Woodstock Academy FootballPosted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 8/23/2019
The Woodstock Academy senior Aidan Morin works on his punting skills with Centaurs' football coach Sean Saucier
Centaurs get football season underway with conditioning week
Even a veteran coach like Sean Saucier was taken a little aback.
At the first conditioning practice for The Woodstock Academy football team early last week, 74 athletes came out ready to don the blue-and-gold colors of the Centaurs.
“I was surprised,” Saucier said about the turnout. “Two years ago, we hit 50 and I was pretty happy with that. Last year, we climbed to 60 and now, all of a sudden, to have 74 kids who want to play football is pretty exciting. A lot of football programs in other areas, certainly in New England, are going the other way. For the sport of football, it’s a darn good thing.”
Saucier took over the program three years ago when he opted to stay in the area and work for Woodstock Academy rather than go with his former employer, the Hyde School, to Maine.
Saucier was also named athletic director at The Academy last school year.
As far as the athletes, football experience is kind of a 50-50 proposition.
Half have played a lot, some haven’t played much at all.
“We certainly have our share of newcomers which is great. They stuck it through camp and showed up every day. They seem to be having a good time. There are also a good number of kids who came through the (Woodstock-Pomfret-Thompson-Putnam) and (Killingly-Brooklyn) youth football leagues. That’s good, too,” Saucier said.
Grinding through the first week of camp isn’t always easy.
“The first week of football is always the week that determines who is sticking around and who is going home,” said senior Nick Bedard.
The Centaurs, like most other programs in Northeastern Connecticut, had to roll with the punches that the weather delivered.
Thunderstorms, some pretty intense, rumbled through the area last Monday and Wednesday which disrupted practice.
Even more bothersome was the heat and humidity.
It was palpable over the course of the first four days of camp.
“We got into it (last Monday) and it was easy because it was raining. (Tuesday), we had the hot sun beating down on all of us. That’s good for us because one of our first games a couple of years ago was like 90 degrees and everybody was dying on the field. This year, conditioning is going to be excellent. We have a bunch of new coaches and they’re going to help us prepare for the season,” Bedard said,
Football teams who did not hold a spring practice were allowed to begin conditioning last Monday. All but two of the Eastern Connecticut Conference teams opted to take that approach.
Conditioning does have some rules that go along with it.
Teams are not allowed to use footballs in the first hour of practice and there are no pads worn and no contact drills.
“You’re limited with what you can do,” Saucier said. “It’s really a conditioning, team-building and teaching week. It’s a great opportunity to start implementing and installing offense and defense and see who can do what. Who can punt, who can kick, who can snap. All those types of things.”
The Centaurs did have one advantage over some local schools.
Strength and conditioning coach Brenden Ostaszewski had the football team in the weight room over the summer, working out Monday through Thursday.
“Everybody was getting big in the weight room with Coach O and Coach (Jeff) Higgins helping us and really preparing us for the season,” Bedard said.
That bulking up may pay dividends down the road for the Centaurs whom, Bedard admits, are smaller than the past two years but quicker as well.
“Our skill positions are probably the strength so what will make us or break us is how our line develops. We have a plan for that offensively. There are different ways to move people, not always north-to-south, you can move people laterally. It’s a young, relatively inexperienced line, and as soon as we can develop them and have them gain confidence, it will help,” Saucier said.
Saucier will be leaning on two new coaches to accomplish that.
Connor Elliott will be the offensive coordinator for the Centaurs.
The East Lyme native played some college football and then, following a career-ending injury, came back to his alma mater and coached the Vikings last year.
“He’s very up-to-date on the spread offense and kept a lot of things similar while adding a few new wrinkles which are pretty cool,” Saucier said.
Jesse Bousquet, who worked with the UConn football program in different capacities, will be the defensive coordinator for the Centaurs.
Saucier will also be relying on some key seniors this year including Bedard, Travis White, Luis Miranda, Ian Welz and Gavin Lanning, all of whom have been on the varsity squad since Saucier began with the program.
“I’m excited for this year,” Bedard said. “I’m going to go out and leave it all on the field because it will probably be my last year playing football. I hope everyone does the same.”
The Centaurs won four games two years ago and had to settle for just one last year.
This year could be even more difficult.
The Centaurs, who played an independent schedule for the last two years, are back in the Eastern Connecticut Conference, playing a Division II league schedule which includes games against Stonington, Bacon Academy, Waterford and their opener against Ledyard as well as non-divisional opponents in Windham and Plainfield.
“I have spoken to the kids about the mental and physical toughness that will be truly required to compete in the ECC with our schedule. That’s the growth that I’m looking for this year - the blue collar, scrappy, work ethic that is required,” Saucier said.
The preseason gets underway this week for the Centaurs.
They have a combined practice with Plainfield this week followed by a scrimmage against North Smithfield, R.I. at 11 a.m. on Saturday and then the final tune up at 6 p.m. next Friday, Sept. 6, with a game-type scrimmage against Quinebaug Valley at Ellis Tech in Danielson.
“The joint practice with Plainfield is almost a third scrimmage. I feel we have a pretty good build up (to the season),” Saucier said.
The season begins with a 6 p.m. game on Friday, Sept. 13 at Ledyard.
