• Centaur Nation

  • Alpine Skiing

    Posted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 9/26/2019

    Ski team may be coming to Woodstock Academy

    The Woodstock Academy is looking into starting an Alpine Skiing team this winter.

    Head of School Chris Sandford said the school was approached by several parents last year who had interest in such a program.

    The school held an informational meeting recently which was attended by about 30 to 40 students and parents.

    Among those interested were a number of boarding students.

    Sandford said the next step is to ascertain the specific costs of such a program.

    The team is not included in the school’s athletic budget this winter.

    “We have no plans to add it (to the budget), but to compete in this league, (the athletes) need to wear our uniform and to do that, we have to sponsor it. If the parents raise the money or donate the money for their particular students to participate, it is something we would endorse wholeheartedly,” Sandford said. “Who knows what the future holds? In three or four years, it could become part of our program but it’s not in any plans at this time.”

    The new team would be part of the Connecticut Interscholastic Ski League which competes at Mt. Southington.

    The program, like girls ice hockey, would be an independent program since the sport is not sponsored by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

    The addition of an Alpine Ski team will just bolster the number of athletic programs already offered at Woodstock Academy which exceeds 50 currently.

    “If there are 20 or 30 students who are not doing anything over the winter and we can do something to get them engaged – we’re going to do it,” Sandford said. “I’m a big believer in getting to ‘Yes.’ No one is going to get a perfect answer. It may not look like you want it to, but we will get to ‘Yes’ and provide the opportunity for the students. We’re excited about that.”

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  • Prep Basketball

    Posted by Marc Allard. Sports Information Director on 9/24/2019

     

    Prep Basketball Opens with Moonlight Madness on Monday

     

    The 2019-20 version of the Woodstock Academy post-graduate basketball program will be introduced to the community and the school at 7 p.m. Monday at the Alumni Fieldhouse on the North campus.

    “The players are extremely excited,” first-year Woodstock Academy head coach Jacque Rivera said. “I think it’s always fun. It’s my first year and the guys first year but they have heard about it from the past. There’s so much excitement that surrounds Moonlight Madness and just the season. It’s a great time.”

    The event includes the introduction of the team, an intra-squad scrimmage and a dunk contest as well as a few other surprises. It will be broadcast live on woodstockacademy.org/live.

    “It’s a really fun group. We can play a lot of different ways. Historically, Woodstock Academy has been known for its pressure defense. I think we can add to that pressure by having success, fullcourt, three-quarter court and halfcourt, offensively as well as defensively. I think we have a lot of length and really tough kids who are resilient not only on the playing surface but in the classroom,” Rivera said.

    Of the 29 players on the team, 11 are taking advanced placement classes, two recently went on a visit to Dartmouth College.

    “You should see their involvement in the community. They’re attending residential life events (at the school), staying for extra help in the classroom. It’s a really unique group. Let’s hope that it translates to the court,” Rivera said.

    Over 75 college coaches have already visited the campus to check out the new edition of the Centaurs.

    One player, Cairo McCroy from Hartford has committed to play for UMass next year but Rivera said a “bunch of guys” have offers and may make their decision in the next couple of weeks.

    Ronnie Degray is the only holdover from last year’s team. Chase Anderson is a homegrown product, having graduated from Woodstock Academy in the spring.

    The Centaurs Gold team finished 38-2 last season and made it as far as the National Prep Championship Tournament quarterfinals.

    The Blue team finished with a 30-8 record and won the Power 5 Conference AA tournament championship.

