Senior Julia Theriaque led the way for the Woodstock Academy Centaurs girls’ indoor track team Dec. 18 as it picked up three wins in its season-opening meet at Tantasqua Regional Vo-Tech.
The Centaurs downed Bay Path Tech, 53-29; Oxford, Mass. 58-24 and Wilbraham & Monson, 63-8.
“The girls started out missing several key athletes in mid and distance events due to obligations to the winter concert.  Despite that, they were dominant in all three meets thanks to the efforts of their teammates.  It is very exciting to see everything coming together so well early in the season,” said Woodstock Academy indoor track coach Josh Welch.
Theriaque picked up some of the slack.
The senior was the team’s leading scorer as she finished first in the high jump (5-feet-1), won the 600-meter and was also a member of the winning 4x400 relay team.
“Julia looks excellent early in the season.  She hasn’t missed a step. She has a little dust to brush off on her approach and consistency on her plant in high jump but she looks confident, and stronger than before,” Welch said. “I think this will be a great season for her.  Her ability to work through her hamstring injury last outdoor season, by being patient, working with her family to rehabilitate, and not getting discouraged says a lot about her character and why she makes a great captain and role model for the other girls.”
Theriaque qualified for the Connecticut Class L state championship meet with her 5-1 finish in the high jump. She also helped mentor freshman Morgan Bonin who just missed at 4-7, which is just an inch shy of the state qualifying mark of 4-8 in the event, and finished fourth.
Sophomore Linsey Arends finished first in the 1,600-meter in 6:03 and teammates Lauren Brule and Madison Bates finished behind her to give the Centaurs the sweep in the event. Arends also qualified for Class L competition down the road with a 3:27 finish in the 1,000-meter.
“Linsey is an amazing athlete that is growing more coachable, and a lot tougher as she gains experience.  We can always count on her best effort and to put points on the board.  This season she is taking the opportunity to work a totally different aspect of her running by working more on mid distance and adding some power to her efficiency,” Welch said. “(Assistant) Coach (Joe) Banas does a great job of supporting the individualized goals of the distance and mid distance athletes and we share a common vision where Linsey can support the indoor team, as well as preparing her to take the next step in the outdoor season and next year in cross country.”
Ava Coutu took home a first place in the 300-meter against all three teams and also was a member of the 4 x 400 meter relay team.
Daisy Li won both the 55-meter dash and hurdles for the Centaurs. She qualified for state competition in the hurdles where she finished in 10.1 seconds. The Centaurs also took part in an ECC development meet at the Coast Guard Academy Dec. 21. Arends finished second in the 1,600 meter with a state qualifying time of 5:39. She also placed third in the 1000 (3:16) while Theriaque placed third in the high jump when she cleared the bar at 4-10.
Centaur boys sweep 3 in Mass.
The Woodstock Academy boys’ indoor track team had to go down to the wire against Bay Path Tech Dec. 18, but pulled out a 44-42 victory at Tantasqua Regional Vo-Tech.
It completed a sweep for the Centaurs in their season opener as they also downed Oxford, Mass., 54-32, and Wilbraham & Monson, 46.5 – 39.5.
“It was a great team effort that resulted in the wins.  While we had a couple of stand outs, many of our points came from students jumping in where asked and challenging themselves.   The meet was a great learning opportunity, and you can feel some of the friendly inner competition brewing that will help drive performances later in the season,” said Woodstock Academy coach Josh Welch.
The Centaurs had to battle for the win over Bay Path. They trailed by three points going into the final event, the 4 x 400m relay.
“Most of the guys on that squad have never raced 400 meters and were a little hesitant to be on that team.  But they took that job seriously, put some distance between them and Bay Path’s team and closed out the win,” Welch said.
Senior Jackson Dias reached a personal goal as he qualified for the Connecticut Class L boys’ indoor track championship meet by clearing the high jump at 5-feet-9 to finish first in the meet.
For Welch, it wasn’t only what Dias did in the competition, but also during it, that really set him apart.
“He was incredibly helpful with the Gregory Weber, Joe Zhou, and Liam Wilcox.  He’s learned the event well and is able to guide those newer athletes so he shows something I value a great deal more than talent. He is coachable and he helps to propagate that culture of peer to peer feedback and focus on growth.  He’s a tremendous asset,” Welch said.
With the help of Dias, the Centaurs took the first through fourth places in the event with Weber and Zhou tied for second and Wilcox fourth. Adam Schimmelpfennig took first place in the high hurdles by finishing in just nine seconds. Scout Favreau was third in the 600-meter in 1:41.1.
For the Centaurs, it was a great way to start the season. “With the growth we’ve experienced on the team this year in numbers, and bunch of new athletes, there couldn’t be a better way to start.  A lot of these athletes are coming to track and field in their offseason and want to give something new a try to get a little faster and a little stronger between seasons. The encouragement of seeing the results of their effort in practice right out of the gates made for a fun bus ride home. They had the whole bus singing victory songs, asking about how to get better in the future, passing the results around, and that combination of serious drive, and the ability to have fun together is a great foundation to start the season with,” Welch said.
The Centaurs also traveled to New London Dec. 21 for an ECC Development meet. Weber vaulted into the spotlight when the senior finished first in the high jump at 5-10 to qualify for Class L state competition and also placed third in the long jump at 18 feet, 4 inches. Dias was second in the high jump (5-6) to his teammate while Schimmelpfennig placed second in the 55m high hurdles (9.06 seconds). Junior Ethan Aspiras, in his first outing of the season, was second in the 1,600m (4:56) and fourth in the 1000 (2:53).
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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