Archive for the ‘Middle School Cross Country’ Category

Hello DASH families,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,
Jim Caspers


Hello DASH families,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The full DASH cross country team competed in the very competitive Waukesha Cross Country Festival last Saturday at Minooka Park. The high school team would be facing mostly Division 1 schools, and the middle school team went up against a couple of all-star teams running under the West Bend West and Wisconsin Lutheran names besides the usual good teams we face here. Overall, we would be up against our stiffest competition of the year with hopes that it would bring out our best, and toughen us up some for the last four big weeks of racing left on our schedule.

Katrina Lipski led the JV girls around the course in the first race of the day at 8:30. Katrina put together one of her best races ever as she hit the finish in 28:35. If I have to leave her on JV, she should be near the front in all our remaining races. Sandrelee Velez led Shariah Hyler up the big hill to the finish, but Shariah came in just ahead as they went down the short hill to the finish. The girls times were both in the 32’s, cutting off close to 4 minutes from their times last week. Very good progress, girls.

Jacob Parker got off to an amazing start in the boys JV race, running in about 3rd place at the half mile mark. But then, unfortunately, he would be slowed by an ankle sprain and hobble in with a 27:46. If Jacob can heal up and be ready for the next race, he will be running with the varsity squad. Matthew Schaber gave us another steady race, making it to the finish unscathed in 22:55. He looked pretty fresh at the end which means he is ready to push his times down much lower. John Shane was in his first cross country race, and handled the very tough Minooka Park course pretty well. He has some talent. He just needs more practice time.

The varsity girls took the next shot at conquering Minooka. Abby Chu proved up to the task as she flew through the course in just 21:46. That was good enough to get her a top-20 medal, the team’s first ever at this big meet. Wow! Stephanie Chu was 29th overall with a personal record 22:18. Those who set personal records at Minooka are ready for a big second half of the season. Keep your eyes on Stephanie. Alivia Kempf’s 23:07 time was faster than any of our girls ran last year, meaning the girls were having an epic day thus far, but the Minooka course bit back and it was Katie Gorectke who was the victim. Like Jacob before her, Katie rolled her ankle after a good start and never did make it to the finish. Emma Taylor toughed out a 26:23, and to her credit wouldn’t let Faith get by her, but the Minooka course did wear on Emma. Faith ran well for awhile, coming in just a fraction of a second under 27 minutes, but her best times of the season remain future. Ella Johnson was moving up on Faith near the end and settled for a 27:15. Now she can look forward to one of her favorite courses next. Naomi Zhou missed the JV race, but we found room for her in the varsity race. She was a little over matched, but did manage a season best time. When the points were counted the girls came in with a very respectable 11th place finish. I think I sense big things ahead for the girls.

Caleb Schaber led the varsity boys once again, finishing with a routine 18:44. We will need Caleb to come up even bigger in the weeks ahead, and I think he will prove up to the task. Drake Hacker looked confident while running to a 19:15 time. He is slowly working his way up close to Caleb now. I like that. Kaden Hacker is really turning heads each time out. He battled until the very end, and maybe even left the Minooka course a little humbled, moving up to finish just a split second behind Drake while setting a personal record in the process. As I said earlier, those who set personal records at Minooka are ready for a big second half of the season. Keep your eyes on Kaden. So far, so good, but at Minooka it rarely ends up all good. For the third race in a row, an ankle sprain would slow us down. Alex Taylor would be the latest victim. Alex would finish, but his 20:45 put him almost 2 minutes off his best. Joshua Schaber and Vincent Maurer both had descent races, but ended up in 100+ place running in such a tough field. They will stack up much better in our races ahead. If Alex can bounce back fast, the boys look to be ready to have a big second half.