     

     

         2019-20 Woodstock Academy prep basketball roster

     

    No.    Name                       Pos.       Height         Hometown

    0        Hakan West                 G         5-10           Boston

    1        Dyondre Dominguez  W/F           6-8          Providence

    3        Joseph Moon              G             6-2          Detroit

    4         Noel Scott               G/W           6-3           Los Angeles

    5         Trevor Green           G/W           6-3           Albany, N.Y.

    10       Jordan Mitchell         W/F            6-8           Columbus, OH

    11        Jaylin Palmer             G              6-1           Hartford

    12        Montreal Pena          W/F          6-10         Fort Worth, TX

    13        Vondre Chase          W/F            6-5          Boston

    14        Eshete Calvo             G              6-2          Madrid, Spain

    15        David Jones             W/F            6-7       Sacramento, CA.

    20        Lawrence Foerman    F/C             6-9     Kingston, Jamaica

    21        Joshua Davis             G              6-2      Dallas, TX.

    22        Quinton McElroy       G               6-2 Powder Springs, GA.

    23        Michael Eurquhart      F              6-5         Pittsfield, MA.

    24        Darryl MacKey         G/W            6-0       Alexandria, VA.

    30        Cairo McCroy           G/W           6-5          Hartford

    31        Walter Defritas         W              6-4       Brooklyn, N.Y.

    32        Benjamin Fort          W               6-5      Columbus, OH.

    33        Elijah Blackman        W               6-3      Queens, N.Y.

    35        Chase Anderson       W              6-3       Woodstock

    40        Jamon Kemp          G/W             6-5       Seattle, WA.

    41        Amani Gottlieb         G                6-0      Arlington, MA.

    42        Nashon Battle        G/W              6-3        New Jersey

    44        Paul Hosey             F/C               6-9        Atlanta, GA.

    45        Michael Jefferson    W/F              6-6         Waco, TX.

    51        Chad Venning         F/C              6-10      Brooklyn, N.Y.

    52        Greyvon Goodman   G                5-10        Bahamas

    55        Ronnie Degray       W/F               6-7         Parker, CO.

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  • Run for Lilly

    Posted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 9/13/2019

    Jeffrey Lee before (left) and after losing 200 pounds

    Jeffrey Lee (left) before and (right) after losing 200 pounds over the past two years. He will be running a half-marathon in Boston in October to raise money for the Dana-Farber Clinic in honor of The Woodstock Academy freshman Lilly Sharpe.

     

    Newly svelte Lee running in honor of Woodstock Academy freshman

     

    Jeffrey Lee always was active.

    His size often got in the way.

    In the past two years, however, that has changed.

    The para-professional at The Woodstock Academy has dropped over 200 pounds in that time and has discovered a new passion.

    Running.

    “As I started losing weight and exercise became easier, running is almost like meditative to me. I go out, zone out and do so three or four times a week, and three or four miles at a time,” Lee said. “My wife said ever since I started losing weight, I’ve unleashed the beast inside and I’m running all the time now.”

    In the process, he has continued to push his limits.

    In March, he ran the 13.1- mile New Bedford half-marathon.

    “It was a shock that I did it,” Lee said.

    Confident in his ability, Lee will attempt another such feat in October and he’s doing it for a good cause.

    Lee will be participating in the Run for Dana-Farber Boston Athletic Association half-marathon on Oct. 13 in Boston for a good cause.

    He is part of the Dana-Farber team and will be helping to raise money for the Boston cancer clinic and the Jimmy Fund.

    There is a local connection as well.

    Woodstock Academy freshman Lilly Sharpe learned last year that she had leukemia. She has been treated at Dana-Farber and Lee actively raised money to offset the cost of Lilly’s treatment at Dana-Farber.

    According to Lee, Lilly is doing well but is still undergoing active treatment for the disease.

    “I asked Deb (Lilly’s mother) when I originally saw the info about the run and saw that it sponsored the clinic and I know they go up there two or three times a week, ‘Can I run in honor of Lilly?’ She was floored and said ‘Absolutely’ so I created the hashtag #Runforlilly,” Lee said.

    It was also the name of a running team Lee established for Lilly.

    He had to raise $750 to be part of the Dana-Farber team.

    The Boston native set his personal goal to be $1000.

    He has almost reached that, having been pledged $980 as of late this week.

    It has spurred him on to try and reach new heights, namely the first awarded tier of $1500.

    “I think we can get there,” Lee said. “I’m excited. I’ve been training. Hard. Doing like 20-25 miles a week and I’m ready.”

    Those who wish to donate to the effort can do so at: http://danafarber.jimmyfund.org/goto/Runforlilly.

