Archive for the ‘High School Cross Country’ Category

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was in Delafield last Tuesday to run in their final meet of the season, the Lancer Invite, hosted by St John’s NW Military Academy. The temperature was in the upper 60’s and the sun was mostly out. We would be looking for some fast times running the golf course on such a nice day. However, the course when measured turned out to be a little short, so no one would be officially breaking their 5k personal records. That was a disappointment, but the race for the top-3 team trophies was still on. We would have to be at our best to leave with one, or maybe even two trophies, as we wrapped up another great DASH season.

The boys varsity squad started the day off this time. Drake Hacker and Samuel Zinkgraf were ready to go for the first time since our second meet, and the decision was made that they would run with the varsity team. When the racing got going, Justin Chu raced out with the leaders as he usually does, and with an inspiring effort stayed in the top-4 the whole way. Justin clocked in at 16:17, and if we had not got an official measurement of the course, his time would have broken the DASH record by .2 seconds. It was great to see Justin finishing on such a high note in his last cross country race. Brian Durbin had his best race of the year. Brian got himself in good position early, stayed steady and strong in the middle, and was moving up before the finish to take 14th overall. So far, so good. Unfortunately, things started to unravel a bit after Brian. Drake Hacker was looking like he definitely was ready to be back running varsity through the first mile, but then someone stepped on the same foot that had the 19 stitches, and a sharp pain shot up his leg. Drake would be done for the day. Freshman Caleb Schaber had not had a bad race all year, but this time his legs felt heavy in the second mile, and he just could not maintain his pace. He fell back in the end to 37th place. We were looking for Joe Maurer and Tim Kowalinski to be running up near Brian as they usually do, but this time they fell off the pace and finished over a minute behind. Samuel Zinkgraf gave us all he had as he always does, and it was not bad as he finished right after Tim, but when the team scores were counted we had fallen to 4th place, just missing a top-3 trophy. It was one of those days for the varsity boys. I think on a good day we could have finished top-2. Next year we try again.

The varsity girls were next, and the team got out to the first flag fast. After the race settled down some, Abby Chu and Kayla Bruton paced together through the first half of the course. This time Abby moved ahead and was moving up in the last mile with thoughts of 8th place when she suddenly started limping on her way to the finish line. Abby showed how tough she is as she made it through the course, but she ended up just out of the medals in 11th place, and then she could hardly make it back to our base. She had pulled a tendon attached to her hip and her hip had dislocated. Imagine the pain she was in, and yet she still finished. We need to pray that Abby makes a complete recovery from a scary injury like that. Kayla Bruton ended up with another good race with her 21:50 time, good for 13th. Faith Caspers had another good race and was our third girl in. Kayla Walters kept Faith in her sights this time, and is just rounding into racing form now. Better late than never. Kayla finished three spots behind Faith in 24th place. Rebecca Dickman had a side ache this time, but made it through the course running right behind Kayla. Ella Johnson worked hard as usual and was the next runner in after Rebecca. It was a great first season of cross country for Ella. Jessy Homa had a cold, and it obviously affected her. She picked the right race to be sick, though, as the other girls all came through for us. We ended up with the 3rd place trophy as we should have. Good job, girls.

We fielded 12 for the boys JV race. We have never run this many before. Vincent Maurer was a last minute addition to the JV team, and he made sure the coach would never think of doing that again. Vincent got out in front early, and held off all challengers. It was a magnificent run from the freshman. His time of 17:42 would have looked good on our varsity team, but this time it was good for the 1st place JV medal. John Klaves was running 14th with about 2/3 of a mile to go. He then took off as he went by the coach and picked off one athlete after another until he was in 8th place at the finish. That gave us another JV medal. Joshua Schaber had another notable race as he came in 15th with a 19:10. Lucas Ebel brought his little brothers spikes. It did not help as he finished in 20th place, a little farther back than he would have liked. Seth Holter capped off a very impressive first cross country season with his 19:37. He has been very fast, steady, and predictable each time out. Ben Hughes followed closely behind Seth with another good effort. These boys should make it interesting next year as they push for varsity spots. Joshua Anumolu’s leg did not bother him and he ran well and posted a 20:24. Ben Bridge was on hand this time, and really moved up in the last mile to finish in 20:49. Zach Pape looked good for the first two miles, but then tailed off some. Freshman can do that. With work on that last mile, he could be really good next year. Cliff Yang edged Zachary Werner at the line. Both ran well, with the junior coming in ahead of the freshman. Seniority usually wins out in boys races. Miles Talbert got better with each race this year. This time he clocked in at 25:17 on the short course. The JV boys have been impressive all season. They ended up 2nd overall this time. Very nice.

It would be the first time in DASH history we would get a JV girls team score as we ran five. Zipporah Caspers had us picking out and counting the few girls ahead of her. She kept them in her sights on her way to a nice 4th place, medal winning finish. She even had time to spur a few of our JV boys along. It was a fun race from our long-time star, who has won her fair share of hardware in her 11 years with the team. Emma Taylor really looked fast the first half of the race. She tailed off some at the end, but gave us a nice 18th place finish. Alivia Kempf stayed close to Emma the whole way. She made the most of her short season. Katrina Lipski saved her best racing for this meet once again, finishing in 27:30. Alyssa Krug was back racing after being sick the last week. She paced herself easy, and then had a great finish. When the team scores were tabulated, we finished 3rd overall. That beats an incomplete every time.

