The dual and invitational season is over for the Woodstock Academy boys’ and girls’ indoor track teams.
Now, it’s time to get serious.
The ECC championship meets take place Feb. 1. The Large Division, of which Woodstock Academy is a part of, will compete beginning at 4 p.m.
Centaurs coach Josh Welch is optimistic going in.
“We may not have the depth to beat East Lyme or NFA but I think we can get up there and, at least, be in the conversation this season which is a big step over the past few years. We can shake some things up,” Welch said.
Woodstock Academy warmed up for the championship meet with some good performances at the Hillhouse Invitational Jan. 25.
Senior Julia Theriaque competed in a field of 100 high jumpers and came away with a first-place finish. She finished with a personal best when she cleared the bar at 5 feet, 4 inches.
“Julia was dialed in despite the challenges of such a large field. She beat her previous best by 2 inches and just narrowly missed 5-5 which would have qualified her for Nationals. She still has some room for improvement this season and I’m excited to see where that leads her,” Welch said.
The team of Meg Gohn, Linsey Arends, Iris Bazinet and Lauren Brule qualified for the Class L state championship meet in the 4x800 meter relay.
On the boys’ side, junior Ethan Aspiras went into the Invitational as the 15th seed in the 2-mile and finished fifth in a personal best time of 10:01.3.
“Ethan continues to get more competitive and I think he has some time to drop between now and States (which are Feb. 15).  He should break 10 minutes and I think had good chance of making it to the State Open (on Feb. 22),” Welch said.
Senior Greg Weber finished fourth in the triple jump and seventh in the long jump at the Hillhouse Invitational.
The 4x200 meter relay team of Jeff Phongsa, Eric Phongsa, Scout Favreau, and Adam Schimmelpfennig also improved its seed time for the Class L state meet.
The ECC championship is the last chance for athletes to qualify for States.
Welch thinks it’s possible that Seth Libby could qualify in the shotput and that Eric Phongsa could also make it in the 55-meter dash.
As far as possible ECC champions are concerned, Welch thinks he has several athletes with first-place capability.
“I think Julia is a favorite for an individual championship in high jump, Linsey could take the 3,200-meter, Daisy (Li) has a shot at hurdles and dash and I think the girls 4x800 could do well. There are a few others who could put some points on the board to help us out,” Welch said.
On the boys’ side, Welch thinks there are possibilities as well.
“Greg Weber has a good shot for both long and high jump. Ethan has a shot in the 3,200, and I expect medals from Adam in the hurdles, Eric in the dash, and a strong showing from the boys 4x200,” said the Woodstock Academy coach.
Beyond that, there may be several Centaurs competing for the next couple of weeks.
“The kids to watch in the post season will be Linsey and Ethan who I think will do well in the class meets and may progress to the State Open and be competitive. Julia has a shot at a state championship in the Class L meet and be one of the top few at the State Open. She also has a chance to get back to the New England championships and a qualifying performance for Nationals is possible. Greg is a strong contender for the class meet in the long jump, and could make it to New England’s or beyond if all goes well, too.  He is about 10 inches away from Nationals which given how new he is to the event is certainly something he could do. It should be an exciting close to the season this year,” Welch said.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy

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