    The course Lee will be running in October is of the up-and-back variety with the turnaround point being near the Dana-Farber clinic which Lee feels is only fitting.

    He said he averaged a nine-minute mile in New Bedford, finishing in two hours, 15 minutes.

    “That’s not blazing, but it’s not slow,” the 31-year-old said. “My goal is to get a two-hour, half-marathon. I think that is the benchmark. With my training so far, it will be close, but you, obviously, push a little harder on the day of the race.

    Of course, if he’s capable of running a half-marathon, is a full marathon that far behind?

    “My ultimate goal is to run the Boston Marathon, that’s an elite race. But maybe by this time next year, I will try to run a full marathon,” Lee said.

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  • Woodstock Academy girls cross-country

    Posted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 8/30/2019

    Lynsey Arends. Megan Gohn and Stella DiPippo getting ready for the girls cross-country season

     

    The Woodstock Academy girls cross-country runners (from left to right) Lynsey Arends, Megan Gohn and Stella DiPippo, getting ready for the season which begins on Saturday, Sept. 7.

     

    Centaurs looking strong heading into 2019 girls cross-country season

     

    High expectations.

    That’s what the Woodstock Academy girls cross-country team carries into the 2019 season which begins on Saturday, Sept. 7 with the 41st annual Haddad Windham Invitational meet at Windham High School.

    “Really, really badly,” senior captain Megan Gohn said when asked how much the Centaurs want to win their first Eastern Connecticut Conference championship. “Especially with this being my senior year, I want to get one before I graduate.”

    She is not the only one hankering for a title.

    Second-year coach Joe Banas is also thirsty for one.

    “It would be huge because it’s never happened. (The Academy) won back in the days of the (Quinebaug Valley Conference). I’ve won as a runner. I’ve been on a national championship, a New England championship, a state championship, and on a conference championship team. But as a coach, I’ve never had a title. At 62 years-old, I would love to be involved in that. To get a banner in the gym that says, ECC champions, (would be great),” Banas said.

    But not easy to accomplish.

    To try and make it happen, Banas is digging deep into his book of tricks.

    He wants to bring the team closer together as a unit and he’s doing so from the bottom up.

    Banas has 10 freshmen on the team and 10 runners with experience.

    Put the two together and see what happens.

    To encourage the growth of the younger runners, both mentally and physically, he has set up a mentor program with established runners working with the newcomers.

    “I can’t remember where I found it, but there was research that if you have a mentor-mentee program set up, the chances of a girl finishing all four years of running cross-country are over two-thirds. To me, that means seven out of the 10 girls here. If you don’t have it in place, the percentage drops to under 50 percent which is 4 of 10. That means I’m gaining three additional girls if I use this strategy. It’s a great way of bringing newbies into the fold,” Banas said. “They were making friends with the seniors even before they came on campus and I don’t want any girl left out. I want to create a little family atmosphere here.”

    “I really think that’s important,” Gohn said. “When I was a freshman we didn’t have that program. Coming from middle school to high school, even without sports, is pretty daunting and joining a big sport like this, it’s good to have a mentor to guide you through that first semester.”

    Gohn said it’s been effective so far, especially getting the youngsters adjusted to the new expectations of the program.

    “Middle school is very relaxed whereas the competitiveness in high school is ramped up a lot. We just work on them, trying to make them not feel as much pressure as they might and their (running) form is also a big thing,” she said.

    The new runners do have a couple of older teammates to model themselves after.

    Junior Stella DiPippo and sophomore Lynsey Arends led the Centaurs to a 12-2 overall record and a 4-2 mark in ECC Division I in 2018.

    Their only two regular-season losses came against East Lyme which was also the only team to best them in the ECC championship, 57-83.

    Arends finished third in the ECC championship race (20 minutes, 54 seconds) while DiPippo placed fifth in 21:07.

    Arends went on to finish 10th in the Class MM state championship race and qualified for the State Open.

    Both have improved.

    Banas encourages runners to do, at least, 200 miles of running over the summer beginning on June 1.

