Archive for the ‘High School Cross Country’ Category

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was one of 21 teams on hand at Hales Corners Park yesterday to compete in the Whitnall Invitational. This is usually one of our faster courses, but this year fog had settled in after heavy rain had soaked the course, leaving us with slow, wet, and humid conditions to contend with. We were warned that a tree had fallen down across the course which delayed the start of the first of the four races by 15 minutes while work was done to clear the tree from our path. Thankfully, the meet was still a go. We would get the chance to cheer on 20 of our high school athletes through the very fan friendly course.

The JV girls were first up. Senior Eva Foster donned DASH colors for the first time, and impressed us with her easy, natural running form. Eva left the course after 32:01, a time which could drop considerably in the weeks ahead giving the team some much needed depth. Jenna Walters cut off over 2 minutes from her personal best. Her new standard is 35:04. Jenna was pushed continuously by Naomi Zhou who came in 3 seconds after Jenna with a nice seasonal best. The girls times showed some nice improvement. Maybe the course wasn’t running so slow after all. I was also surprised at how competitive the JV girls race was. The competition was proving to be especially strong this year.

Andy Forget got off to a very strong start in the JV boys race. About midway through the course Joshua Lipski came up and kept pace with Andy and it stayed that way to the finish. Both of these freshman dipped into the 23 minute range for the first time. And they both looked good at the end which should give them the confidence needed to run even faster in the meets ahead. Our third runner in was a new freshman who joined us just two days before, Cam Partenfelder. Cam ran cross country in middle school and has a lot of potential. He slogged through the wet course in 25:05, a time that has the potential to drop considerably as Cam rounds into running shape. Yet another athlete running in his first DASH race was Nolan Foster. Nolan looked impressive through the first mile, but then struggled some to finish in 28:39. The talent is there. Anthony Gotcher cut off over a minute from his best time with a 30:43. Progress is being made each time out. Our JV boys finished 8th in the team scoring with three of the teams ahead of us not fielding a varsity team.

Varsity girls racing was next. Stephanie Chu won the 10th place medal last year in this race, but despite finishing four seconds faster this year she ended up just out of the medals in 12th. Her 22:16 early season time was encouraging and her finish looked strong. Terez Wycklendt paced with the leaders early, but then fell back to run with Stephanie most of the way. She was definitely struggling at the finish, but her time ended up being a personal best 22:25, good for 13th place. Emma Taylor had a big day, cutting 49 seconds off her time from last year to place 30th with a 24:28. Joy Rasch has rounded into form quickly for us this year as she adjusts to the high school distance. Joy cut over 2 minutes off her time from last meet to finish in 26:24. Joy also helped push Ella Johnson along when she started falling back, with Ella finishing just a second behind Joy. When the team standings came out we placed 5th, one point ahead of a strong Whitnall team. The difference was Joy and Ella coming in well ahead of Whitnall’s 4th and 5th runners. Very nice teamwork, girls!

The clock had struck six before the varsity boys got started. Caleb Schaber got out to a top-10 start and held it through the first two miles, but then in the last mile he started fading back. Just when we started thinking his top-10 medal chances were done, Caleb found his second wind and started gaining ground, finally moving back into the top 10 just steps from the finish. We would have someone to cheer for at the awards ceremony after all. Kaden Hacker methodically moved up throughout the race until his 18:58 clocking left him in 17th place. Kaden’s time shows up as a personal record on athletic.net. He was exceptional. Alexander Taylor went out very fast, maybe too fast, as he did look a little gassed through the last mile. Alex still toughed out a much needed 21st place finish with a 19:26. Behind Alex, Jacob Parker and Abiah Radtke were both seen jockeying back and forth and pushing themselves to big season bests. Jacob came in just ahead to finish in 21:04 with Abiah just two seconds behind him. I really liked those times and their effort. Micah Chan and Matthew Schaber paced close throughout and put up solid times in the 22’s. The boys placed 5th overall with just 128 points against some very strong competition. I know of 16 other teams that would trade places with us.

