. It also proved nice to have our team tent out to help keep things somewhat dry. Special thanks go out to Mr. Beck and Mrs. Chu who were our official scorers. They kept the clipboard dry, and got everyone’s time recorded. Thanks to Mrs. Chan and Daniel Caspers for getting the placement cards. Thanks to the camera lady, along with Julianna and Noah Caspers, Natalie Radtke, Jodi LeSac, and Rachel Kostrzewa, who helped hold the umbrella keeping the camera dry. Be sure to check out the photos. And thanks to the Elkhorn team who invites us every year and gives us the opportunity to race.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

  • 2018 Cross Country

  • 2017 Cross Country

  • Track 2017

  • Cross Country 2016

  • Track 2016

  • Cross Country 2015

  • Track 2015

  • Cross Country 2013

    Midwest Homeschool Champions - 2013

  • Cross Country 2012

  • Track 2012

  • Cross Country 2011

  • Cross Country 2009

  • Cross Country 2004

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