Archive for the ‘Middle School Cross Country’ Category

Hello DASH families,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

It was warm and extremely humid, as it always seems to be, for the annual Waukesha Cross Country Festival at Minooka Park. Our full team would be on hand to participate in the six races. The high school team would have its stiffest competition of the season. The middle school team would be facing several all-star teams comprised of athletes that participated in summer running camps hosted by some of the high school teams on hand. The competition was top notch, the course one of our most difficult of the season. Add in the noisy, festive atmosphere and we were set for a thrilling and challenging day of racing.

Jenna Walters and Naomi Zhou arrived early to be ready for the 8:30 AM JV Girls race. Jenna got out to a good start, stayed pretty steady when the course got tough, and finished in 36:41. Jenna’s time was a sign that the times would not be too fast once again in the super-humid conditions. Naomi Zhou started out too slow down the hill, but then picked up her pace to finish just 9 seconds behind Jenna.

Andy Forget was our first JV boy in once again. Andy really looked good, and had a much better finish this time which added up to a personal record 22:56. Andy is running close to our varsity runners now. If we have an opening in the meets ahead he will get the call. Joshua Lipski had a great start, and held up well to the big hill at the end. He lowered his pr by 2 seconds, a time which could come down considerably in the races ahead. Nathan Forget was back with us after missing the last race and he also raced in with a personal record, 24:26, but that pr does not reflect Nathan’s talent. Keep an eye on him. Cam Partenfelder got his time down to 24:31 with some nice striding. We may see him having a breakout race soon. Anthony Gotcher gave us nice effort, as always, but missed breaking 30 minutes this time. Cooler conditions and a faster course should fix that. I was really looking forward to this race, and the JV boys only have me more excited now about their prospects in the meets, and even years ahead.

The varsity girls would be starting only 4 because Terez Wycklendt needed the day off to rest her legs. Stephanie Chu helped us forget about a team score with her exceptional effort. Stephanie ran so well down the first big hill that I was showing some of our middle school stars her perfect technique while going over the photos. Stephanie was then able to maintain a torrid pace, and come back up that same big hill with a top-20 medal assured. Her time would be a DASH Minooka Park record 21:39. I was so impressed! Senior Emma Taylor once again smashed her own course record, this time by 50 seconds. She conquered the big hill at the end which is never easy. I am going to remind her of this accomplishment to try to get her to go out a little harder in the weeks ahead. Joy Rasch was having a breakout race, pacing behind Emma to the half-way point, but then stopped to tie her shoe. When she got going again her side cramped up and she fell back. We will get her shoes tied properly next race, so expect her to be fast to the end. Ella Johnson ran to almost exactly the same time she had last year. And it was after this race last year, that her times came way down. She also has a camera shy sister who would look good in DASH yellow.

The varsity boys would be missing two of their stars this time out, so we would need everyone to have big days, which unfortunately rarely happens. Caleb Schaber ran well, but did not push it too hard and ended up with an 18:44. Alexander Taylor looked like he was doing a tempo run, which was OK for this race. Micah Chan stayed steady, and then made a big charge up the hill at the the end to finish in a personal record 22:00. Matthew Schaber followed Micah around the course, but didn’t charge the hill quite as hard and finished 20 seconds back. Abiah Radtke was our third runner at the half way point, but struggled with a side-ache at the end and finished in just under 23 minutes. but we were running short-handed, and we fielded an especially young team for a Division 1 type race, and we were running short-handed, so our team score is not to be worried about.

Julianna Caspers paced the girls through the 1.4 mile middle school course. Julianna ended up winning the 2nd place medal in her grade level for the second year in a row. Bedalia again went out very casually, but then made up some lost ground to also hit the medal stand with a 6th place 6th grade finish. Our third girl in was surprisingly Maryana Anderson. Maryana had a fabulous pond loop, and then humbled the big hill at the end. Maryana just missed out on a medal this time, but as she is only a 2nd grader, she has many years ahead of her to win some hardware. Angela Walters got out to a good start, and was just tough enough on the last hill to stay ahead of Grace Caspers, who was very good again this time out. We will need Angela and Grace to continue their good seasons as the races get longer. Mary LeSac also had another good day. She started out fast and saved just enough to make it up the hill at the end. Charline Radtke went out fast, but then a side ache had her drifting back. Many were very surprised where she ended up as she has never really had a sub-par day before. I had Josephine Wichgers and Mary Claire Egan start out side by side with hopes that they would help each other along. And it went as planned as they were seen coming up the hill together. Josephine had her arms pumping at the end, conquering the big hill in just her first race. Mary Claire finished just a second later with her best race of the year. That was nice to see, and really got me excited. Andrea Chu was very steady this time out, but probably should have gotten out faster. I think she still had a lot left at the end. Natalie Radtke was happy with her race. She is gaining some confidence now, and only needs to get in more practice time. This was the day Ilyana Mallegni got in her first race. She ran hard and enjoyed herself. It was good to see her in a race after so many practices.