Thanks to Coach Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to the officials and the Whitnall team for getting the course ready to race just in time after the bad weather. Some of our newcomers were surprised to see so many people cheering for them. Thanks to the DASH fans for helping them get used to all the attention. Thanks to the camera crew of Natalie Radtke, Julianna Caspers, and Grace Caspers. The foggy, poorly lit conditions, along with a demanding coach, made it especially tough for them, but they took well over 1000 photos in all for me to peruse through, crop, and touch up. These photos made the cut. Be sure to check them out and make all the work that was put in to them worth it. Hopefully this team will see some better weather soon. They still have plenty to accomplish in the meets ahead. I hope to see you there as we see how it all plays out.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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Hello DASH families,

Eighteen of our high school cross country athletes made their way to the famed Wayne Dannehl cross country course at UW-Parkside yesterday to compete in the Kenosha St Joseph Lancer Invitational. The conditions were warm and blustery once again for our team as they took the field to show off their paces against 14 other teams, including two from Division 1.

The girls got the earlier 4:30 PM start this year, and Terez Wycklendt and Stephanie Chu went out with the leaders from the gun. It took Terez 23:03 to make it through the hilly course. That time held up for an impressive 5th overall among the 100+ girls, but Terez’ time also showed that the course was not running very fast in the warm, humid conditions. Getting some really fast times would have to be put off until later in the season. Stephanie Chu ran through the finishing chute in 7th place with a 23:21, and this time Terez and Stephanie’s great finishes would help us to a nice team score. Emma Taylor cut almost a minute off her time from last year and placed 25th overall. We need to keep her healthy and running like this. Ella Johnson made her season debut and held up well with a 27:56 for 39th. She is picking up where she left off with very little practice. Very nice. It was then a very short wait for Joy Rasch to complete our team scoring. Joy got through the tough course in 28:26 and really looks to be hitting her stride already this season. Jenna Walters got to the race just in time and lowered her personal best with a 37:27. She will like the cooler conditions coming up. Emily Janes still had trouble resisting the urge to walk, but she did come in ahead of one girl this time. We will be hounding her around a more open course soon.

I was looking forward to having all our boys running together this time and have them push each other along. Caleb Schaber was our leader throughout this time. He had a great first mile, a rough second mile, and then a great finish which saw him move up to 12th overall with an 18:51. An inspired Kaden Hacker was next, racing in with a fast 19:19 to claim 17th place. Alexander Taylor came in just four seconds later in 20th place. Kaden and Alex were the 3rd and 4th fastest underclassmen in the race out of 78. They are both running so well right now! Then the wait was on for our 4th runner to come in, the wait that may determine just how good the boys team will end up this year. The wait ended up being about three minutes this time, but the DASH fans were happy to see not just our 4th, but also our 5th and 6th runners all coming in together. Freshman Micah Chan led the way, but junior Jacob Parker showed off his speed and put things back in order as he edged Micah at the line by .3 seconds. One second later freshman Abiah Radtke made it in with a 22:23. The boys had come through for us just in time. Matthew Schaber struggled some this time in the heat, battling to a 23 flat. The coach was super-impressed with Joshua Lipski’s 24:14 effort. Joshua’s running form has been top notch. Nathan Forget left a little more than just great effort on the course this time as he finished in 25:58. Stephen Janes got his time down by 1:40 and had another great finish. Keep an eye on him. Anthony Gotcher also had a personal best. I think he will like our faster course in Hales Corners next up.

I thought overall we had a descent day, but not spectacular. Then the team scores were posted and we ended up 4th overall in both the girls and boys races. That was as good as I had hoped for with so many good teams on hand, so maybe the rough conditions skewed my analysis and we really did have a very good day. I do know that I can’t wait to see this team run in Hales Corners Park next week. Our times should be faster and the course is one our best to watch a race. I hope to see you there, but not until we put in the work of another eight days of practice.

Thanks to Coach Ed Beck, and Coach Chuck Maurer for being on hand to help with the coaching and cheering. Thanks to all the parents for getting around the construction and getting the athletes to the race. Thanks to the folks at Kenosha St Joseph’s for hosting, and for the invitation to compete. Thanks to Ella Johnson, Mr. Beck, Julianna Caspers, Grace Caspers, and a few more who helped get up and take down the tent. Of course, thanks to the camera crew of Grace Caspers and Julianna Caspers for getting another great batch of photos.  I will get to write more about them and their teammates next week at the first middle school meet.  You will find out they are pretty good, too.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The 2019 DASH high school cross country team took the field at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School yesterday to kick off the DASH Team’s 15th cross country season. It would be the first high school race for 10 of our 19 athletes. Our promising high school newcomers would all be running JV this time out, but not until after they got a good look at how our veterans fared in the varsity races.