Centaur Classic Golf TournamentPosted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 8/22/2019
Successful golf tournament raises funds for The Woodstock Academy athletic department
The annual Woodstock Academy Centaur Classic Golf Tournament at the Quinnatisset Country Club in Thompson had the weather on its side this year.
And a full field of golfers as well as 144 turned out to play some golf and help The Academy raise funds for its athletic programs.
“I was very happy,” said Woodstock Academy associate head of school for advancement, Jon Sturdevant. “I think this was the best tournament, certainly, since I’ve been here. We had perfect weather, a great field, great sponsors and everyone had a good time.”
Warm weather and sunshine greeted the golfers, a far cry from last year’s monsoon-like conditions which ended the tournament a few holes early for most of the teams who participated.
The good weather conditions were mirrored by those of the course itself.
“The course is in great condition. Mike Pizetti and the whole staff at Quinnatisset did a great job for us. We also had a great team of volunteers from the Academy that made this a very smooth year,” Sturdevant said.
The conditions showed in the scoring.
The foursome of Dan Gomes, Pete Cunha, Josh Peach and Doug Daigneault combined to turn in a 15-under par, 57 on their scorecard in the scramble event.
The quartet had eagles on the par-5 fourth and sixth holes, 11 birdies and five pars in their winning effort.
Second place was a tie between two teams.
The foursome of Chad Schofield, Luke Milanese, Keith Shrayer and Al Remekie finished equal to that of George Amenabar, Steve Keller, Jay Gerum and Scott Johndrow at 14-under, 58.
Just one stroke back of those two teams were two other foursomes.
Bob Borski, Ken Arpin, Dave Makie, and Jeff Child tied with Tim Rosa, Matt Peal, Richard Pearson, and Nick Sulda at 13-under, 59.
“(The proceeds) are going to help a variety of athletic needs. I don’t believe that (Woodstock Academy athletic director) Sean (Saucier) has identified one area that it will go to,” Sturdevant said. “Last year, it helped us re-develop our North campus training room which was a big project.”
Anderson returns to fold at The Woodstock AcademyPosted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 7/29/2019
Anderson returns as member of Centaurs' prep basketball program
Almost all of the students who walked across the stage during commencement ceremonies at The Woodstock Academy in June knew they would be headed into the next stage of their development in a different environment.
But there was one who, despite receiving his high school diploma, knew he was coming back.
Chase Anderson will return this fall as a postgraduate student-athlete at The Woodstock Academy to participate as a member of the Centaurs Blue prep basketball squad.
“It was an odd feeling. I wasn’t sure what to think of it, but I knew about three weeks before I graduated that I was coming back,” Anderson said. “All of my friends are going off to school and stuff so I will have to make some new ones.”
That’s exactly what first-year Woodstock Academy prep basketball Jacque Rivera is hoping Anderson will do.
Like former Centaur high school and post-grad player Sam Majek had done two years before, Anderson can serve as a conduit between the Woodstock Academy student body and the post-grad players who are coming to the campus for a first time.
“I think it’s very important,” Rivera said. “It speaks volumes to our entire community. It’s not often that a kid wants to stay in a community after graduating from high school. It speaks volumes not only athletically, but academically, from a social standpoint, from a holistic development standpoint, and that is what our program and our school, as a whole, is all about. To have a student go through four years here and then decide that he can benefit from an additional year, not only athletically, but academically and socially. We’re excited about having Chase because he knows Woodstock Academy as a student. You can’t put a value on what he brings to the program.”
Rivera added it’s not only his fellow players who will have to learn to get comfortable at Woodstock Academy, but the coach himself, as it will be his first year and he also will rely on Anderson to navigate, not only the school, but the town as a whole.
“He knows this town. He’s from this town. He loves this town. What he learns from me, I’m hoping will be reciprocated because I will be relying on him heavily to teach those things to me,” Rivera said.
Anderson had a very successful four years at Woodstock Academy.
He played basketball, as well as soccer, all four years and was a starter on the varsity basketball team since his sophomore season.
On February 2nd, Anderson became just the fifth player in the history of the Centaurs’ boys basketball program to score his 1,000th career point in a win over Killingly.
The 6-foot-2 guard finished with an 18.3 point per game average including 37 3-pointers.
He finished his high school career by being named the Most Outstanding Player of the Putnam Rotary Club’s annual Senior All-Star shootout.
But Anderson feels he and his game still need some more development.
“I just want (the post-grad experience) to make me more mentally tough. That’s something I lack right now. I want to get in better shape and just become, overall, a better person and player,” Anderson said.
To get ready, Anderson has not exactly been filling the hoops this summer at Woodstock Academy.
“I’ve been working out a lot lately. I haven’t been playing basketball as much, I’m just working on my physicality. I know it’s very physical at the next level. With better teammates, I know I will be able to shoot and score, but I want to prioritize defense over trying to get a shot every possession. I want to be a better all-around player,” Anderson said.
There will be adjustments.
In addition to the increased physical nature of the game, Anderson watched several Woodstock Academy prep games the past couple of years and noted that the pace was much faster than what he was accustomed to in high school.
It will also give him a chance to adjust to a facet of the game that he is not familiar with.
“I like the shot clock because we didn’t have that in high school. The shot clock just fits my game better,” Anderson said.
Rivera is well aware of Anderson’s capabilities as a player.