We had our positives this time out. We took home four individual medals, including Vincent’s big JV win, plus we won the 3rd place girls trophy. Unfortunately, they were balanced out by Drake and Abby’s injuries, and I know missing out on a boys team trophy will be bothering me until next year. Looking back on the whole year, it was undoubtedly another great, award winning DASH season. This was the hardest working team we have ever fielded. With the hard work came a few more injuries than we would have liked. The goal for next year will be to balance that out a little better. It is sad we will not have our seniors back, which includes long-time DASH stars Justin, Samuel, and Zipporah. But we were a young team, and have a chance to be even better when we ramp it up again next year.  I hope to see you there. That is, after an exciting track season this spring.

Thanks to Ed Beck, Pete Dickman, and Chuck Maurer for their help with the coaching, and measuring. Thanks to all the parents who stepped up to assist our injured athletes. Thanks to our hard-working athletes for putting in all the miles required to excel at a tough sport like cross country. It is time to rest. Thanks to the camera lady, plus Julianna Caspers, Daniel Caspers, Katrina Lipski, and myself for getting the photos. It takes a team effort on this course. Fortunately, we have a great team!

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was in Racine yesterday to compete in one of their big late-season meets, the Prairie School Invite. This is one of the meets we have been gearing up for all season. It turned out to be a good day for a run on the meticulously groomed Armstrong Park course. It was a cool 60 degrees as we arrived, but then it took a turn for the worse as the rain came in for the boys race. We would not let that, or anything else, slow us down and interfere with our goal of finishing in the top-2 in the team scores.

The girls raced first at 4:15. They ran inspired at the start and got out fast. Kayla Bruton and Abby Chu led the way early, and this time it was Kayla Bruton who eventually moved up to be our leader. Kayla really looked great, and was able to keep up her fast pace to the finish to place 7th overall with a season best 22:55 time. Abby Chu stayed close to Kayla and gave us another top-10 finish with her 23:12 time. Meanwhile, Union Grove was placing their top-5 girls all in the top-10. They would have had a perfect score of 15 points if it were not for Kayla and Abby both getting ahead of their 5th runner. Faith Caspers backed up her good racing from last Saturday with an even better race. She landed a top-15 medal and broke 24 minutes for the first time this year. Rebecca Dickman got out a little slower, but moved up later to race with Faith at the end. Rebecca gave us a fourth top-15 varsity medal as she finished with a personal best 23:51. Jessy Homa came through again for us as our 5th runner. She gave us a second straight low-25 minute time to finish in 19th place. With five girls in the top-20, we laid claim to 2nd place in the team scoring. Ella Johnson had to work hard to stay close to Jessy, and she did. Her 22nd place finish as our 6th runner shows how good these girls were. Zipporah Caspers was really running well, but then had to stop for a short while with stomach problems. Once she got that out of the way, she finished strong. Her 26:16 time does not reflect how good she ran. Kayla Walters, it is hard to believe, ended up on the JV team this time. She finished in a respectable 25:26 time, and was our 5th runner to the finish. She will be back on the varsity team next meet. Her usual role as DASH star awaits her. Alivia Kempf got through her second race pretty much like her first. She broke 30 minutes again. Katrina Lipski is getting a little frustrated with her times. She finished in exactly 30 minutes this time. Fortunately, the course where she set her personal record is next.

The boys race promised to be quite a battle among the top-4 teams. We would have to be at our best if we wanted to score well. Justin Chu complained of some soreness in his legs before the race, but then charged out of the start and put himself among the leaders through the first half of the race. He started falling back some after the two mile mark, but then reached back for something extra to move back up into 7th place at the end. Joe Maurer looked fast from the start this time, and with a relentless effort found himself with a top-15 medal at the finish. Brian Durbin, running close to home, stayed close to Joe the whole way to give us three varsity medal winners. Caleb Schaber was impressive as always. His 19:45 time was a personal record. Tim Kowalinski edged Vincent Maurer at the finish as both boys broke 20 minutes, Vincent for the first time. That gave us six boys in, while no other team but Prairie had more than three. Lucas Ebel posted his best time of the year with his 20:16. He moved up at the end and will keep his varsity spot. Joshua Schaber made Lucas really work to keep it as he went out fast, and methodically posted great mile splits. Joshua’s 20:23 personal best time gave him claim to the 1st place JV medal. It will be difficult to keep Joshua off the varsity team next year with the hard work he is putting in, and the great results he is posting. John Klaves gave us a second JV runner in the top 4 with his respectable 20:36 time. He really showed off his finishing kick on his way to the finish. Seth Holter ran without a lot of DASH yellow around him for the first time. It did not stop him from racing to a personal record and a top-10 JV medal. Ben Hughes posted a descent time of 21:46. I know he was hoping for better after his inspired effort from last Saturday. He will get another chance this Tuesday. Joshua Anumolu also struggled more this time out and his leg tightened up on him after the race. Hopefully he can bounce back strong Tuesday. Zach Pape finished in under 23 minutes for the second time in a row. He is starting to run with more confidence now. Cliff Yang finally got another chance to race, and looked pretty good with his personal record 25:40 time. Zachary Werner was a little off this time out. He has been practicing hard, and will bounce back. Miles Talbert finished faster than he ever has once again. He was only 10 seconds behind Zachary this time. The boys varsity and JV both finished in 2nd place behind The Prairie School’s impressive team. Staying ahead of St. Anthony and Union Grove was not easy, but we did it. Good job, boys!