The varsity boys opened the day of racing. Sophomore Alexander Taylor became our leader after the mile mark and hit the medal stand for the second year in a row. His time of 19:28 held up for 16th overall, and it proved that the course was not running fast on the warm, blustery day. Kaden Hacker cut over a minute off his time from last year to join Alex on the medal stand placing 18th with a 19:45. Fast times from Alex and Kaden point to some promising results this year. Caleb Schaber came down with a cold the morning of the race, and that slowed him down considerably through the second half of the race. Caleb would settle for a 20:57. I don’t expect to be reporting any more times like that from our long-time star this year. Matthew Schaber ran a very smart and steady race and clocked in at 22:24. He is running well and is ready to take on varsity duties.. Jacob Parker started very well, maybe too well, but then hit the wall and cruised in with a 24:14. He has many good races ahead.

The varsity girls were a little short handed, so the coach decided to not worry about a team score this time and start only three. Terez Wycklendt and Stephanie Chu, after running so well in our team run last week, were told to expect to be running among the leaders from the start. They did just that, and were actually the early pacesetters through the first half of the race. About five girls in the chase pack caught up and ran with Terez and Stephanie over the last mile. In the end, Terez crossed the finish in 3rd place with a 23:06. Stephanie followed eight seconds later in 6th. A whole lot of coaches and spectators were talking about those fast DASH girls! Senior Emma Taylor also gave us her best ever early season race. She claimed the 24th place ribbon with a nice 25:43 time. Now we just need two more girls to step up and join these three in the meets ahead.

We ran 7 boys and 4 girls in the JV race with only Naomi Zhou having any high school racing experience. Freshman Abiah Radtke positioned himself well at the start and then surged ahead over the last mile to finish 16th overall in 21:56. Micah Chan kept a fast pace throughout and hit the finish line in 22:31 for 23rd. These two did what the coach thought they were capable of and should be seeing some varsity action in the weeks ahead. Nathan Forget is getting in shape fast and put in a well-run 24:32. Joshua Lipski has never looked better. His 24:49 on this tough course was a good start to the season. Andy Forget, with just a week of practice behind him, hit the finish in 25:21. The boys team looks to have some solid depth this year. Stephen Janes got through his first 5k in 29:26. He looked a little timid at times, and looked like a race at others. As he gains confidence and conditioning his time will come way down. Anthony Gotcher did a 32:25. Knowing his work ethic, I am looking forward to seeing his times getting better each time out. Joy Rasch was our first girl in with a respectable 30:07. She is probably going to be our number 5 varsity girl this year after a couple years of being one of our middle school stars. Jenna Walters made it through the course without walking. Now that she knows she can do it, she will start picking up the pace. Naomi Zhou struggled this time out. Hopefully we can get her back running like she did last year. Emily Janes got caught up in the moment and had trouble staying in a running rhythm. Experience gained. I know her time will come down a lot.

Overall it was a pretty typical first race with many highs and a few lows. The varsity girls were exceptional. The high school boys would have been fine if I had run a full seven. The JV runners showed us some depth and learned what it takes to run 3 miles over a hard course. The 15th edition of the DASH cross country team looks to be yet another one to look forward to. We have seven meets left on the schedule. I hope to see you there as we watch this team get better each week.

Thanks to Jacob Dickman and Pete Dickman for their help with the coaching. Thanks to Grace Caspers and Julianna Caspers for their work in passing out and collecting the timing chips. Thanks to Kaden Hacker who arrived early and helped us get the team tent up before it could blow away. Thanks to the big camera crew of Katrina Lipski, Natalie Radtke, Grace Caspers, and Julianna Caspers. Be sure to check out the photos. Thanks for everyone making it up to Jackson for the race. We get to do it all again this Tuesday at UW-Parkside.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

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 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




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