“I think he’s been able to watch the prep program from a distance and, in terms of what is expected, I think he will be able to adjust quickly. I think he’s ready to take on the challenge. He’s got great size, big shoulders, and what’s most impressive is that the kid competes,” Rivera said.
Rivera liked the fact that Anderson, whether or not he had the ball in his hand or if he was playing in the paint or on the perimeter, was always playing hard.
“I’ve met him a couple of times and I have nothing but great things to say about him, he’s a really good guy. I’m willing to run through a brick wall for him,” Anderson said of Rivera
Majek was rewarded for his decision to stay at Woodstock Academy with the chance to play for a coaching legend, former UConn coach Jim Calhoun, at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, a Division III program.
“I prefer to play Division II. I could have gone and played at a couple of Division III schools this year, but I wanted to expand my options. That’s the big reason why I’m staying another year is to expand those options and, hopefully, be comfortable with where I am going for the next four years. That next four years is going to be a big part of my life,” Anderson said.
Div. III Celebratory Signing Day at The Woodstock AcademyPosted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 6/13/2019
Participating in Division III athletics next year will be (Rear from left to right) Luke Mathewson (Westfield State baseball); Ethan Holcomb (Keene State Men’s Lacrosse); Sophia McGee (Drew University Fencing); Blake Kollbeck (Utica College Football); Heather Converse (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Women’s Basketball); Hannah Chubbuck (Salve Regina Field Hockey); Emma Strandson (Simmons College Field Hockey); Samantha Mowry (Eastern Connecticut State University Field Hockey).
(Seated from left to right) Kathryn Mason (Massachusetts Maritime Women’s Lacrosse); Arielle Johnson (Springfield College Women’s Lacrosse) and Emma Ciquera (Fairleigh Dickinson Women’s Lacrosse).
12 Seniors participate in Division III Celebratory Signing Day
The thought was the same among the 12 senior student-athletes who took part in the Division III Celebratory Signing Day program at The Woodstock Academy Thursday.
They get to continue to play the sport they love at the next level.
Parents, coaches, teammates and friends all took part in the event which was held inside the dining hall on the North Campus.
Some tears were shed and many thanks given to those who helped the seniors achieve their goal of getting a chance to participate in college athletics.
“Think about how extra hard you worked in practice, how you helped your coach, got good grades, were nice to the freshmen and went the extra mile and were such a distinguished individual that coaches at the college level considered you,” Woodstock Academy Associate Head of School Holly Singleton told the gathering. “While you may think, sometimes, that we celebrate Division I and II athletes with different signings maybe because they get money and maybe they are more special but I have a preference for the Division III athlete. You have to be more dedicated because there is no incentive to do it other than your love for the sport and the camaraderie.”
For Heather Converse, it was a chance to follow in the family tradition.
Converse’s two brothers, Adam and Ian, played Division III college basketball in Worcester, MA. at Clark University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, respectively.
Their sister is going just a bit further away.
Converse will play basketball at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.
“I’m following in their footsteps,” Converse said with a smile. “I really wanted to play basketball but my top priority is academics. I really want to major in engineering so I had a choice between RPI and WPI, both solid schools. It was a pretty tough decision for me but the coach at RPI (John Greene) came to a lot of my games and I just made a good connection with the team and everyone there. I felt really comfortable on campus.”
Sophia McGee didn’t have a chance to compete in interscholastic athletics at Woodstock Academy since the fencing program is just a club activity.
“I have to travel quite far. I train in Providence,” McGee said.
But she did get a different type of experience at The Academy.
She was one of the coaches for the club team.
“It’s really nice because I get to show people what I actually do in my sport and it’s kind of nice to give back to the community, too,” McGee said.
McGee will continue her fencing endeavors at Drew University in Madison, N.J.
“I always like a challenge,” McGee said.
Three members of The Woodstock Academy girls lacrosse team will move on to play the sport at the college level.
Kathryn Mason will compete at Massachusetts Maritime; Arielle Johnson at Springfield College and Emma Ciquera at Fairleigh Dickinson.
“It’s awesome that Katie (Mason) never played lacrosse until she got to Woodstock Academy and it shows that you can be new at something, and put the work in and accomplish great things,” Woodstock Academy girls lacrosse coach Kathleen Johnson said.
Ciquera became the first Centaurs’ girls lacrosse player to receive All-State honors when she was made a second team Class M selection.
Arielle Johnson, Kathleen’s daughter, overcame health issues to become a solid player at attack for Woodstock Academy and will go on to play the sport at her Mom’s alma mater.
Three field hockey players also signed celebratory documents.
Emma Strandson admitted on her first day of practice as a freshman, she didn’t even have an idea as to how to hold the stick.
Now, she will play for Simmons College in Boston.
Hannah Chubbuck will put on the uniform of Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I.
“Chubs, we’re going to miss you in the front field, your sense of humor and how you were always there with a smile and ready to go,” said Woodstock Academy field hockey coach Lauren Gagnon during the event.
Samantha Mowry will play for Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic.
“This senior class of female athletes are some of the strongest that (Woodstock Academy) had in a significant amount of time,” Singleton said.
There were three male student-athletes in attendance.
Ethan Holcomb, The Woodstock Academy senior Male Athlete of the Year, will continue his lacrosse playing days at Keene State University in New Hampshire.
Luke Mathewson will play baseball at Westfield State University.