The team is meeting its goals, and really running well right now. The boys are not as healthy as I would like, so let’s hope they can stay strong one more time next Tuesday. The girls are really peaking now. I have a feeling they are saving their very best for next Tuesday. I hope to see you there. You will not want to miss it.

Thanks to all the coaching help we got from Ed Beck, Pete Dickman, Chuck Maurer, and Steven Chu. It was great seeing so many fathers able to help out and make the race. Thanks to the DASH fans for being lined up in so many spots to spur the athletes on. Thanks to everyone who stayed for the pizza after the meet. We eventually ended up finding an accommodating place to eat, and eventually we almost had enough pizza. Thanks to the camera lady for getting all the photos that captured the moment. One week to go. Can you believe it? Let’s do it!

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was at Mitchell Park in Milwaukee yesterday to compete in its first small meet of the season, the Trojan Invitational. With the Domes in the background, and the weather cloudy and somewhat cool, the setting was set for some faster times. The competition included none of the big Division 1 teams we have been racing in our previous meets. It would be time to see how our team would handle the pressure of running near the front, and of being one of the favorites to take home the team trophies.

The JV race started at 9:30. Our JV boys have been impressive all season and they would not disappoint. Ben Hughes led the way with a personal record 20:47. Ben is running inspired right now and his times are coming down fast. Joshua Schaber looked to be struggling, but fought through it to finish in 21 minutes flat as he earned the 6th place JV ribbon. Seth Holter followed with his best race of the season and clocked in at 21:15. Joshua Anumolu looked very strong and had a great start. He was then pulled along by his teammates to post a personal best 21:19. Zachariah Pape finished in under 23 minutes for the first time as he continues to improve. Zachary Werner kept up a very nice pace to finish with a personal record 25:20. Miles Talbert made it a clean sweep of personal bests by the JV boys with his 28:23. Well done, boys!

The JV girls were led by Alivia Kempf who was wearing DASH yellow for the first time in three years. Alivia has not had much practice time, but ran a steady first race and finished in 29:19. Katrina Lipski finished right behind Alivia with her usual great effort. Alyssa Krug fell off the pace of Alivia and Katrina as the race went on, but hung on for a 30:48 time. Naomi Zhou ran especially fast when she saw the camera and finished in 35:24, a personal best.

The varsity girls lined up next, and once the gun went off, it did not take Abby Chu long to start leading the girls around the course. Abby was never threatened and finished in 22:28, exactly the time that Andrea Beck had last year when she also won. Kayla Bruton looked to be having trouble breathing early, but showed us her determination as she stayed fast and finished 3rd overall with a time of 23:07. Faith Caspers finally looks to be back to where we need her to be, as the long-time DASH star put together a nice 24:05 race, good for 5th place. Ella Johnson had the breakout race the coach knew she had in her. She had a strong finish to place 8th overall, and broke 27 minutes for the first time, (and also 26 and 25 minutes), with her 24:56. Rebecca Dickman was not at her best, but did what she had to do to keep our team score low by finishing 9th overall. Jessy Homa gave us an amazing 6 girls in the top 10 with her strong 25:17 effort. Zipporah Caspers earned the last top-15 medal with her season best 26:28 time. We also had Emma Taylor running varsity for the first time. She showed her speed at the finish, and posted her third straight low 29 minute time.

For the varsity boys, Justin Chu went out with the lead pack of five. The racing was strong up there and Justin ended up 4th overall despite his fast 17:38 time.  St. Anthony put two athletes in the top three, and we found ourselves in a very close race. Brian Durbin looked good and stayed ahead of the pack behind him to give us an 8th place finish. Joe Maurer moved up into the top 10 before he was through to keep us in contention. We would need our 4th and 5th runners to finish ahead of the St. Anthony boys to come out on top, and that is what we got. Timothy Kowalinski finished 11th overall and gave us a much needed personal record of 19:33. Caleb Schaber was really hurting the last mile, but refused to fade and finished right after Timothy. St. Anthony’s 3-4-5 runners came in soon after, and when the points were counted we would come out on top by just two points!  Vincent Maurer hit the finish line at 20:17 as he continues to put together a great freshman season. Lucas Ebel edged John Klaves in a sprint to the finish, with each getting a 20:30 time to complete an impressive day for our varsity team.

After a tough first half to our schedule, we were hoping to be ready to score well starting with this meet. After getting 12 top-15 medals, and both 1st place team trophies, we definitely met our goals. The boys remain a little banged up, but our depth is getting us through. In our next two meets, the boys races will be wide open with about five teams having a chance to win. We will have to be even better the rest of the way. The girls look to be peaking now, and the competition will be a little weaker for them. If they run to their potential, we should do very well. This is the time of year we have been working hard for the last few months. It is going to be exciting for sure. I hope to see you there.

