Woodstock Academy girls’ outdoor track coach Josh Welch discusses and displays a technique that he wants to see employed by the Centaurs this spring. Photo by Marc Allard.

There is one word that describes the Woodstock Academy girls’ track and field team to perfection.
The Centaurs had a nice turnout of student-athletes with 40 coming out for the program, but many have never experienced the sport before.
“More than half the roster is freshmen and sophomores and many are first-time track athletes. Several of our junior and seniors are also out for the first time so we’re young,” said girls’ track and field coach Josh Welch.
But there is a silver lining.
There are a host of athletes who are coming back from indoor track and cross-country to compete in outdoor track.
“Those people have a better foundation and are able to start doing more intense workouts than just starting from the ground floor,” said senior Aria Gianfriddo.
Welch agreed and added that not only will that experience help when it comes to performance on the track, but will also help the overall attitude of the team.
“I think that group will help establish a challenging and supportive team culture focused on growth for both the individual and the team,” Welch said.
Among that group is junior Julia Theriaque who excelled in the indoor season in the high jump where she qualified for the New England championship after a seventh-place finish in the State Open.
“She played a tremendous leadership role with the team in the winter. She is toying with the idea of competing in the (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) Heptathlon competition at the end of the season. That will be exciting to work toward,” Welch said.
Gianfriddo, who did well in the relays, middle distance and hurdle events in the indoor season, will continue to mix it up this spring. She does, however, want to concentrate on a couple of events including one she didn’t get too much work in during indoors.
“I want to focus on the 300-meter hurdles and long jump. I want to try (long jump) again, I used to do it in middle school. I also want to stick with the 800-meter or below because I’m not as good as I should be in distance,” Gianfriddo said.
The senior will be one of those competing for a last time in a Woodstock Academy uniform before graduation in June.
 “It’s kind of bittersweet,” Gianfriddo said. “I really like this team, but I’m happy to be moving forward.”
In the meantime, Gianfriddo has also found a new role – mentor.
“Aria is also a great help teaching new athletes the ropes,” Welch said.
In addition to the indoor track team being a source of strength, Welch will also get help from the cross-country squad.
Freshman Linsey Arends, who placed 10th in the State Open cross-country championship in the fall, has set her sights on competing in the mile in the outdoor season.
Distance events will also be covered by senior Shannon D’Alessandro, junior Megan Gohn and sophomore Iris Bazinet.
“This gives most of our cross-country team training this spring, which is also great for the coming fall as well,” Welch said.
Senior Maddie Grube returns to work in the long and triple jumps while freshman Sydney Couture will continue to try and hone the craft of pole vault, something she did over the winter indoors and Welch is looking forward to seeing what she can do with a little more air time this spring. 
The Centaurs have moved up to Division I in the Eastern Connecticut Conference this fall.
That means there are only three dual meets to compete in, Fitch, Norwich Free Academy and East Lyme, but more time to train and prepare.
“There is less meets to be able to qualify (for state competition), but it’s good that we get to compete in the new division,” Gianfriddo said.
Date   Opponent   Time/Location
Apr. 9  Fitch  4 p.m. / Away
Apr. 24  NFA   3:45 p.m. / Home
Apr. 26 Ledyard Relays  4 p.m. / Away
Apr. 27  Ledyard Relays  10 a.m. / Home
May 3  Middletown Invitational  4 p.m. / Away
May 4  Middletown Invitational  10 a.m./ Away
May 14  E. Lyme  3:45 p.m. /  Away
May 20   ECC Championship  2:30 p.m. at E. Lyme
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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