    Arends completed around 350 miles, third-best on the team.

    She has also grown about four inches in height and put on a little weight which makes her a little stronger.

    “I think her eyes were opened last year and she really wants it this year. I can see she’s coming into the season with the ‘I want to see what else I can do attitude’ and wants to turn it up a notch,” Banas said.

    DiPippo put on 475 miles over the offseason, the most of anyone on the boys or girls team.

    “Stella broke 20 (minutes) over the summer and Lynsey is determined not to let Stella beat her this season,” Gohn said with a laugh.

    That interior competition is not a negative.

    “The competitiveness within the team is healthy,” Gohn said. “It pushes us in practice a lot and in our meets, too. Sometimes, girls from other teams are not around us so having them 1-2 right next to each other pushes them to faster times.”

    The Centaurs did lose a couple of runners.

    Shannon D’Alessandro, who was one of the top five runners on the team, graduated, and Emily McClure opted to concentrate on another activity.

    The team, however, did get Julia Theriaque back.

    The senior had been on the sidelines since the indoor track season with a hip problem.

    “We shut her down for four months and she hasn’t run much over the summer but the last couple of days, she has been showing a lot of heart. You can’t teach being an athlete, she has that athletic talent already built in. She says she’s feeling good,” Banas said.

    Gohn and junior Iris Bazinet return and also filled top five spots for the Centaurs last year.

    Also back is another senior captain, Alexia Bourbeau, and sophomore Leah Castle.

    The freshmen may also be heard from.

    Banas likes what he has seen in newcomers Brooke Bergivin, Avery Mowrey, and Tessa Brown.

    “Bergivin went to Woodstock Middle School and ran over 400 miles this summer, but we had to shut her down for the moment because she has Achilles’ tendinitis. Avery is from Brooklyn and I believe was second in the Quinebaug Valley Junior Conference championship (last season). Brooklyn has been great to us the past two years with Stella and Lynsey and maybe this will be another great gift from Brooklyn Middle School,” Banas said.

    The ECC won’t be easy, however.

    “I understand that (East Lyme coach) Mike Flynn has all five of his girls back and I know that NFA has its No. 1 back from two years ago and a freshman. NFA got stronger and I really see Division I, because you never know what Fitch will have, being as tough as the MM in the states,” Banas said.

     

     

    Woodstock Academy girls cross-country schedule

    Saturday, Sept. 7:  at Haddad-Windham Invitational, TBA

    Tuesday, Sept. 10: at Killingly with Wheeler and Waterford (at Owen Bell Park), 3:45 p.m.

    Tuesday, Sept. 17: Ledyard, Norwich Free Academy at Woodstock Academy, 4 p.m.

    Saturday, Sept. 28: at Ocean State Invitational (at Goddard State Park, Warwick, R.I.), TBA

    Tuesday, Oct. 1:     at Fitch with Bacon Academy (at Haley Farm State Park), 4:30 p.m.

    Thursday, Oct. 10: at East Lyme (at Rocky Neck State Park), 4:30 p.m.

    Saturday, Oct. 12:  at Wickham Park Invitational (at Wickham Park, East Hartford), TBA

    Thursday, Oct. 17: at ECC championship (at Norwich Golf Course), TBA

    Saturday, Oct. 26:  at Class MM state championship (at Wickham Park, East Hartford), 1 p.m.

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  • Woodstock Academy boys cross-country

    Posted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 8/29/2019

     

    The Woodstock Academy boys cross-country tri-captains stretch prior to a practice

     

    The Woodstock Academy byos cross-country tri-captains (from left to right) Ethan Aspiras, Tristan Monahan and Evan Gianfriddo stretch prior to practice recently.

     

    Centaurs boys cross-country hoping for strong showing this season

     

    The Woodstock Academy girls cross-country team is looking to compete for an Eastern Connecticut Conference championship this season.

    The boys may not be in that same position quite yet.

    But can the potential success of the girls team rub off on the boys squad?