Our long day continued. We were on to the middle school girls. Julianna Caspers stayed near the leaders and broke 10 minutes over the 1.4 mile course. That effort earned Julianna the 2nd place 6th grade medal. Bedalia Radtke really picked it up after a conservative start, and was the next 6th and under girl to hit the finish line. A 10:54 from Bedalia won her the 3rd place medal. Very nice. Mary LeSac proved her great result from her first race was no fluke. She followed it up with an 11:44 12th place finish. Our 6th grade team score was looking good. And our next girl in was another 6th grader. Julia Kowalinski made her season debut with an 11:50. Not too bad, but long-time star Julia should be even better in the meets ahead. Julia was followed by yet another 6th grader, Grace Caspers. Grace is getting fast now and hopefully putting her knee issues behind her. Just like that, we had our first five 6th grade division athletes in. Our team score was complete. When the results were posted, the girls had overwhelmed the competition, winning the 6th grade race by 30 points with a team score of just 40 points. Our young girls are living up to their potential so far this year. Rebecca Anderson and Jenna Walters ran close through the course with Rebecca coming out just ahead. Both girls posted 13:38 times. These two 8th graders are very close and should push each other all season. Alexa Bruton posted a 14:08 and remains close to really pushing her time down. Natalie Radtke went out really, really fast down the big hill, and then really fast up the big hill on the way back. Once she gets better at the middle part of a race she will be a star. Mary Claire Egan picked a tough course for her first cross country race. She showed us some potential and posted a nice 16:25 time.

The middle school boys were saved for last and they did not disappoint. Abiah Radtke had a fantastic finish, edging Zackery Meyer at the line with both boys posting identical 8:49 times. This was Zackery’s first DASH race, and he was impressive. Zackery can make it to the Saturday races, so hopefully we will see more from him in the weeks ahead. But as good as Abiah and Zachery ran, they just missed out on the medal stand. The 8th grade division was amazingly tough this year with the top 15 boys all being in that division. Nathanael Chu on the other hand posted a routine, for him, 9:07. That time ended up getting the 1st place 7th grade medal, and he won it by 16 seconds! Oh, yeah! Micah Chan impressed the DASH fans once again. His charge up the hill moved him up to 19th place in that overly tough 8th grade division. Our really good little boys started coming in next. Josiah Chu was the first to hit the finish this time. His 10:35 kept him ahead of Charlie Johnson and Noah Caspers. Charlie recovered from a slow start to place right behind Josiah in the 6th grade race. Noah really pushed Josiah and Charlie along, with our star 3rd grader posting a very nice 10:54 time. I would say some more nice things about these three, but they were really four, as 2nd grade Ephraim Radtke made his DASH debut in style. Ephraim showed off his immense talent, moving up considerably as the race went along and hitting the finish in 11:18. Compare these four boys times to the award-winning girls times and you will see how fast these guys were going. So impressive! Silas Johnson powered his way to a nice 11:27 time. He looked pretty good for a first race of the season. Joshua Lipski was our last runner in again, and yet he is running so well. Our boys this year are all running in the top half of the race, and that has me bragging a lot. Well done, guys.

In such a big meet we were bound to have a few disappointments mixed in, but after finally getting through writing about all the six races above, I am a little overanxious to get on to our next meets. This is turning out to be one of my hardest working teams, and the fruits of their labor is becoming more apparent each time out. Wednesday middle school, and Friday high school meets are next up. I hope to see you there.

There is too much running around at this meet for me to do it all myself, so thanks go out to Mr. Beck and even Mrs. Kempf for their help with the coaching. I saw a lot of great pictures of DASH fans cheering the athletes on, many of who were even wearing DASH yellow. Thanks to all of you. Getting photos at Minooka is a truly big task. I always have to run around and take many myself, but I had Grace Caspers and Julianna Caspers helping out in the JV races, and Zipporah Caspers saved my day by taking the majority of the photos in the other four races. Special thanks to them. The photos turned out mostly good, so be sure to check them out.

Take care,
Jim Caspers

Hello DASH families,

The 2018 DASH middle school cross country team was in action for the first time this season last Wednesday in Hartford, competing in the 3rd annual Peace Lutheran Panther Prowl. It was a new meet for us that looked to be a good fit. The competition would be 12 medium to small schools, with one girls and one boys race over a challenging course. And we would have chip timing courtesy of Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School. With a month of practicing behind them, it was finally time to see how our middle school team would fare against some good teams from up north.

