By Ron P. Coderre
This week’s RPC column is dedicated to “Wee Willie” Hryzan.  A standout baseball player for the former Putnam Savings Bank team of the old Putnam Senior League, Hryzan now devotes his leisure time to fishing, playing golf and a good game of “catch five.”  Hryzan blew out another candle on the cake on March 8 but he’s not divulging how many tapirs were on the gateaux.
It may seem like old hat to some but to the Woodstock Academy gymnastics team winning championships is a goal that the team works hard at every day and strives for each year.  These young ladies under the tutelage of first-year coach Kasey Fillmore put in uncounted hours of training and practice to achieve their goal.
Last week in Southbury at Pomeraug High School, Woodstock Academy, led by Paige Stuyniski, Grace Logan and Lydia Taft, ran away from the field in the CIAC Class S competition.  It was the Centaurs sixth straight class championship, four in Class S and two in Class M.  They have the distinction also of winning the past four State Open titles.
In winning the Class S title, Woodstock posted a score of 147.050, easily outdistancing second-place finisher Old Lyme, who had a score of 128.575.  Stuyniski was the team’s top performer with an all-around score of 38.925.  The lithe junior won the beam and the floor.  She scored a perfect 10 on her beam performance, which, according to coach Fillmore, was the first on the state level.  Her floor score was 9.8.
The second half of the Centaurs one-two combination, Logan also won two events.  She captured the vault with a score of 9.55 and the bars, posting a 9.675.  She was second with an all-around score of 38.000.  Taft, just a freshman, was third overall at 36.525.
Fillmore, who was an All-State performer and state champion during her high school years at Killingly and a collegiate standout at Bowling Green University, succeeded her mother Robin Deary-Fillmore who retired at the end of last season.  Kasey Fillmore had previously served as an assistant at Woodstock Academy following her graduation from college.  
The State Open competition was contested on Saturday at New Milford.
First in History of Marianapolis 
Mat Program…
Marianapolis Prep in Thompson is known for its men’s and women’s soccer and basketball programs.  They’re very seldom thought of as a wrestling school
This season one of the school’s wrestlers posted a first in Marianapolis history winning a match at the National Prep Tournament.  Senior Harry Holte, competing in the 138-pound class, has been wrestling for the Golden Knights since his freshman year.  As the co-captain of the varsity wrestling team, he’s amassed an outstanding record in posting a 31-6 log, including 23 pins with 18 of those coming in the first period.  Holte, who hails from Sprague, won the EIL Tournament, placed third in the Northern New England Tournament and sixth in the New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Tournament.  During his varsity career he’s posted more than 60 wins.
“Competing at the Nationals was a humbling experience to say the least.  I faced kids who were the best in the states and respective leagues.  To compete with them was an amazing experience and made me remember everything I love about the sport,” said Holte in a release from the school.
According to his coach Chris Miller, Holte has come a long way during his four years at Marianapolis.  During his freshman year he managed only one victory but set goals for himself and dedicated many hours in perfecting his skill.
“His drive for excellence and his humility has made him a role model for the wrestling program.  Harry is a wrestler who his teammates look up to because they know his success was obtained through hard work and determination,” said coach Miller in the school’s release.
Holte, who also plays soccer and participates in crew, is a solid student, posting a 3.3 GPA in the classroom.  He’s hoping to attend Villanova University in September.  He’s also been accepted at the University of Maine and Salve Regina University.
“I’d like to become a nurse someday.  My goal in life is to help people in any way that I can.  I’ve been on mission trips with Marianapolis and enjoy the feeling I get when seeing others improve their life styles,” said Holte.
College Coaches Popping Up at PSA…
As the college basketball season comes to an end for many colleges the free time allows coaches the opportunity to attend games and tournaments that are being contested on the high school and prep school level.
The Putnam Science Academy gymnasium has been a hotbed of basketball action late in the season, attracting the attendance of many New England college coaches and giving them the chance to assess the talent on the court.  
Spotted on the Maple Street campus in the past few weeks was former UConn standout and current head coach of the Southern Connecticut State University Owls Scott Burrell as well as a familiar face, Quinnipiac University head mentor Tom Moore.  Spotted at the Northeast Prep Tournament was University of Maine head coach Bobby Walsh as well as Division II coaches Ted Hotaling of the University of New Haven Chargers and American International coach Andy Burkholder.
Catching Up With the Collegians…
Three former Putnam Science Academy players were in action last week.  In a televised game, the University of Dayton Flyers narrowly defeated the Richmond Spiders 85-84 thanks to an outstanding performance by Scoochie Smith.  The guard knocked home 26 points in the win for coach Archie Miller, as the Flyers prepare for the A-10 Tournament at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Two other former Mustangs were in action on the DI level.  Chaise Daniels, who appears to be back at full strength following knee problems, had 10 points for Quinnipiac in a loss to Siena, while Andrew Robinson was credited with a three-pointer.
Dandre Rhoden saw nine minutes of action for Fairleigh Dickinson University in an 81-75 victory over Central Connecticut State University.  Rhoden posted three rebounds but was held scoreless.
Stats Leaders…
Putnam High School sophomore Dan Porcic has had some high scoring games as the Clippers head down the home stretch.  Porcic’s scoring binge has projected him as the area’s top scorer at 19.5 points per game.  He’s followed by Plainfield’s Liam Jacobs at 16.3 ppg. and Ellis Tech’s lone bright spot Trent Raymond, who’s averaging 16.2 points a game.
The prep leader is PSA’s Hamidou Diallo (16.6) followed by Cam Winston of Pomfret (15.9), Joe Del Ricci of Marianapolis (14.0), Vince Conn of Pomfret (13.7) and Mamadou Diarra of PSA (13.3).
Killingly’s Meagan Bianchi is the girls’ scoring leader with an average of 14.8, while Plainfield’s Zoe Beaver is the girls’ top three-point shooter with 51.  In the prep’s scoring race, Pomfret’s Alyzae Davis continues as the leader at 15 points per game.  She’s followed by her teammates Deja Ross (12.3) and Olivia Batastini (9.9).  Nicole Anderson of Marianapolis is next at 9.4.
In hockey, the Woodstock trio of Ryan Black, Nathan DeLuca and Zack Burnham continue their torrid scoring pace.  Black has 46 goals and 34 assists for 80 points, while DeLuca has 33 G plus 33 A for 66 points and Burnham has 18 G + 20 A = 39 P. 
RPC’s Closing Thought For The Day: “I never got any respect from my old man.  I said ‘Nobody likes me.’ He said, ‘Don’t feel that way.  Everybody hasn’t met you yet.’”  Rodney Dangerfield
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