    “Absolutely,” said Centaurs boys cross-country coach Peter Lusa who enters his 11th year at the helm of the program. “Now, having taught (at Killingly High School) when Meghan Owen ran, it didn’t rub off so much on the boys there, in fact, it didn’t even rub off on her (girls) team. She was like a solo runner. There is some rub off, though. The girls pay attention to the directions and they tell the boys and the boys pay attention to them. It leads to a more cohesive team and I’m really pleased with how it’s working here. It’s something I’ve tried to do for several seasons, get the two teams working together.”

    Junior captain Ethan Aspiras agreed.

    “The girls’ success can help us because we’ve watched them progress. They are a completely different team than my first year here. Seeing that change and how a team can become successful can, hopefully, influence us to also progress and in years to come also be much better,” Aspiras said.

    The Centaurs did compete in Division 1 of the ECC last year for a first time in a while and found out how difficult it was.

    The Centaurs finished 6-8 overall, but were 0-6 in the Division.

    Lusa doesn’t expect it will be much easier this season.

    “(Coach) Chad Johnson is not at (Norwich Free Academy), we will see how that shakes out. I know they have another coach who has just moved over, but they have been slackening a little bit. The East Lyme boys (ECC and Class MM state champions last year) will be good again. I think it will be a good season. We will see how we do in our opener against Waterford, The Lancers are still looking pretty good,” Lusa said.

    That first meet with Waterford, Killingly and Wheeler will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at Owen Bell Park in Dayville.

    Before that, the Centaurs will participate in the season-opening event for most, the 41st annual Haddad Windham Invitational at Windham High School, on Saturday, Sept. 7.

    “It’s a lot of tar. It’s also three miles and not 3.1 so the times are a bit faster. Some run in the freshmen or JV races so teams don’t run together as a pack. There may be kids separated by races who are not running with who they are used to running with, that can be both good and bad. It’s a good shake-out meet. No high expectations. If they run a little faster and times are a little better, that just gets it in their head that they can run these times and when they go to 3.1 miles with hills, and soft gravel, and they do it again, we can talk about doing better on harder courses,” Lusa said.

    The Centaurs did lose a little of their glue when Kenneth Birlin graduated.

    They also lost Noah Pepper, Holden Pimental, and Spencer Collins.

    But Lusa has been pleased with the turnout.

    “You always want more, but we have a good smattering of (athletes from) all the grades so it bodes well for the future,” Lusa said.

    The leader of the pack will be Aspiras.

    Some of that progress Aspiras talked about, he has begun to see happen.

    “I’ve been telling my friends, I can’t believe we’re juniors already. It seems like yesterday that I came to this track for the first cross-country practice,” Aspiras said. “The team has been getting better and better since I first came. It’s great to see that.”

    But progress in cross-country doesn’t come without work, especially in the summer.

    Aspiras said he put in 405 miles during the offseason.

    It wasn’t quite what he wanted to reach.

    His goal was 450.

    “But, it’s a lot better than last year,” Aspiras said with a smile.

    Aspiras finished 21st in the ECC championship race (18 minutes, 35 seconds) and 30th in the Class MM state meet (17:57) in 2018.

    “I am definitely looking forward to finish in the top-10 in the ECC and definitely want to qualify for the State Open championship,” Aspiras said.

    Lusa is confident that Aspiras can reach his goals this season.

    “I have to hold him back a little (early) and then let him go when it’s time,” Lusa said. “Coach (Josh) Welch and Coach (Joe) Banas are keyed in with that. I’m taking more of an administrative role, getting all that stuff done and they’re in charge of dialing in workouts.”

    Aspiras will be joined in the captain’s role by seniors Evan Gianfriddo and Tristan Monahan.

    “Tristan went away to running camp this year,” Lusa said. “He came back asking me all these questions like ‘Is this why you made us do all these workouts? The coach there was saying these are great’ It was awesome to have him ask, ‘What do I do if this happens?’ Other summers, it was just crickets and I was like ‘Tristan, are you out there?’

    Other key runners include junior Cody Currie and sophomore Hamilton Barnes.