Ninety-four girls took the field at 4 PM. Our girls got out fast, but not too fast. Julianna Caspers made her big move to the front in the second half of the race. As she hit the finish line in 11:24, she had moved all the way up to 3rd place overall. A very good start for our long-time star. Bedalia Radtke also moved up throughout and glided in with a 12th place finish and a 12:22. Very impressive as usual from Bedalia. Joy Rasch was struggling in practice a few weeks ago, but she has now found her great running form from last year, giving us a big 15th place finish. Our team score was looking promising. Mary LeSac had her best cross country race ever, coming through for us with a 25th place finish in 13:25. Having Mary continue to run her potential will be important for us. Talia Kostrzewa ended the race with one less tooth than she started with. That is the definition of running hard in my book. She also was our 5th runner in, and her 43rd place finish would help make the day special. The rest of the girls all came in quickly from here. Rebecca Anderson had a memorable first race, cracking the top-50 and the 15 minute mark with a 14:56. She is only going to get better. Grace Caspers finished one second ahead of Jenna Walters with a 15:16. Grace and Jenna are a little under-trained right now, but we can fix that. Alexa Bruton had an exciting first mile, but faded a little in the tough back stretch. She should put together a complete race soon. Natalie Radtke decided to run without practicing much. She showed us all how talented she is, finishing a solid 62nd overall. She also showed us how important practicing is. Good job, Natalie.

Eight of the 128 athletes were wearing DASH yellow in the boys race. We would not be one of the big teams, but all our boys on the starting line can really run. Leif Kostrzewa went out with the lead pack, but eventually dropped back to run with Abiah Radtke. Leif and Abiah jockeyed back and forth, both staying in the top-10 the rest of the way with Leif coming in one second ahead of Abiah with a 10:02. Leif’s 7th place finish, and Abiah’s 8th place finish left us as one of the teams to beat. Nathanael Chu kept up a fast, relentless pace, keeping Leif and Abiah in his sights and giving us 3 boys in top-12. It was hard to count the points with teams wearing similar t-shirts, but we were obviously doing very well. Seka Kostrzewa held down a top-25 spot through the course and finished in 11:02 for 23rd place. 5th grade Seka has been a star now for years despite his age, so another great finish by Seka was welcomed and expected. Seka was shadowed by new cross country star Micah Chan who gave us a fifth top-25 finish. Micah cut off over a minute from his previous best 2500 meter time. Outstanding! We would have to wait to see where we ended up in the team scores, but I was liking our chances. Noah Caspers got knocked down and run over early, but he recovered to finish 45th in 12:06. Looking over the standings, Noah was the top 3rd grade and under runner in the field. He was fast! Josiah Chu came in two spots behind Noah with a 12:13. He ran well, and will run even better in the races ahead. Joshua Lipski finished 66th overall in 12:48. To have all the boys done in 12:48 is amazing. There were still over 60 runners out on the field when our day was done.

Before the team scores were announced, we won our share of the individual medals. Julianna Caspers was 2nd in the 5th/6th grade division. Talia Kostrzewa was 3rd in the 2nd grade division, and Joy Rasch won the 4th place 7th/8th grade medal. Noah Caspers was announced as the 3rd place 3rd/4th grader, and Seka Kostrzewa got the 5th place medal in the 5th/6th grade division. Leif, Abiah, and Bedalia ended up just a few spots away. Then the tension started to build as the boys teams scores were called out in reverse order. When the 3rd place team was announced and it wasn’t us, we knew a trophy would be ours. To our relief and excitement, Hartland Central was called out next leaving the 1st place trophy for our boys. We had won by a comfortable 11 points. What an impressive showing!  The girls team scores were called out next, and to everyone’s surprise the DASH girls were announced as the 2nd place trophy winners. We edged the 3rd and 4th place teams by just 4 and 7 points. What a day for our young girls team! Oh, what a day of DASH racing!

Thanks go out for all the DASH families that made it up to Hartland. I hope the well run meet, along with our good results made it worth the drive. Thanks to Ed Beck for his help with the coaching. Thanks to everyone for getting the chip timers out of your shoes and ready to return. Thanks to the camera lady for catching the exciting action in photos. And thanks to Peace Lutheran for inviting us, setting up the course, and giving us a chance to race. We get to see this team plenty more in the weeks ahead, including this Saturday.  You’ve got to see this team run. I hope to see you there.

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, July 31st. The middle school athletes will join them on Thursday, August 9th.  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. Middle school athletes will also have to purchase a team t-shirt for $10 if they do not already have one. You wear them at the meets and they are yours to keep. You can also use the t-shirt during track season.