“I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Luke for three years and he’s a great young man and a great competitor. Whatever he does in life, he’s going to do well because he has worked hard,” Woodstock Academy baseball coach Brian Murphy said.
Blake Kollbeck will be an offensive or defensive lineman on the football team at Utica College in New York.
“I was looking for academics and they have a cyber-security (major) there and I’m really excited to get my bachelor’s there. It’s a new field, a high-demand job and I’m excited to go up there and play,” Kollbeck said.
Kollbeck said, in addition to playing football for the Centaurs, he has taken advantage of the strength and conditioning program offered by coach Brendan Ostaszewski at The Academy.
“It’s extremely important. If you don’t do any offseason training, you come in out-of-shape, football is not going to be fun. If you do that offseason training, you have a head start on everyone else,” Kollbeck said.
Spring Athletic Awards NightPosted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 6/11/2019
Spring Awards Night brings conclusion to 2018-19 athletic season at The Woodstock Academy
The 2018-19 athletic season at The Woodstock Academy officially came to a close on Monday night at the Loos Center for the Arts on South Campus.
The final event of the year, the Spring Sports awards, honored those who participated in athletics over the last three months of the school year.
Among the highlights of the spring season at Woodstock Academy was two teams bringing home Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament titles.
The girls lacrosse team did so for a first time and the girls golf program won for a sixth time in the nine years that the tournament has been held.
The girls tennis team tied for a regular season ECC Division I title with Stonington.
Other accomplishments of note in the spring included senior Mason Stewart finishing as one of the tri-medalists in the ECC Open boys golf championship.
Senior Emma Ciquera was named Class M second team All-State and also claimed the Most Valuable Player Award in the ECC girls lacrosse tournament championship match.
Junior Marina Monrabal was crowned the fastest female runner in the ECC when she won the 100-meter race at the ECC Championship meet.
The boys lacrosse team qualified for the Class M state tournament for the first time since 2016.
The Special Olympics soccer program traveled to Southern Connecticut State University and received a bronze medal for its efforts.
The second William M. Bertrand golf award was given out during the Spring Sports awards.
The male recipient was junior Grayson Walley.
The award is significant of a golfer who shows uncommon determination and dedication to make the most of his or her ability.
The female recipient was senior Katherine Harrington who was honored with it on Senior Awards Night.
The Coaches' Award is given to athletes who demonstrate a hardworking, unselfish, positive and competitive attitude and in the opinion of the coaching staff is a model for other team members to follow.
Two varsity and one JV coaches award were given for every sport.
Recipients of those awards were as follows:
Varsity coaches’ awards: Mason Stewart and Owen Borski
JV coaches’ award: Eddy Chen
Varsity coaches’ awards: Linda St. Laurent and Kaily LaChappelle
JV coaches’ award: Jillian Marcotte
Special Olympics soccer/Unified Fitness program
Varsity coaches’ awards: Nathan Olson and Emmalee Binette
Girls Track and Field
Varsity coaches’ awards: Marina Monrabal and Linsey Arends
JV coaches’ award: Ainsley Viano
Boys Track and Field
Varsity coaches’ awards: Kenneth Birlin and Lucas Couture
JV coaches’ award: Aiden Lisee
Varsity coaches’ awards: Guerin Favreau and Ethan Holcomb
JV coaches’ award: John Pokorny
Varsity coaches’ awards: Hallie Saracina and Kileigh Gagnon
JV coaches’ award: Aurissa Boardman
Varsity coaches’ awards: Morgan Bassett and Emma Durand
JV coaches’ award: Julia Dearborn
Varsity coaches’ awards: Luigi Boselli and Matt Tiffany
Varsity coaches’ awards: Luke Mathewson and Nathan John
JV coaches’ award: Aiden Russell
Varsity coaches’ awards: Julianna Nuttall and Hannah Burgess
JV coaches’ award: Madison Nichols
The baseball team also was honored by the Eastern Board of Approved Baseball Umpires as it received the Roger LaFrancois Memorial Sportsmanship Award from the group. Girls Lacrosse coach Kathleen Johnson also gave out special awards to departing seniors Emma Ciquera, Ivy Gelhaus and Arielle Johnson for their contributions to the program for the last four years.
Those who won ECC Sportsmanship and Scholar-Athlete Awards this spring were also recognized.
ECC Sportsmanship Award winners:
Boys golf: Jake Starr
Girls golf: Alex Vaida
Boys outdoor track: Noah Pepper
Girls outdoor track: Megan Gohn
Girls lacrosse: Lauren Hovestadt
Boys lacrosse: Zachary Douglas
Girls tennis: Sophia Rakovan
Boys tennis: Luigi Boselli
Baseball: Matt Moffitt
Softball: Julianna Nuttall
ECC Scholar-Athlete Award winners:
Boys golf: Liam McDermott
Girls golf: Katherine Harrington
Boys outdoor track: Nathan Craig
Girls outdoor track: Maddie Grube
Girls lacrosse: Emma Redfield
Boys lacrosse: Gabe Geyer
Girls tennis: Caitlyn Sroczenski
Boys tennis: Aidan Stewart
Baseball: Nathan John
Softball: Hannah Burgess
The team with the best overall grade point average for the spring was the girls tennis team while the girls lacrosse team took home the honor of being the best-dressed team at the event.
