Centaurs pg 9 12-7-17

The end of the season may be much better for the Woodstock Academy gymnastics team than the beginning.
The Centaurs, the defending New England, State Open and Class S champions, are missing their top two gymnasts, Paige Stuyniski and Grace Logan.
“It’s absolutely tough to replace them,” said third-year coach Kasey Tocchio. “It takes a long time to get kids to be at that level and have that kind of leadership.”
Stuyniski now competes for Texas Woman’s University while Logan is at Tocchio’s alma mater, Bowling Green University.
“Grace and Paige were the safety scores. You knew they would provide big scores, even when Paige fell, she still scored big. We just don’t have that safety net any more. We have to make sure everyone is really confident in themselves, because they are all going to have to contribute,” Tocchio said.
Things actually looked pretty good at the end of last season for a continuation of dominance by the Centaurs.
Woodstock Academy has won the last six State Open championships and seven consecutive state class championships.
Coming back are three first team All-State performers in juniors Ali Crescimanno and Lydia Taft and sophomore Jenna Davidson.
Both Crescimanno and Taft are currently sidelined by injury and both are being assessed to see if they can compete this season.
Taft has been bothered by a back injury and Crescimanno suffered an assortment of injuries over the summer.
“It’s hard to say with Lydia’s back, we’re not sure if she will be back, but if she is it will probably be at the end of the season. We’re hoping that Ali can make a recovery, but it’s hard to tell,” Tocchio said.
Davidson has also been dealing with a knee injury and is still on the mend. She likely will be able to compete in about two events for the Centaurs at the start of the season.
The good news, junior Maddie Grube, a second team All-State performer last year is healthy and looking forward to the season.
“With all the injuries, it’s going to be a different year. It will be a year where we need a lot of girls to step up,” Tocchio said. “Without the injuries, we would have been close to where we were last year, but I know the girls who are healthy are ready to do the job. We will see.”
Junior Abby Vaida has looked great in practice and will be able to contribute. Grace Gronski, a freshman, who competes at Level-7 in USA Gymnastics, will be a help.
2017-18 gymnastics schedule
Monday, Dec. 18: vs. East Lyme/Montville/Waterford (at Deary’s Gymnastics, Danielson) 6 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 21: at East Lyme/Montville/Waterford (at ABC Gymnastics, Niantic), 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 10: vs. Stonington (at Deary’s Gymnastics, Danielson), 6 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 25: at Norwich Free Academy (at Thames Valley Gymnastics), 6 P.M.
Wednesday, Jan. 31: at Stonington, 6 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 5: vs. Norwich Free Academy (at Deary’s Gymnastics, Danielson), 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 14: Eastern Connecticut Conference championship (at Deary’s Gymnastics, Danielson), 5 p.m.
Girls’ Basketball
The Woodstock Academy Centaurs girls’ basketball team is hoping momentum can carry from year-to-year.
The Centaurs finished with a 12-8 record in the regular season last year, but rolled through the Eastern Connecticut Conference’s first-ever Division II tournament for a championship.
That momentum carried into the Class L state tournament where the Centaurs advanced into the quarterfinals where they lost to eventual Class L champion, Daniel Hand, 60-33.
The team finished 17-9 for the season.
“The goal is to pick up where we left off,” said fourth-year coach Will Fleeton. “I think the team has the potential to go even further than we did last year. I thought we had the potential to go further as well. Expectations are high and the state tournament is a must this year. I would like to get back to where we were.”
While some criticized the ECC tournament format last year, Fleeton was a fan.
“Last year proved it all for me, I lived it. I think we started playing some pretty good ball at the end of the season, things started to click and clicked even better in the (ECC) tournament. By the end of it, I think we were running on all cylinders which allowed us to make that run. I think those extra games got us where we needed to be,” the Woodstock Academy coach said.
The Centaurs will be more senior-laden than in the past.
Fleeton has had just one senior on the roster in each of his first three years.
This year, he will have six.
Guards Mackenzie Cayer, Kalianna Dingui, and Madison Brennan return. Forwards Olivia Perry, Ciri Miller and Jamie Woods also return for their final year in a Centaurs’ uniform.
“It’s rare for me,” Fleeton said of the experience. “But it will be nice for me to watch these kids, a lot of them started with me when I took over the program, so it will be nice for me to watch them go out.”
Fleeton added that the group will provide plenty of leadership for the underclassmen and also do a nice job self-policing one another.
Juniors Heather Converse, Mackenzie Eaton and Aislin Tracey also return as does sophomore Katie Papp.
There will be one missing piece of the puzzle this season.
Ari Koivisto transferred before the school year began.
“It’s huge. She’s a talented player and any team that loses a player with talent like that will have a downfall somewhere, but I’m confident the girls will pick up the pieces,” Fleeton said.
Koivisto was the floor general for the Centaurs and was also a capable scorer.
But Woods and Converse are capable of filling the basket and the Centaurs have a solid backcourt.
 Girls’ basketball schedule
Tuesday, Dec. 12: vs. Montville      7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 15:     vs. Fitch            7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 16: at RHAM      5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 19:  Plainfield          7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 22:      at NFA             7 p.m.
Centaur Classic Tournament at WA
Wednesday, Dec. 27: vs. Windsor 3:30
Friday, Dec. 29:      vs. TBA             TBA
Saturday, Dec. 30:   at Gilbert          2 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 2:       at Griswold       7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 5:           at Montville       7
Tuesday, Jan. 9:       Killingly             7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 12:         Waterford         7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 16:     at Stonington    7
Friday, Jan. 19:         at Bacon Academy  7
Tuesday, Jan. 23:      Ledyard             7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 27: at Longmeadow,
 Mass. 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 30:     at Killingly           7
Friday, Feb. 2:          at Waterford        7
Tuesday, Feb. 6:      Bacon Academy  7
Friday, Feb. 9:          Stonington           7
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director


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