Thanks to Ed and Mary Beck for their help with the timing. Thanks to all the DASH fans who lined the course to cheer our athletes on to some memorable results. Thanks to the Grace Caspers, Julianna Caspers, Daniel Caspers, and the camera lady for sharing the camera and, catching the action in photos.  Now to get ready for the really big meets ahead. It is not time to exhale yet.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH cross country team, both high school and middle school, competed in the very big, and very competitive Waukesha Cross Country Festival at Minooka Park this past Saturday. This meet was added to our schedule just last week after the Mayville meet was cancelled. The humidity was over 90% when we started, and our times were definitely slowed by the muggy weather, but overall we held our own against some of the best teams in the area.

Emma Taylor and Naomi Zhou got the day started at 8:30 in the Girls JV race. Emma ran very well overall, but her time still came in over 29 minutes. I knew then it would be a struggle for any of the athletes to get a season best in these conditions. Naomi Zhou did accomplish the feat by cutting off over 2 minutes from her time two weeks ago on the same course.

In the boys JV race, Joshua Schaber, Ben Hughes, and Seth Holter pushed each other to some season best times. Joshua raced through the course in 21:31, with Ben and Seth just seconds behind. These boys are running great, and giving us some much needed depth. Joshua Anumolu posted a nice time in the 22’s. Look for him to go even lower in the meets ahead. Zachary Pape got off to a great start, but slowed up bit toward the end. With some cooler weather his times will be coming down. Ben Bridge got through his first cross country race and broke 24 minutes. He could be pretty good for us the last two meets. Zachary Werner definitely felt the effects of the heat this time out. He will enjoy the cooler meets coming up. Miles Talbert broke 30 minutes as he continues to improve. It was a very impressive showing from the JV boys.

Abby Chu led the varsity girls once again, this time with a routine 23:12. She is running with confidence, and did not push herself too hard this time. Kayla Bruton looks to be ready for a big second half of the season. She gave us a season best 24:01. Rebecca Dickman has never looked better. She has been practicing well and her times are falling fast. 24:30 is her new standard, but it will be much lower than that soon. Faith Caspers is getting up to be speed, slowly. We will need her to be running at her best the rest of the way. Jessy Homa has been coming through for us as our 5th runner each time out. Hopefully her times will be pushed lower and lower for her to stay there. Zipporah Caspers struggled a little in the last mile, but is running pretty good right now. She may be ready to have a big finish to her senior season. Ella Johnson paced behind Zipporah the whole way. I have her running varsity because I know there is a chance she will have a breakout race before the season is out. Kayla Walters has never struggled like this before. She will be one of our stars. Let’s hope it is this season.

Justin Chu led the boys varsity with an 18:13 time. Justin looks to be staying healthy, and should be ready to run near the lead pack in our smaller meets ahead. Joe Maurer moved up as the race went along to be our second runner in. His time of 20:03 was not stellar, but should be better when he can chase Drake and Brian around. Tim Kowalinski gave us his best race of the year. He was the one varsity athlete that improved his time from two weeks ago. Caleb Schaber has not had a bad race yet and has stayed in our top-5 each time out. Well done from the freshman. Vincent Maurer gave us a second freshman in our top-5. Vincent is always able to move up in the last mile. That is a good skill to have. Lucas Ebel and John Klaves stayed together the whole way. They are two of our most talented runners, and we will need them to keep improving in the weeks ahead.

We ran six boys in the middle school race. Alexander Taylor raced to a 4th place medal in the 7th grade division with a time of 9:18 over the 1.4 mile course. Alex has been our top middle school boy thus far, but we have plenty of others staying close behind him. One of those is Nathanael Chu. Nathanael also made the medal stand with his 5th place effort among the 6th graders. Joshua LeSac, coming back from a toe injury, ran well. He broke 10 minutes and should only get better each race. Daniel Caspers did not have a great start, but he pushed hard at the end to give us a good race. Silas Johnson donned DASH yellow for the first time. He went out conservatively, and charged up the hill for a good finish. He could be very good if we can keep him racing. Micah Chan finished in 12:10 as all of our boys ran well.

Stephanie Chu blazed to a 9:46 time to place 10th in the very competitive 8th grade race. That effort got her called up to the medal stand once again. Julianna Caspers moved up as the race went along and ended up 5th overall among the 6th graders. Julia Kowalinski got off to great start down the hill and then maintained a fast pace to the finish to earn the 6th place medal. Savanna Bruton put together a very impressive race. She broke 12 minutes and was our third 6th grader in. Heidi Talbert out-kicked Grace Caspers and Joy Rasch at the finish as all three girls posted some nice low 12 minute times. Mary LeSac gave us one more great run as our little girls really impressed. We also had a late addition to our roster as 2nd grade Abby Taylor decided to run for the first time. With some coaxing, especially up the hill at the end, she made it to the finish and showed us all the potential to be very good soon.