Nathanael Chu followed the medal-winning plan of going out fast and then conquering the big hill at the end. He won the 4th place 8th grade medal for his stellar effort. Erik Anderson did not go out nearly as fast, but did everything else to plan. His timid start hurt as he ended up missing the medal stand by a minuscule .2 seconds. James Manley really impressed the coach in his first cross country race. He got himself in good position early and looked strong coming back up the hill. Well done. We will see him again in two weeks. Andrew Anderson, Ephraim Radtke, and Josiah Chu all paced together through the course, pushing each other to some nice sub-10 minute times. We were hoping they may have cracked the top-10 in the 6th grade division, but they ended up 12th, 13th, and 14th. So close again. Charlie Johnson donned DASH yellow for the first time this season and toughed out a descent race, but not fast enough for his own high standards. I expect him to be very good later this year if we can get him to the races. Noah Caspers could have pushed himself a little harder around the pond, but he looked good on the last hill. Martin Wichgers continues to run well, although a little under the radar with so many of our stars out in front of him. Keep an eye on him. George Wichgers finished in over 18 minutes, but the attentive coach may have figured out the way to get him to run faster.

The middle school competition was better than it has ever been this year. As good as we ran, we did not crack the top spot in any of the team scores. The 7th grade girls were an easy 2nd behind the Jefferson all-star team. The 6th grade girls took 3rd in a very close battle between the 2nd-4th place teams, and the 6th grade boys ended up a close 3rd. We ran well so we have no regrets.

Thanks to Jenna Walters, Jodi LeSac, and Ed Beck for their help passing out and collecting the timing chips. Thanks to Mr. Beck for his help with the coaching, and again thanks to Mr. Beck for his help in taking down the tent and getting everything back in my van. I did not get involved much in the above duties because I took on the task of running around the park getting the photos for all six races. My feet held up pretty well. Now the high school team turns its attention to the second half of its season, and the middle school team gets ready for its four October meets. There is still plenty of action to look forward to. Of course, I hope to see you there.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

P.S. Disaster struck yesterday in my home as I was sitting down writing the above report with my kids goofing off behind me while putting off their after dinner chores. Julianna took a spill and then gave out a scream after looking at her left arm. Two bones were broken. She came home last night with a cast up past her elbow. It is hard to believe. Later, we received an encouraging report from Terez on her health. Oh, the vicissitudes of a cross country season that later gives us such scintillating DASH conversation! Sigh.

Hello DASH families,

The DASH middle school cross country team made the drive to Elkhorn last Wednesday to compete in the 7th annual Elkhorn Invitational. We have never missed a meet here, but the last two years we have found ourselves getting familiar with some modified courses because of construction. This years course had to be shortened down to 1.4 miles because of recent heavy rain. The athletes were warned before hand that the short, flat course would be running lightning quick, and that they would have to get out near the front early to have a chance at a top-10 medal. We would be racing only 7 other teams, but many would be arriving on multiple buses because of their size. In all, almost 350 athletes would cross the finish line, making this the biggest meet we have ever run in Elkhorn.

Our very good 7th and under girls would be the first to set up in box 5. Julianna Caspers stayed out of traffic at the start and then really moved up over the final loop to place 6th overall. Julianna has run all seven races here, and she made the medal stand for an amazing sixth consecutive time. Bedalia Radtke did not get out well and had me worried, but then she put the burners on just in time to move up to 8th at the finish. Bedalia’s medal run had the coach feeling much better about our team score. We had a little over 20 second wait, and then DASH yellow was seen heading to the finish in waves. Angela Walters, despite no practice the last week, took advantage of the short course, showing off her stride for her dad, and racing in as our 3rd scorer in 16th place. Julia Kowalinski got off to a fantastic start and was running near the leaders through the first loop. She fell back some through the second loop, but hung on to come in right after Angela in 17th place. Having your first 4 finish in the top-17 is exceptional in a race with 100+ athletes, but the good results were just hardly over. Charline Radtke strode in right after Julia with another great effort. We now had five in when no one else had four, so Charline’s 18th place finish pushed up the score on every other team. That would prove important. With a great second loop, Grace Caspers finished 10 seconds behind Charline for 21st place. She is running well and may like the longer races ahead. Mary LeSac was very good this time out, and gave us a seventh girl in the top-24. Hellena Hacker was next, hitting the finish in 26th place. I think Hellena may have been even better on a tougher course. Next was 2nd grader Maryana Anderson. She ran a pretty steady, very fast race to finish 29th. That gave us 9 of the first 29. With that kind of depth you would have thought we were one of the teams that came on two buses. Andrea Chu showed us some competitive fire as she finished in the top half in just her second race. Mary Claire Egan also had a very good day leaving over 50 athletes behind her. Compare that to last year here and you will know how much she has improved. Talia Kostrzewa was the only one not posting a good time. The coach and her mom both failed to make sure her shoes were tied properly, and she ended up finishing with just one. I am not sure how I missed her as I did have several of her teammates get their shoes retied. Expect to see her bounce back next race running fast as usual.

