Centaurs pg 10 9-6-18

WOODSTOCK — Running was on the radar this summer for The Woodstock Academy boys’ cross-country team.
Summer conditioning is just about a must for the fall season.
Coach Peter Lusa was happy to see that the majority of his runners agree with that and had the technological evidence to back up their claims of what they did over the summer.
 “I was very happy with what I saw,” Lusa said. “We had the kids do some online logging of their running this summer, not everyone did it, but a lot of them did. It got the talk going and a number of kids did over 200 miles this summer. Some of them did that in the latter part of the summer, but they were thinking about it and I’m encouraged.”
The Centaurs return the majority of their top runners from last season when they put together a 4-8 record.
Reaching that four-win mark again this season might be a challenge.
The Centaurs find themselves in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference this season alongside defending ECC champion, East Lyme, and runner up Norwich Free Academy.
“It’s going to be interesting, Everybody has their up-and-down years, we will see where everyone is at. The thing I like about our sport is that it’s you versus the stopwatch. So if our kids are in shape and running well, they will do what they do. We don’t have the depth of an NFA but we will see how we do,” Lusa said.
Senior captain Noah Pepper knows what kind of challenge lies ahead.
“I’m terrified to be honest,” Pepper said with a laugh. “There are all these giant schools with teams probably double the size of ours, but we will take them on.”
Ethan Aspiras returns after a good freshman season that saw him lead the team across the finish line at the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship in 38th place last season. Aspiras, who came into practice a bit late, is one of those who put in the mileage over the summer.
Senior Kenneth Birlin finished second (59th overall) for the Centaurs in the ECC, but flip-flopped with Aspiras in the Class MM state championship race with an 81st place finish while Aspiras placed 95th.
Other runners that Lusa will be relying on include seniors Holden Pimental, Pepper, Spencer Collins and Kasdit Muenprastivej.
“I really never wanted to be a captain, but having the privilege to be and earning the trust of the coaches is reassuring. It feels good,” Pepper said.
Juniors Matt Roethlein, Evan Gianfriddo, Christian Mink, and Tristan Monahan return as do sophomores Tyler Barrette, Cody Currie, Jackson Dias, John Peabody and Noah Salsich.
The season starts for the Centaurs Sept. 8 when they race at the Haddad Invitational at Windham High School.
“It’s a way for the kids to see the big meet. It’s a way for us to have the conversation, ‘Hey, when you get out, you have to get out ahead or else you will get boxed in.’ It’s a teaching tool and a rallying point,” Lusa said of the Invite.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director


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