Those who received honorable, mention, All-Star or special awards were also recognized for their efforts.
ECC All-Star, honorable mention and special awards:
- ECC 1st team All-Star in girls lacrosse, Most Valuable Player of the ECC tournament championship match and Class M second team All-State athlete: Emma Ciquera
- An ECC All-Star in girls track and field and the winner of the 100-meter in the ECC championship meet: Marina Monrabal.
- One of the three individual winners of the ECC boys open golf tournament and an ECC All-Star: Mason Stewart.
- ECC 1st team Division II Baseball All-Star: Luke Mathewson.
- ECC 1st team Division II Baseball All-Star: Eric Preston.
- ECC 1st team girls tennis singles All-Star: Mari Ruggeri
- ECC 1st team girls tennis doubles All-Star: Caitlyn Sroczenski
- ECC 1st team girls tennis doubles All-Star: Adeline Smith
- ECC 1st team boys tennis singles All-Star: David Fleck
- ECC 1st team boys tennis doubles All-Star: Aidan Stewart
- ECC 1st team boys tennis doubles All-Star: Stefan Chervenkova
- ECC 1st team girls lacrosse All-Star: Ivy Gelhaus
- ECC 1st team girls lacrosse All-Star: Arielle Johnson.
- ECC 1st team girls golf All-Star: Linda St. Laurent
- ECC 1st team girls golf All-Star: Kaily LaChappelle
- ECC 1st team softball All-Star: Hannah Burgess.
- ECC Honorable Mention boys tennis singles: Riley Douglas
- ECC Honorable Mention boys lacrosse: Guerin Favreau
- ECC Honorable Mention baseball: Nathan John
- ECC Honorable Mention softball: Hannah Chubbuck
- ECC Honorable Mention softball: Heather Converse
Senior Awards night held at The Woodstock AcademyPosted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 6/3/2019
Converse, Gelhaus, Holcomb named Most Outstanding Athletes of 2019 Senior Class
The annual Senior Awards Night was held on Sunday at the Loos Center for the Arts on The Woodstock Academy campus.
Three seniors received the Most Outstanding Senior Athlete Awards.
Ethan Holcomb, who is heading to Keene State where he will be a member of the Men’s lacrosse team, was named the Most Outstanding Male Senior Athlete.
Holcomb was a member of the soccer and lacrosse programs in all four years at Woodstock Academy.
This past season, he led the team to an Eastern Connecticut Conference boys soccer tournament championship with 11 goals and four assists.
He scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win over Stonington in the ECC boys soccer semifinal match.
Holcomb went to on to finish with 57 points (28 goals, 29 assists) in the lacrosse season. He helped the team back to the .500 mark at 8-8 for the regular season and also helped it qualify for the state tournament for the first time since 2016.
The Most Outstanding Female Senior Athlete was shared by two deserving individuals; Heather Converse and Ivy Gelhaus.
Both were three-sport, three-season athletes in all four of their years at The Academy.
The two were teammates in the fall on the soccer team.
Converse also played basketball and softball while Gelhaus switched from basketball to indoor track and in the spring played lacrosse.
This past season, Converse scored the game-winning goal with 52 seconds left in regulation in a 1-0 win over Plainfield in the Eastern Connecticut Conference girls soccer tournament championship match.
Converse was also given the Most Memorable Play Award on Sunday for her last-minute heroics in that match.
It was the first goal of the fullback’s high school career, but not her last.
She also scored in the Centaurs’ loss to Daniel Hand in a second round Class L state tournament match.
Converse went on to lead the girls basketball team with a 12.2 point per game average, 209 rebounds and 22 blocks. She was second on the team in assists (35) and steals (40).
The senior started a little slow on the softball field but it was understandable since she hadn’t faced live pitching in a year due to her commitment to the other sports.
She finished well, however, and led the team in runs batted in (25) and triples (4).
She was second on the team in batting average with a .407 mark.
Gelhaus was the sniper on the soccer pitch for the Centaurs.
She attacked opposing defenses who could rarely cope with her speed.
She finished with a team-best 19 goals and added five assists.
On the track, Gelhaus finished fourth in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I indoor championship meet in the 600 and was also a member of the sprint medley team that also brought home a fourth-place finish.
Gelhaus qualified for the Class L indoor track state championship and barely missed qualifying for the State Open by one second when she put together a personal-best time of 1:46.19 in the 600. It netted her a fifth-place finish in the Class L championship.
Gelhaus was a key reason why the Centaurs beat East Lyme for a first time in the history of the girls lacrosse program at home on April 27.
She scored two goals early in the second half of that game that gave the Centaurs a three-goal lead and they held on for the 5-4 win.
Gelhaus finished with 60 goals and nine assists on the season for Woodstock Academy.
The John Suleski Jr. Memorial golf awards went to Mason Stewart who received the Most Valuable Senior golfer award while Owen Borski earned the Most Improved award.
The Bertrand Golf Award, significant of the golfer who shows uncommon determination and dedication to make the most of his/her ability, was given to Katherine Harrington.
The Cliff Spellman tennis sportsmanship award was given to Matt Tiffany.
The Alfred C. Warren soccer sportsmanship awards, given to senior players who show a true love for the game, went to to Ashleigh Angle and Holcomb.