Seka Kostrzewa paced the 7th and under boys from the start. Seka ran up with the lead pack the whole way and hit the medal stand for the third year in a row, this time capturing the 6th place medal. Andrew Anderson went out more conservatively, but picked it up late and finished strong before being handed the 21st place card. Josiah Chu ran a very steady race, and gave the team a nice 27th place effort. Third grader Ephraim Radtke looked a little timid running with the big 6th and 7th grade boys at first, but when the finish line drew near he was seen coming in ahead of all but the first 33. Noah Caspers ran a strong, evenly paced race to place 48th. I think a tougher course would have moved him up some. Martin Wichgers ran well and finished exactly a minute behind fellow 4th grader Noah. George Wichgers was not hounded enough in the open course and finished in 15:45.

Natalie Radtke ran by herself in the 8th grade girls race, so the DASH fans were able to keep her moving fast. Natalie liked the short course and finished in an encouraging 37th place.

Nathanael Chu and Erik Anderson both had great starts in the 8th grade boys which kept them in contention for top-10 medals throughout. Nathanael ended up in a breakout pack of four boys the last half of the race, and gave us thoughts about a win, before settling for the 4th place medal. Erik was pressured from behind for most of the way, but that just had him going a little faster as he would not be denied the medal stand, earning the 9th place medal in impressive fashion. Nathanael and Erik really had big days.

The average team our size, 22 athletes, would have come away with about 2 1/2 medals. We ended up with 5. The average team of 22 would have put about 7 in the top third. We had 15 that can make that claim. We ran well, but that is not always reflected in the team scores at this meet because of the big, multiple bus, teams we face. This time our 7th and under girls came in ahead of the big Parkview and Elkhorn teams, getting ahead of Parkview on our tie-breaking 5th runner. (Thank you, Charline). It is hard to believe that the girls only came in 2nd. The East Troy team went 1-2-3-25 to come out ahead. They were impressive. The 7th and under boys finished 4th out of the 7 scoring teams, missing 3rd by just 1 point. It was definitely a fun, competitive day of racing.

Thanks to Mr. Beck for being our flawless official scorer. Thanks to Jodi LeSac for collecting the place cards, also without a flaw, thus making it an easy day for the coach. Thanks to all the DASH families for making the drive down to Elkhorn. Thanks to the DASH fans, which included DASH athletes when they were not racing, for lining the course cheering on our stars. Thanks to the camera lady, who had help from Julianna Caspers and Mrs. Chu for getting the photos. And thanks to Philip Caspers for holding the umbrella for the camera lady. Now our thoughts turn to Saturday’s race at Minooka Park, the race with the big hill at the end. I hope to see you there on that big hill cheering our middle school stars on.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

Yesterday, the DASH middle school cross country team made its way up to Peace Lutheran in Hartford on a very warm and humid, mostly sunny day. There were thunderstorms in the forecast at times, but as the day went on the forecast looked more promising. When we arrived we found out that the plan was to run only one race, girls and boys combined, at 4 PM to get things finished before the potential rain. Chips were being tied to shoes, the course was being scouted, all while some ominous looking dark clouds swirled in unpredictable patterns above our heads. Then about 3:45 PM lightning was seen. Soon after, we were sitting in our vehicles getting out of a heavy downpour. The rain stopped for a few minutes, only to come back once again even harder. Finally at about 4:15 PM things cleared up, but we came out hearing about rumors that the race had been cancelled. The coach went into lobbying mode, scrambling around and making it known that the DASH team was ready to race. To our relief, the cancel rumors turned out to be just that – rumors. The race was on! And the weather was much cooler. We would get to see our very promising middle school athletes in action after all. (Exhale from the coach as he wrote that.)

All 23 of out athletes had plenty of time to warm up and pose for a nice team picture while they waited for the race to eventually start at 4:45 PM. As the horn went off, we saw Nathanael Chu race out to the front as the team headed down the hill to the sidewalk around the back neighborhood. It was a welcome sign that the boys, along with our powerhouse girls team, were going for some wins.