This will be our 14th 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 I hope to see you all soon.

Take care,
Jim Caspers


Hello DASH families,

The DASH team took a road trip up to Eau Claire last Saturday to compete in the Homeschool Championship at the picturesque Hickory Hills Golf Course. The cool, not too windy, weather gave our 35 athletes on hand an ideal setting to post some fast end-of-season times, and a chance to see how we stack up against our homeschool rivals from across the state.

The national anthem was sung, and then the high school girls were rushed to the start line with little time to get ready. Abby Chu and Kayla Bruton went out fast and got in good position in the first loop, but it did not take long for the favored Homeschool Eagles to take control of the race. It was soon apparent that the home Chippewa Valley team would be the team we would need to hold off. Abby Chu settled into the 4th spot early and gave chase to the leaders through the course. She held her spot to the end, and raced in with a personal best 21:54. Well done. Kayla Bruton struggled through the middle of the course, but came on at the end to move up to 6th overall. We had our first two girls in, but then Chippewa Valley’s first two were seen passing an Eagle at the finish to move up into 9th and 10th. Stephanie Chu had a big day as our 3rd scorer coming in with a personal best 22:28 12th place finish, and two spots ahead of the next Chippewa girl. Then the 4th Chippewa Valley girl edged another Eagle to finish two spots ahead of our 4th runner. The race was staying close. Faith Caspers had her best race of the year by over a minute with her 23:31 time, and may have saved the day for us as she kept Chippewa’s 5th girl just behind her through the course. Now we just needed our 5th girl to hit the finish line without too big of a gap and that’s what we got. Eight seconds is all it took for Alivia Kempf to charge in with a 23:46 followed closely by Katie Gorectke’s personal record 23:49. The Chippewa Valley team gave us a great race, but our girls kept things in hand the whole way. The 2nd place plaque would be ours. Jessy Homa posted a season best 25:45. Jessy really finished the season strong despite running with ankle issues. Emma Taylor was the next runner in with a 26:04. Unfortunately I had to keep my attention on the racing ahead of her and couldn’t help push her along. Ella Johnson never really got going this time. Maybe she got stuck in the wrong hotel room. Junior Katrina Lipski finished up her best high school year, posting a season best 28:14. The girls met the coach’s high expectations, and they really needed to to place in the top-2.

Drake Hacker, Brian Durbin, and Caleb Schaber stayed close through the first mile of the high school boys race, but as it was in the girls race, it did not take long to see that we would be shooting for 2nd as the senior heavy NEWCHAA team was not going to let anyone beat them. Drake Hacker then tucked in two spots behind the Eagles first runner, but Caleb Schaber and Brian Durbin fell back behind the Eagles next two. That was not a good sign. Tim Kowalinski and Vincent Maurer were staying in good position ahead of the Eagles 4th and 5th runners keeping the race for 2nd very close. Drake Hacker never cracked and held down his 6th place spot to the finish. It took a season best 18:20 from Drake, but it also left us two points behind. The Eagles 2nd runner came in just seconds behind Drake. We would be playing catch up now. Caleb Schaber moved up the last mile to challenge the Eagles 3rd runner, but the Eagle refused to be passed. Caleb finished less than a second behind him with Brian coming in a few seconds later. Vincent and Tim both came in with personal records of 19:08 and 19:13 with only one runner between them and Brian. We had placed all of our 5 in the top-13, but the way the points were falling we were going to need some other teams to help us out and point the 4th and 5th Eagles. Vince and Tim finished a combined 51 seconds ahead of the last two Eagles, but it was not to be. Not one athlete came through to point the Eagles. We had beat them easily on time, yet finished two points behind. Remarkable. John Klaves placed 22nd with a 20:15, and he came in ahead of an Eagle. I liked that. Ben Hughes keeps improving. 20:35 is his new personal record. Joshua Schaber moved up at the end and placed 31st with a 21:12, and Theodore Flunker left a little too much out there, feeling great at the finish with a 23:09.