The Marvin M. Sherman Award given to a senior male athlete who has displayed a high level of sportsmanship, character, desire and determination both on and off the field was won by Eric Preston.
The Evelyn and Arthur Weinmann Award given to the senior athlete who has done the most for the athletic department and has exemplified the spirit of athletics at Woodstock Academy went to Arielle Johnson.
The Hannah Green Memorial Award, named in honor of the former Woodstock Academy athlete who lost a courageous battle with cancer at the age of 23, and given to a senior who has demonstrated sportsmanship, character, desire and determination, went to Sammie Orlowski.
The Centaur award, given to one male and one female athlete, who through their actions, words and deeds truly represents what it means to represent Woodstock Academy as an athlete went to Luke Mathewson and Maddie Grube.
The first-ever Woodstock Academy Athletic Director awards, given to the, sometimes, unsung athletes who don’t always receive the headlines went to Aislin Tracey and Emma Ciquera.
Lydia Taft, who had to sit out most of her junior season in gymnastics due to back issues, received the Comeback Player of the Year award. Taft finished second to teammate Jenna Davidson in the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship and also played a key role in the Centaurs winning both the Class S and State Open gymnastics championships.
Kathleen Johnson, who guided the Centaurs girls lacrosse team to its first-ever win over East Lyme and its first Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament championship was named The Woodstock Academy Boosters Club Coach of the Year.
Emma Ciquera was the female recipient of the Most Outstanding Performance in a game award for her three goal, one assist, Most Valuable Player effort in the ECC girls lacrosse championship win over Stonington.
Tre Mitchell was Ciquera’s male counterpart for his 24-point, 12-rebound effort against Brewster Academy this past season.
There were also two community awards given out at the ceremony.
The Centaur Person of the Year Award, for a second consecutive year, was given to two people.
The award is given to an individual who does not seek attention for their contribution to the Woodstock Academy athletic program but delivers an important contribution.
Assistant athletic director Trent Peters and Theresa Faford, a bus driver for many traveling athletic teams, were honored with the award.
The Centaur Nation Media Award was given to Linda Lemmon, the editor and publisher of the Putnam Town Crier newspaper for her unwavering support of Woodstock Academy athletics.
Senior Unified Sports Award – Lauren Hovestadt
Booster Club Scholarship Award Recipients – Mackenzie Eaton and Eric Preston.
National Federation of State High School Association’s Award of Excellence – Regan Stuyniski and Liam McDermott.
Assistant Coach of the Year – Todd Blodgett (girls basketball).
Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete Awards – Heather Converse and Cole Hackett
Connecticut High School Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete Awards – Maddie Grube and Jack Hovestadt.
12-season awards (given to athletes who have participated in a sport in all 12 seasons of their four years at The Woodstock Academy): Aislin Tracey (soccer, basketball, lacrosse); Aria Gianfriddo (cross-country, indoor track, track); Emmalee Binette (Unified soccer, Unified basketball, tennis); Owen Borski (Unified sports, hockey, golf); Lucas Couture (soccer, indoor track, track); Olivia Stanikmas (field hockey, Unified sports, lacrosse); Regan Stuyniski (soccer, ice hockey, lacrosse); Heather Converse (soccer, basketball, softball); Ivy Gelhaus (soccer, basketball, indoor track, lacrosse); Ashleigh Angle (soccer, indoor track, ice hockey, track, lacrosse).
8-season awards (given to athletes who have played eight seasons at The Woodstock Academy):Chase Anderson (soccer, basketball, baseball); Kenneth Birlin (cross-country, indoor track); Hannah Chubbuck (field hockey, softball); Spencer Collins (cross-country, indoor track); Mackenzie Eaton (field hockey, basketball, tennis); McKenna Gagnon (volleyball, Unified sports, lacrosse); Emma Green (volleyball, Unified sports, lacrosse); Maddie Grube (soccer, gymnastics, track); Cole Hackett (soccer, basketball); Ethan Holcomb (soccer, lacrosse); Lauren Hovestadt (soccer, Unified sports, lacrosse); Nathan John (Unified sports, basketball, baseball); Aaron Johnson (soccer, basketball); Jake Marsalisi (soccer, basketball); Luke Mathewson (cross-country, basketball, baseball); Liam McDermott (Unified sports, hockey, lacrosse, golf); Samantha Mowry (field hockey, softball, basketball); Amanda Nowak (soccer, Unified sports, lacrosse); Noah Pepper (cross-country, golf, track); Eric Preston (football, basketball, baseball); Meagan Rainville (soccer, Unified sports, lacrosse); John Rogers (soccer, basketball, track); Andrew Roy (football, wrestling, Unified sports, track); Maria Scandalito (soccer, indoor track, softball); Madison Skellet (field hockey, Unified sports, tennis, softball); Peter Spada (soccer, wrestling, baseball); Emma Strandson (field hockey, ice hockey, softball).