When the long day of racing was over, we could look back and take away plenty of positives. Despite missing Drake Hacker, Brian Durbin, and Samuel Zinkgraf, three of pre-season top-5, the boys held up very well. We still have plenty of JV boys waiting to step up in case we run into any more catastrophes. The high school girls are very close now to putting together a great race. I am confident it will happen in our big meets ahead. The middle school team has turned out to be very good, and really capped the day off on a high note for me. They just need to stay healthy as the team does not have the depth that the high school team has. The next three weeks will provide plenty of theatrics and exciting results. It is going to be a whirlwind of action. Hopefully everything will fall into place. I hope to see you there.

Thanks to Mary Beck for keeping tabs on the chip timers. That is always hectic work. Thanks to Ed Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to the athletes for running hard in the humid conditions. The photos are never easy to get at Minooka, but the camera lady and I did our best. Be sure to check them out. Now to start thinking about our next practice and the meets ahead.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was back in action last Saturday, competing in the Waukesha South Blackshirt Challenge at Minooka Park. This meet is run on a very tough course with about half the teams being Division 1. We would get to see how our team would hold up against its toughest competition of the season. The weather was about as good as it gets in early September. The goal would be to post some season best times and to come out ahead of the non-Division 1 teams competing.

The boys would be running first at 9:00 AM. Justin Chu got out fast and cracked the medal stand once again. His 17:56 effort was good for 15th place overall. Drake Hacker posted his first sub-19 minute time of the year and placed 41st overall. Drake’s times should continue to fall. Brian Durbin and Joe Maurer pushed  each other the whole way and stayed close to Drake. Brian came in 4 seconds ahead of Joe with a 19:09 as the boys gave us very low 3rd and 4th runner scores.  Freshman Caleb Schaber cracked our top-5 again. His 20:13 time this early in the year bodes well for some sub 20 minute times soon. Vincent Maurer cut off over 2 minutes this time out to be our 6th runner in and our top JV runner. His 17th place JV finish just missed the medal stand. Vincent may be moving up to varsity from here. Tim Kowalinski was one of five of our boys running in the 21’s. Samuel  Zinkgraf was 7 seconds behind Tim with his 21:09, but Samuel’s hamstring was a problem again. He may need some rest. John Klaves had a nice first race of the year – 21:11. John should be able to crack 20 minutes later this year if he gets in some good workouts. Joshua Schaber and Seth Holter were both under 22 minutes for the first time. Joshua and Seth are both staying close to the varsity athletes and really helping us to some great JV team results. Ben Hughes looked much better this time out. His 22:26 time was nice, but I believe it will be far from his best this year. Zachariah Pape cut off almost a minute from his time last week. Joshua Anumolu looked pretty good for his first meet, and Zachary Werner really impressed the coach with his effort. His hard work is paying off as his 25:49 attests.

Abby Chu led the way for the girls with a personal best 22:40. She is making it look easy running to such great times. Kayla Bruton got under 25 minutes this time out. Her times will continue to go down. Rebecca Dickman cut a minute and a half off her time from last week. Rebecca looked much more comfortable this time out. I see some big races ahead for her. Faith Caspers had some shoe issues and tailed off at the end, but she did make it to the finish. She is practicing much better now, and her times will be coming down fast. Jessy Homa came in right after Faith with some very good racing. She has really come through for us this year. Zipporah Caspers got her first race behind her. She is due for some good races soon, and will like the afternoon races ahead. Emma Taylor and Alyssa Krug stayed close throughout and pushed each other to sub 30 minute times. Katrina Lipski improved her time by over 2 minutes, and Naomi Zhou looked pretty good in getting through her first high school race.

The boys did very well in the team scores, and amazingly got exactly 226 varsity and JV points. We stayed ahead of all but the Division 1 teams. A definite success. We will not be seeing any more Division 1 teams from here, so if the boys stay healthy and continue to improve we should be one of the teams to beat. The girls looked much better this time out, but they are not there yet. The goal over the next three weeks is to get everyone healthy and confident so we can be in contention in the last three meets. The girls have the talent. Stay tuned.

Thanks to everyone for getting the athletes to Minooka and then becoming great DASH fans. Thanks to the athletes for all getting their chip timers unlaced and back to me quickly. Thanks to the camera girls, all middle school stars, Julianna Caspers, Grace Caspers, Stephanie Chu, and Savanna Bruton. The photos are a little sparse, but the girls got a few. Now our focus jumps ahead to this Thursday in Mayville. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The 2016 version of the DASH high school cross country team was on display at Kettle Moraine Lutheran high school Thursday. It would be our first look at what should be another exciting and successful season. The weather was pretty warm as it usually is at this meet, and the course would be running slow after some morning rain. Our times would be respectable, but not fast. The girls team would be running short-handed, battling health issues, and some of our top boys would be running in the JV race for various reasons, but we ended up with a respectable showing nonetheless.