In the boys race, Nathanael stayed up with a breakout pack of four 8th grade boys to the finish. Nathanael would put his claim on the 4th place medal with a super fast 9:45 clocking. Seka Kostrzewa got out to a great start and held on for 9th place in the end. Seka’s 10:24 time gave him rights to the 1st place 5th/6th grade medal. Erik Anderson was amazing in his first cross country race, eventually working his way up to finish a step behind Seka all while giving us a third top-10 runner. The only team that seemed to be a threat at this point was the Richfield team wearing red. Josiah Chu really looked fast and cracked the top-20 with an impressive 11:09 time. He will be counted on to come through for us a lot this season. Ephraim Radtke gave us a fifth runner in the top-25 and was the top 3rd/4th grader by almost a minute. He is a special talent. Andrew Anderson moved up close to Ephraim in the end, taking 29th with an 11:23. Andrew never faded in his first race which bodes well for my prediction of future stardom for him. Noah Caspers put in a solid effort which won him the 3rd place medal in the 3rd/4th grade division. Martin Wichgers also looked good in his first race, adding his name to our impressive 4th and under contingent. Also add Philip Caspers name to the list as he toughed out a nice win in the 2nd grade division, once he found the finish line. George Wichgers got through his first race. He will only get faster.

The girls race was particularly tough to keep track of with all the boys in the way, but it looked early on like we would be the team to beat. Julianna Caspers led the way as usual, but then she rolled her ankle midway through. Bedalia Radtke kept Julianna in her sights and then moved up with a great finish to place 4th overall, which got her the 3rd place medal in the always tough 5th/6th grade division. Julianna toughed it out at the end to place 5th overall, 2nd among the 7th/8th graders. An inspired Charline Radtke was our next girl in and she finished just 32 seconds behind Julianna, all while winning the 1st place 3rd/4th place medal. Charline also gave us a third girl in the top-8. Did I mention that this was Charline’s first race? I knew Charline had the talent to post a result like this, but I did not expect it so early this season. Our girls team has become a little more scary good now. Julia Kowalinski picked up where she left off last season with a nice 13th place finish. Angela Walters faded a little at the end, but still gave us a fifth girl in the top-15. And I know Julia and Angela will be even better in the meets ahead. Grace Caspers is back running fast after struggling last year. Grace moved up in the last half of the race all the way up to 16th overall. Hellena Hacker showed off her much taller stride for us after a year off. I was impressed. Hellena came in just before Maryana Anderson who placed 20th. That gave us 8 of the top-20. Wow! Maryana is only a 2nd grader. Three minutes later the next 2nd grader from another team came through. Really. I am not making this stuff up. Mary LeSac did not get out fast enough for me, but she had a great finish to place 24th. She will be good this year. Mary Claire Egan was running near Mary early, but had a rough finish. A few more weeks of practice will fix that. She joined us late. Andrea Chu did well in her first race, proving she is more than just a dancer. I knew it all along. Talia Kostrzewa was our 5th runner in last year. Our team has improved so much that this year she was our 12th, coming in with about the same time, although the course ran slower this year. Talia earned the 2nd place 2nd grade medal for her nice effort. Natalie Radkte was the top 8th grader while placing 43rd, proving my point about 8th grade girls not participating as much. Hopefully that point will not harm us next year as we have so many very good 7th graders.

It took a while before the official results were ready, but it was worth the wait. The countdown of the boys teams scores left us in the top-2, but we were called out as the 2nd place trophy winners. We missed first by just five points. Our boys teams have been very good the last few years, and this year’s edition is reloaded and still top notch. The girls race was not very close with our girls coming out on top, winning the 1st place trophy with just 40 points, 21 points ahead of second. I have been waiting a long time for my little girls to get bigger and this is that year. And we are turning out to be as good as I ever hoped. We still have six meets ahead of us and I am really looking forward to each one. Tune in next Wednesday for the next chapter of the DASH 2019 middle school cross country team to be written. I hope to see you there.

Thanks to Mrs. Walters, the camera lady, and Mrs. Beck for passing out and collecting the timing chips. It went very smooth. Thanks to all the parents who made the drive to Hartland and waited patiently for the race. Thanks to Mr. Beck for his help with the coaching. Special thank to the Peace Lutheran folks and official starter and timer Tim Kuehl for squashing all the cancel rumors, not being afraid of a little rain, and giving the athletes a chance to race. When the rain did stop the camera came out allowing the camera lady to catch some of the days action in photos. The day was not lost after all. What a relief. (Another exhale from the coach as he wrote that, too.)

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




  • 2018 Cross Country

  • 2017 Cross Country

  • Track 2017

  • Cross Country 2016

  • Track 2016

  • Cross Country 2015

  • Track 2015

  • Cross Country 2013

    Midwest Homeschool Champions - 2013

  • Cross Country 2012

  • Track 2012

  • Cross Country 2011

  • Cross Country 2009

  • Cross Country 2004

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