4-year awards (given to athletes who have shown a four-year commitment to one sport): Ethan Adams (basketball); Irene Askitis (soccer); Morgan Bassett (tennis); Hannah Burgess (softball); Bailey Canedy (lacrosse); Isabel Cintron (soccer); Emma Ciquera (lacrosse, ice hockey); Allison Crescimanno (gymnastics); Brooke Deorsey (cheerleading); Rachel Durand (volleyball); Dyson Frank (prep basketball); Madeline Gronski (volleyball); Ethan Haass (lacrosse); Katherine Harrington (golf); Jack Hovestadt (football); Ellie Jellison (volleyball); Regan Kasacek (lacrosse); Blake Kollbeck (football); Ryan LaTour (lacrosse); Natalie Low (volleyball); Robert Maheu (golf); Kathryn Mason (lacrosse); Tre Mitchell (prep basketball); Matt Moffitt (baseball); Lauren Neely (field hockey); Julianna Nuttall (softball); Samantha Orlowski (volleyball); Nathan Price (football); Victoria Staples (field hockey); Lydia Taft (gymnastics); Matt Tiffany (soccer); Abigail Vaida (gymnastics); Geoff Vallone (lacrosse); Hannah Wotton (field hockey).
The spring sports award ceremony will take place on Monday, June 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Loos Center for the Arts.
Ostaszewski named Connecticut Strength and Conditioning Coach of the YearPosted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 5/3/2019
Standing in the new strength room at The Woodstock Academy, strength and conditioning coach Brenden Ostaszewski was all smiles on Tuesday.
Just the weekend before, he had learned he had been named the Connecticut High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year.
Both The Connecticut state director and the regional director of the National High School Strength Coaches Association had nominated him for the award.
“It’s a great honor,” Ostazewski said. “I couldn’t be here without the help of the (Woodstock Academy) administration, the support that the donors have provided for us for the new strength and conditioning weight room, and the student athletes who come in here and work every day.”
Ostaszewski came aboard at The Academy in the fall of 2017 and has quickly raised the level of fitness for student-athletes from the freshman class through the prep basketball program.
Ostaszewski hails from Philadelphia.
He played basketball for a year at Keystone College, a Division III school in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but realized his true calling was in athletic conditioning. He transferred to Temple University where he studied Exercise in Sports Science and Kinesiology.
He took a job at a Philadelphia Catholic School as a physical education teacher but continued to work with collegiate athletes at Temple and the University of Pennsylvania.
Ostaszewski, through his contacts at the colleges, met a friend of former Woodstock Academy prep basketball coach Tony Bergeron who told him about the need for a strength and conditioning coach at the school.
Ostaszewski packed his bags and came out to the countryside, much to the delight of his Woodstock Academy colleagues.
“He is a total professional,” Woodstock Academy athletic director Sean Saucier said. “He has greatly impacted the student-athletes at the school and it’s nice to see him get recognized. He works hard professionally and personally and it’s nice to see that hard work pay off.”
The National High School Strength Coaches Association hasn’t been in existence for long.
It came together in 2016 as more schools across the country began to realize the need for such training at the high school level.
“It wanted to create more opportunities for strength coaches in the high school setting. Strength coaches are very popular among the professional and collegiate ranks and (the Association) identified a need for them to serve the younger population especially among the high school-aged students,” Ostaszewski said.
Ostaszewski has since been joined by Jeff Higgins at The Academy and the two work with a growing number of student-athletes in the new training facility which opened in November.
“Coach Higgins has helped us a lot and has allowed us to reach more students. The new space is great. We can fit more student-athletes here,” Ostaszewski said.
He said there is always room for more.
He would like to see some of the training equipment offerings expanded because of the larger number of student-athletes utilizing it.
“We have some room for improvement in that area and we’re also researching some new ways with technology to access all the analytical data to track progress. Hopefully, we will be able to step into that realm and provide student-athletes with a better experience,” Ostaszewski said.Comments (0)
The Woodstock Academy names new boys prep basketball head coachPosted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 4/30/2019
The Woodstock Academy names new boys prep basketball head coach
Excited and humbled is how Jacque Rivera described his emotions after learning that he was the choice to be the next head coach of The Woodstock Academy prep boys basketball program.
Rivera will replace Tony Bergeron at the helm of the Centaurs.
Bergeron stepped aside recently to become an assistant coach with the University of Massachusetts Men’s basketball program.
Rivera has been the head coach of the prep basketball program at the MacDuffie School in Granby, Mass. for the last five years.
He has taken MacDuffie to the New England Prep School Athletic Council AA postseason tournament in three of those seasons.
“We’ve had some really good kids. We have guys heading off to UConn (James Bouknight from the 2018-19 team), Ismael (Massoud) is going to Wake Forest. Omari Spellman (now with the Atlanta Hawks) played for me,” Rivera said. “I don’t keep track of my personal record, I care more about the success of my players.”
The 31-year-old Rivera grew up in the Bronx, N.Y. and played for Bergeron in high school at Wings Academy. He moved on to Elms College in Chicopee, MA. where he earned his bachelor’s degree in social work and his Master’s degree in education. His first head coaching job was at Dean Vocational Technical School in Holyoke, MA.
“He’s an outstanding guy. A very passionate coach and person,” said Woodstock Academy Sean Saucier of Rivera. “I think he will be a great fit here. He’s a community-oriented, family guy. We’re very excited to have him.”
Saucier said Rivera’s close ties to Bergeron will help with the program’s transition.
Rivera understands the task ahead of him, comparing it to the person who will eventually succeed Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“I’m following a guy who has had 20 years of success and will continue to have success in college. Everywhere he has been, he has been successful. It’s big shoes to fill. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Coach Bergeron who took me under his wing when I was playing for him,” Rivera said. “I think I have some of the same qualities that he has. I’ve learned some things myself along the way. Hopefully, I’m just going to build on the success he had.”