We rounded up a full middle school girls team just before the roster deadline and they were next. Julianna Caspers battled near the lead pack the whole way, and eventually moved ahead of all but one of the girls near her. She placed 6th overall with a nice 14:01 time over the 2 mile course, but the one Holy Family girl she couldn’t catch at the end would prove important. Joy Rasch had a big race and placed 16th overall with a 14:54 time. She has never looked better. Bedalia Radtke never slowed over the long course and posted an impressive 15:27 21st place finish. It was great to see Julia Kowalinski’s stride once again. This was her first face of the season because of a foot injury and she made it a good one. She faded a little at the end over the long course, but she gave us a much needed 26th place finish and broke 16 minutes. Hellena Hacker is slowly becoming one of our stars now. She was our 5th scorer and came in just ahead of a NEWCHAA girl. That would also end up being very important. Savanna Bruton started slow, but then came on and finished just 3 spots behind Hellena. The team scores were going to end up very tight, and Savanna’s strong finish would give us the tie-breaker if needed. Alexa Bruton held up well over the long course finishing in 17:43. Natalie Radtke showed flashes of great running once again. I am keeping her in my plans for next year. The race for the 2nd place plaque turned out to be a 3-team race between Holy Family, NEWCHAA, and us. NEWCHAA was declared the 4th place team with 81 points. We were called out next with 80 points. Julianna gave us a 3 point lead, and NEWCHAA beat our next 3 all by one point. The tie-breaker was Hellena finishing just one point ahead of their 5th. Then we found out that Holy Family had come in just two points ahead of us for 2nd. If Julianna could have moved into 5th we would have had it. The youth of our girls team has had me planning ahead for a big season next year. Being just two points away this year was definitely one of our highlights. Great job, girls.

Our middle school boys were saved for last, and this is the one team where we were not able to bring along some of our key stars. We would have been overwhelming favorites with everyone, now we were just one of the favorites. Alexander Taylor and Ethan Blischke pushed the pace early as usual and worked their way to a sizable lead. Only one Chippewa Valley boy ever came up to challenge them. He gave our boys a race, but Ethan moved up and took over in the second mile. He would go on for a big victory with a 12:00 time. Alexander paced a few seconds in back of Ethan and gave the Chippewa athlete no ideas of passing. It would be 1-2 finish for the DASH team. Kaden Hacker gave us another outstanding finish. He held down the 6th place spot and stayed ahead of the 2nd Chippewa Valley boy to the end. It took a 12:48 time from Kaden to give us 3 in the top 6. We had a big lead out of our top 3, but meanwhile Chippewa Valley was placing their first 5 all in the top 15. We would have to stay very strong to win. Nathanael Chu came in 17th overall with a 13:14 time. That was good, and it would have been plenty good if Nathanael was our 5th like he was last meet. Now the wait was on for Matthew Schaber or Abiah Radtke, but unlike in the high school race where no one would come through to point the Eagles and help us, Chippewa Valley had plenty of teams helping them. Matthew Schaber made it to the finish in 13:57. That was good for 25th place, When the points were counted Chippewa Valley had beaten us by three. So many close finishes with few of them going our way. Abiah Radtke had his best race to date with a 14:08 29th place finish. Josiah Chu posted a nice 14:57 time and was the top 4th grader in the race. Joshua Lipski came in with a 17:23. The boys were good. Chippewa Valley was a little better than the team we brought. They did have home field advantage on us. We should maybe invite them to Greenfield Park for round 2.

Our award winning team was able to pile on a couple more. And we were just two points away from team plaques in the other two races. That’s a good day of racing that no other team could match. I hope it was worth the time and expense of making it up to Eau Claire and back for everyone. Word has it that the Championship may be back near Madison next year.

Thanks to everyone who made the trip. We took enough to fill about 15 hotel rooms. I never thought we would get that many to the meet. It was truly a trip with some of the best times coming on Friday. The hiking was very scenic. The fellowship at the restaurant, hotel lobby, and poolside was definitely scintillating. You had a proud coach overseeing everything. Thanks to Ed Beck and Chuck Maurer for their help with the coaching. Thanks for our volunteers at the meet, and thanks to the Schaber’s for bringing up all the paper products and water cooler in their van. Thanks to Grace Caspers who took a break from running and took most of the great photos. Faith Caspers and the coach took over for the middle school boys race. The end-of-the-year party is next. There will be plenty to hand out for the team this year. You will not want to miss it. 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.