The varsity boys toed the start line first. We would be running with six as Brian Durbin was yet to arrive. Justin Chu ran out with the leaders and cruised to a medal winning 10th place finish. We will need Justin to hit the medal stand often this season. Drake Hacker was next, breaking 20 minutes for 29th place. It looks like he will be our important number 2 runner this year.  Joe Maurer moved up late in the race as he usually does, and finished in 20:45, improving his time from last year by over a minute. Freshman Caleb Schaber proved he belonged running varsity as he was our fourth runner in with a nice 21:07 time. Timothy Kowalinski was just six seconds back of Caleb to keep our team score pretty low. Lucas Ebel gave us a 6th athlete under 22 minutes. This team has depth once again this year.

We would be running only six varsity girls after Kayla Walters came down sick. Abby Chu took off late in the first mile and never slowed, notching an impressive 23:34 time to earn the 18th place medal. Kayla Bruton worked hard and stayed steady the whole way despite some asthma issues. She needed a bit of reviving at the end of her 25:22 effort. Rebecca Dickman had a respectable first high school race. She kept pushing forward when the going got tough and notched a 26:44 time. Freshman Ella Johnson impressed the DASH fans with her effort as she hit the finish line soon after Rebecca. Jessy Homa became our 5th scorer after Faith Caspers dropped out just before the mile mark. Jessy cut off almost 2 minutes from her time last year in a much needed good effort.

In the coed JV race we ran 10 boys and 3 girls.  Brian Durbin went out with the leaders and never backed off.  He hit the finish line in 4th place to earn a top-5 medal.  Now to get him up to the varsity team. Samuel Zinkgraf is coming off of injury and decided to jog the JV race to test his leg.  He looks to be ready to help the varsity soon after his routine 21:45 effort. Vincent Maurer looked good in his first high school race. He handled the distance very well giving us a very steady 22:36 time. Seth Holter and Joshua Schaber are both much improved and stayed close to Vincent the whole way, finishing in under 23 minutes. They are two athletes to watch as the season progresses. Zachariah Pape had a good start and slowed some at the end. He is pretty good for a freshman and may be moving up the depth chart as the season progresses. Ben Hughes was clearly not healthy enough yet to go all out. Hopefully we will see him run like he can soon. Forest Yang showed us some speed in his first race. He got ahead of his brother Cliff in the last mile. We will see if Cliff lets him do that again. Miles Talbert ran good in spurts. Once he starts running the whole way his times will be coming down fast. For the girls, Emma Taylor got through her first tough course. She will like some of our easier courses later in the season if we can get her there. Alyssa Krug impressed the coach with her effort. She really looked like a runner. She should turn out to be very good in the weeks ahead. Katrina Lipski toughed out a tough race in the heat. She is a veteran and will be helping us out later in the year.

The teams scores were not as I had envisioned them a few weeks ago. With Brian and Samuel running JV, the boys eked out a nice 4th place finish to come out ahead of some of the really big teams. The varsity boys and girls would have placed a little higher if they were fully staffed with our stars, but these kind of days happen. It is probably good to have it happen early. Overall the team ran well.  I already can’t wait for the next meet at Minooka. It will be another tough course, and our last chance to prepare for our final four big meets where we should be among the leaders in all of them. I hope to see you there.

Thanks to Ed Beck and Pete Dickman for their coaching assistance as usual. Thanks to all the parents who got the athletes to the meet up in Jackson. Thanks to the Chu’s for bringing the tent. Thanks to the picture people, the camera lady plus Julianna and Grace Caspers, for getting the photos. Thanks to the DASH families for making the team so much fun. It is going to be another a great season. Now back to work on getting everyone healthy.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH cross country team finished their season in Verona yesterday, competing in the 5th annual Homeschool Championships. The weather was cool, but sunny. The course was hilly and fast. It would be the first championship race for 19 of our 29 middle school athletes. Our young team would be getting some needed experience to use in the years ahead. Our high school team would be looking to improve on two second place finishes from last year. As 10:00 AM neared, it was finally time to take our sweats off, crowd into our tiny box 5, and see how our DASH team stacked up against the 8 other homeschool teams in competition.

Our very young middle school girls team was first on the schedule. Rebecca Dickman was our early leader through the first mile, with Julianna Caspers and Stephanie Chu staying close. Rebecca could not maintain her fast pace through the second mile and it was Julianna who hit the finish line first. Julianna’s time of 14:39 put her in 19th place overall. She was the fastest 4th and under runner in the race. Rebecca came in 13 seconds later in 24th place, with Stephanie Chu a few steps behind her in 26th. It was a respectable showing, but not the best day for our top girls. I think they peaked a week early. Julia Kowalinski ran very well once again. She stayed strong the whole way and got a nice 31st place finish. Emma Taylor and Grace Caspers paced together for most of the second mile with Emma coming out ahead this time. Emma has improved all season and Grace has really ran well. Our last four girls came in near the end. They found the long, hilly course tough. Angela Walters and Hellena Hacker worked together with Angela racing in ahead. Noami Zhou finished up right behind Hellena. Jenna Walters made it to the finish 15 seconds after Naomi. Overall the girls struggled, but were able to edge the Tri State team for 4th.