Bergeron guided the Centaurs to a 73-7 record in their first two seasons as a prep program, winning the Power 5 Conference title in both years and earning two invitations to the National Prep Championship tournament at Connecticut College.
“We had the vision of creating a program that was one of the best in the country and provided great opportunity to student-athletes who were involved in getting into college. In the two years that Tony was here, he far exceeded what our expectations were,” Woodstock Academy head of school Chris Sandford said. “While we’re sorry to see him go, we are honored and happy for him and his family that he has accepted this promotion, essentially, to UMass.”
Rivera said Bergeron has already recruited some very good athletes for the Centaurs next season. His job will be to make sure they end up at The Academy in the fall.
“I really believe the guys we have will fit in our community, going to fit in what we’re asking them to do as people and they will do what we ask them to do athletically. I think we have some really good guys who will be excited to be a part of Centaur Nation as a whole and we have some kids that people will be impressed with,” Rivera said.
Rivera will be the head coach of the program and The Woodstock Academy Gold team. Denzel Washington, who has worked as an assistant with the program for its first two years, will be the head coach of The Woodstock Academy Blue team. Washington takes over for Nick DeFeo who left recently to begin a similar prep program at Notre Dame-West Haven High School.Comments (1)
2019 girls track season previewPosted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 4/28/2019
2019 Preview: Centaurs are young, but have good examples to follow
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 ther 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 indoor.
“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 with a laugh.
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.
2019 boys track season previewPosted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 4/28/2019
2019 Preview: Big turnout, few meets
A plus and a minus.
That’s how Woodstock Academy boys track and field coach Pete Lusa looks at the Centaurs ascension into Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference this season.
“We only have three dual meets because there are only four of us (teams in the division) so unless we try to start scheduling some other people in there, we get a lot of training and a little competition which may be a good model for some of these kids to not be going, going, going, and needling an injury,” Lusa said. “Get them trained down and then, trained back up for the next competition.”
Lusa said it also doesn’t concern him that it will be too little in the way of competition as the Centaurs will also intersperse a couple of invitational meets. They will travel to the Ledyard Relays at the end of April and to the Middletown Invitational at the beginning of May.
“Those are a chance for the kids to go against good competition,” Lusa said.
Lusa, in an early practice, was excited about the turnout.
He had to two pages of names that he was trying to muddle through.
“We’ve got some good, strong, returning veterans and some new kids with enthusiasm. They’re not tested yet, but it’s that raw energy and enthusiasm that I like,” he said.
Woodstock Academy finished with a 1-5 overall record and a 1-4 mark in ECC Division II last season.
Gone from that team are weight man Mark Dumas; sprinter and middle distance runner Natanael Colon and hurdler Dan Crème.
But Lusa, in his eighth season of coaching, will have seniors to work with.
Distance runner Kenneth Birlin returns as does Andrew Roy (discus, shotput); Danylo Ntamwemizi (shotput, discus, javelin) and Connor Starr (shotput, discus, javelin).
“It’s sad because this team has become another family for me. I don’t know if I will really be able to say goodbye. I think I’m going to hang around next year and try to help out,” Birlin said.
Nathan Craig (hurdles, long and triple jump); Ben Green (sprints, middle distance); and Thomas Waldon (shotput, discus, javelin) will be the key juniors for the Centaurs.
The sophomores will be well represented with Ethan Aspiras (1,600, 3,200-meter); Tyler Barrett (1,600, 3,200, 800, 400); Eric Phongsa (sprints, hurdles); Jackson Dias (400, 800, 1,600, pole vault); Dylan Ponkala (long jump, high jump, pole vault); Jeremy Romano (shotput, discus, javelin); Noah Salsich (800, 1,600, 3,200) and Adam Schimmelpfennig (sprints, hurdles, pole vault) all expected to contribute.
“It’s a really big team and it’s diverse,” Birlin said. “There are people from every grade. We’re going to have a strong team this year and for the next few years.”
Birlin also realizes that it will not be easy competing against the likes of Norwich Free Academy, East Lyme and Fitch, but he, like Lusa, likes the idea of less dual meets for the most part.
“We’re going to get to train a little more which is good,” Birlin said. “I like it because you can get stronger, but there are less chances to, if you want to run an 800-meter for example, to run it and gauge how do I run it better next time. In practice, you are not just going to be running 800’s, you are going to be doing other workouts.”
The team does have a strong returning group from indoor track and also got a hand from cross-country which is why Lusa feels he has a strong group of distance runners.
“There is a good carry over from indoor and Josh Welch ran a good indoor program so that the athletes have kind of got it engrained, ‘Here’s what the expectations are. Here’s how we act.’ The new kids are kind of looking around and figuring out that this is what we do. It will become a culture and I’m enthused about that,” Lusa said.
Lusa feels the field events should garner some points for the Centaurs and the sprinter/hurdle crew is also pretty deep.
“I think we’re poised to have an excellent season in the ECC and at states, but we will always be going against better opponents. The kids who are looking to advance, will always have people to chase. If we were going against Division IV teams and clobbering them, the kids wouldn’t have to try as hard and they would still be getting the accolades and that’s not good for them either,” Lusa said.