The middle school boys ran out conservatively at the start. Vincent Maurer and Caleb Schaber stayed close for a long time until Vincent picked up the pace near the end to nab the 10th place medal. Caleb finished with a good time of 12:52 to place 21st. Joshua LeSac pushed the pace throughout and was our 3rd runner in. He was followed by Leif Kostrzewa who placed 33rd despite coming in without a shoe. Kaden Hacker and Salim Lubbad kept Leif in their sights the whole way, working together to post times under 14 minutes. Jeffrey Breiling fell off the pace this time and raced with Noah LaBonte for the second mile. Noah had the better kick at the end to finish with a 14:18 time. Nathanael Chu raced in just 5 seconds behind Jeffrey. Tikvah Schlissel and Daniel Caspers stayed together the whole way until Tikvah pulled ahead from Daniel near the finish. Seka Kostrzewa started a run of five DASH athletes that came in right after each other. Seka was followed by Matthew Kowalinski, Ben Breitbach, Alexander Taylor, and Joshua Lipski. All those guys but Seka were in their first championship race. Ed Sherman raced in next, just ahead of Jacob LaBonte, and Bryant Farrell finished in 19:07. The boys ran pretty well, but are definitely a year or two away from being near the top. They finished 5th out of the 7 teams that scored.

Our high school girls were one of four good teams that would be vying for a top-2 team trophy. It would also be the last cross country race for long time DASH star Andrea Beck. Andrea got out fast and ran with the leaders through the first mile before settling into 4th place. She would hold her spot to the finish, running to an impressive 21:43 time. Three Chippewa Valley girls came in after Andrea making them the team to beat. Two Eagles girls were next followed by our own Kayla Bruton. Kayla took off and moved up in the last mile. It was enough to earn herself the 10th place medal. Her 22:34 time proved that her big run from last week was no fluke. Faith Caspers stayed close to Kayla through the first two miles and helped keep us in trophy contention with her personal best 23:10 time. Abby Chu never let Faith get more than a few seconds ahead. Her 23:12 time made us the team to beat for the 2nd trophy. We just needed Kayla Walters to get in. Kayla faded off the pace after the first mile, but picked it up just in time on the last loop. Her time was 24:04. Jessy Homa raced through the 5k course in a personal best 24:21. She came in ahead of the Eagles 5th runner boosting our lead over them to 4 points. The 2nd place trophy would be ours. Zipporah Caspers could not run at 100% because of a leg injury, but her great effort landed her a personal best 25:21 time. Katrina Lipski came to the finish in under 28 minutes once again as she finished up her good first season of high school racing.

The high school boys race was to be a battle between us and a very good NEWCHAA team. On paper we could not have been more evenly matched. DASH star Jacob Dickman and an Eagle broke away from the pack early. It would be a 2 man race the rest of the way. After some uncalled for elbowing and shoving from the Eagle through the first mile, Jacob got pushed back to second. Jacob held that spot to the end and finished with a great time of 16:36. Behind Jacob ran the first four NEWCHAA runners. We would have to get someone ahead of them or have their fifth runner fall much farther back if we were to win. Justin Chu stayed right behind the NEWCHAA pack, but they just stayed too strong all the way to the end. Justin’s great 17:40 time just wasn’t enough. The high school boys races have gotten so fast. Drake Hacker did his job staying close to Justin. He held his spot and was the top freshman in with a time of 17:51. Joe Hughes moved up in the last mile and with a roaring finish came in just two team points behind Drake with a personal best 18:07 time. We had John Sherman and Samuel Zinkgraf keeping their eyes on NEWCHAA’s 5th and 6th runners. In the last mile John and Samuel started moving well ahead of them and were able to put four guys in between them before it was done. The boys gave their best. It was time to count the points. NEWCHAA 37. DASH 41. So close again. Another 2nd place trophy would be ours. Lucas Ebel moved up to be our 7th runner in. Lucas joined us in the middle of the season and is just getting into top form. He could use a couple more meets. Joe Maurer, John Kowalinski, and Tim Kowalinski all broke 20 minutes. Joe and John have been great for us all season. It was good to see Tim get a result under 20. John Labonte got ahead of John Klaves just before the finish. Neither John had his best race of the year, but both are now posting nice times each time out. Ben Hughes had a very good day and lowered his best time to 21:32. Joshua Schaber came in just ahead of Will Farrell. Both Joshua and Will finished with personal bests in the low 22’s. Joshua Anumolu struggled with his breathing and could only give us a 23:37 this time out. Ben Fenelon finished off his first year of racing with a 24:20. It has been exciting watching this big 17 guy team running to fast times all year. Well done.

Thanks to everyone who made the trek to Verona. I hope the travel was worth it. Next year they are threatening us with Eau Claire. I am pushing back, and may end up with other plans for us. Thanks to Lindy Zinkgraf, Nancy Chu, Mary Beck, Hillery Farrell, Mike Schlissel, and anyone else who helped Kam with the post-race meal. It has never been better. Thanks to the camera crew of Bill Hacker, Juli Hacker, and Emily Caspers, who joined me in running around the course to catch all the action in photos. They came out very good. Thanks to Ed Beck for his help with the coaching and going to the coach’s meeting. And thanks to the athletes for giving the DASH fans plenty of opportunities to cheer you on.

Another year is done. A few of our athletes will be running individual events such as Foot Locker. For the others it will be a time to heal up, get some needed rest, and catch up on homework. The DASH Blog will be quiet now for awhile, but the seasons great stories and accomplishments will remain chronicled here and not be forgotten. The team will be very different next year. More different than we would like. Our seniors will move on to the next stage of their lives, and a new group of fresh faces will join the DASH veterans to work hard, set goals, become friends, and race. But first we have track and field in the spring. Invite a friend and have them join us as we work on making it another special season. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The DASH high school cross country team was back at the St. John Northwestern Military Academy for the first time in five years yesterday. It was the team’s last regular season meet. Running on the golf course in the back of the school grounds on an almost windless, mid-60’s day, we were looking to post some very fast times. The team scores were looking to be tight, so we would have to be at our best to come away with a top-3 team trophy.

Our girls team got out fast with Andrea Beck leading the way as usual. As the race thinned out, Andrea was running up with the leaders in 5th place, and that is where she would stay as she finished with a personal best 21:27. Kayla Bruton made an inspiring charge after the mile mark, and moved all the way up to 8th place before she was done. Her time of 22:17 was less than a minute behind Andrea’s. No one has stayed that close to Andrea the last three seasons. Kayla Walters stayed ahead of all the St. Joseph girls and broke 23 minutes to give the team a 10th place finish. It was the breakout race from Kayla that I have been waiting for. Abby Chu came to the finish surrounded by nine St. Joseph girls. She beat all but one and gave us a very important 12th place finish. All eyes were now on Faith Caspers who had fallen behind the big pack about half way through the race. Faith finished with a decent time of 23:36, but she came in after St. Joseph’s and Watertown Luther Prep’s 5th runners, and Kenosha Christian Life was still in it after having placed their first 3 runners in the top 6. The race was too close to call. Zipporah Caspers pushed herself to a nice 25:41 time to place 38th. Katrina Lipski ran very well and edged Jessy Homa at the finish to be our 7th runner in. Jessy was not 100%, but she toughed it out and made it to the finish.

Jacob Dickman made his way to the front early in the first mile with three other athletes lurking close behind. In the last mile, Jacob had dropped all but one. This time Jacob had to settle for second as an University Lake school athlete proved too strong. Jacob’s time of 16:17 obliterated the old DASH record. All of the boys times would be good today. Justin Chu looked fast as he ran in the top-10 the whole way. His 17:15 time put him in 8th place overall. Drake Hacker stayed behind Justin for most of the way, and also came in in under 18 minutes. Drake gave us three in the top-12. John Sherman gave us his best race of the season. He never let up and gave us a great time of 18:37. Samuel Zinkgraf left no doubts that he would get under 20 minutes this time. He moved up in the last mile and finished just a few spots behind John with a time of 18:45. We now had five in. We would have to wait to see how the team scores would fall. John LaBonte took another great leap forward in his quest to run varsity. He held off Joe Maurer at the end to be our 6th guy in. Joe finished just two seconds behind John with a 19:04 time. We’ve never had a 7th runner run that fast. John Kowalinski ran one of his best races and gave us eight runners finishing in less than 20 minutes. John Klaves was just four seconds over 20 minutes as he continues to improve each race. Lucas Ebel saved a lot for the last mile. His times are really coming down now after his late start to the season. Tim Kowalinski faded some again this race. He will have 11 days to get ready for the Championships. Joshua Anumolu got his best time down by about 2 minutes. He is really running now. No one looked stronger at the end than Will Farrell. He is now running in the 22’s. Joshua Schaber and Ben Fenelon are also getting better with each race. To have your 14th and 15th guys running low 23’s is amazing.

I peeked at the boys team scores before the award ceremony again this race. I will have to break that habit if the points don’t start falling our way soon. The boys ended out of the trophies by one point, and we were out of 2nd place by just six points. Oh, so close once again. I had no idea how the girls were going to end up, but we were told the top-4 were very close which we already knew. The excitement started getting pretty intense once the 4th place team was announced and it wasn’t us. St. Joseph’s was announced as the 3rd place team. Their pack running did not quite put them on top. It was now down to Watertown Luther Prep and us, and I was as stunned as anyone when Watertown was announced next. Our girls had won! Our top four girls had never run better, and it was enough to give us an amazing victory. I have been on a mission to get our girls fast for the last five weeks, and now that they are running the times I knew they were capable of, it is still hard to believe. Pinch me at the today’s middle school meet and remind me it really did happen.

Thanks to all the DASH fans who lined the course to keep everyone running fast. The little girls who followed me around for the girls race were especially great, but where were they for the boys? Thanks to Mary Beck for getting everyone their bib number. Thanks to Ed Beck and Chuck Maurer for help with the coaching. Thanks to Grace Zinkgraf for taking most of the photos. Thanks to athletes for working so hard, and making it worthwhile for us to run around ourselves and cheer you on. The season has become very special, but we have one big meet left that we have to be ready for. I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers




  • Cross Country 2016

  • Track 2016

  • Cross Country 2015

  • Track 2015

  • Cross Country 2014

    Bradley Tech Champions - 2014

  • Cross Country 2013

    Midwest Homeschool Champions - 2013

  • Track 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.