    “(Hamilton) is the person right behind me right now. Hamilton has been following my times as a sophomore so that’s pretty good to see that happen, having a younger person following what you have been doing and, hopefully, maybe even do better than I did in past years,” Aspiras said.

    Other returning members of the team include senior Ben Green, junior John Peabody, and sophomores Hans Rhynhart and Noah Salsich.

    The newcomers include juniors Pablo Lopez, Avery Pajak, Thomas Walden, Aaron Allard, Maxwell Auker, Vince Bastura, Lance LaFemina, Adam Thompson and Jacob Vadeboncoeur.

    The cross-country teams also had a little advantage.

    They were allowed to practice a week earlier than the other programs such as soccer, field hockey and volleyball.

    Football was the only other team practicing prior to last Thursday.

    It was something that Lusa didn’t even realize.

    “I didn’t think of that,” he said with a laugh. “I asked someone and they said everyone had started already. It does feel nice. We didn’t have to battle for (space on the) buses.”

     

    2019 Woodstock Academy boys cross-country schedule

    Saturday, Sept. 7:  at Haddad-Windham Invitational, TBA

    Tuesday, Sept. 10: at Killingly with Wheeler and Waterford (at Owen Bell Park), 3:45 p.m.

    Tuesday, Sept. 17: Ledyard, Norwich Free Academy at Woodstock Academy, 4 p.m.

    Saturday, Sept. 28: at Ocean State Invitational (at Goddard State Park, Warwick, R.I.), TBA

    Tuesday, Oct. 1:     at Fitch with Bacon Academy (at Haley Farm State Park), 4:30 p.m.

    Saturday, Oct. 5:    at Auburn, MA. 2:30 p.m.

    Thursday, Oct. 10: at East Lyme (at Rocky Neck State Park), 4:30 p.m.

    Saturday, Oct. 12:  at Wickham Park Invitational (at Wickham Park, East Hartford), TBA

    Thursday, Oct. 17: at ECC championship (at Norwich Golf Course), TBA

    Saturday, Oct. 26:  at Class MM state championship (at Wickham Park, East Hartford), 1:35 p.m.

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  • Woodstock Academy Football

    Posted 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

     

    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. 

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  • Centaur Classic Golf Tournament

    Posted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 8/22/2019

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The golf carts were full for the Centaur Classic Golf Tournament at the Quinnatisset Country Club recently

    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.”

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  • Anderson returns to fold at The Woodstock Academy

    Posted 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.

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  • Div. III Celebratory Signing Day at The Woodstock Academy

    Posted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 6/13/2019

    12 senior student-athletes from The Woodstock Academy took part in the Division III Celebratory Signing Day

     

    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.”

     

    Heather Converse took part in the Division III Celebratory Signing Day. She will play basketball for RPI

     

     

    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.

     

     

    Sophia McGee will be a part of the Drew University Fencing team

     

     

     

    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.

     

     

     

    The girls lacrosse team was well represented at the Division III Celebratory Signing Day

     

     

     

    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.   

     

     

     Blake Kollbeck will play football at Utica College

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  • Spring Athletic Awards Night

    Posted 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:

    Boys Golf

    Varsity coaches’ awards: Mason Stewart and Owen Borski

    JV coaches’ award: Eddy Chen

    Girls Golf

    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

     

    Marina Monrabal and Linsey Arends received coaches' awards from Josh Welch during Spring Sports Awards Night

    Boys Track and Field

    Varsity coaches’ awards: Kenneth Birlin and Lucas Couture

    JV coaches’ award: Aiden Lisee

    Boys Lacrosse

    Varsity coaches’ awards: Guerin Favreau and Ethan Holcomb

    JV coaches’ award: John Pokorny

    Girls Lacrosse

    Varsity coaches’ awards: Hallie Saracina and Kileigh Gagnon

    JV coaches’ award: Aurissa Boardman

    Girls Tennis

    Varsity coaches’ awards: Morgan Bassett and Emma Durand

    JV coaches’ award: Julia Dearborn

    Boys Tennis

    Varsity coaches’ awards: Luigi Boselli and Matt Tiffany

    Baseball

    Varsity coaches’ awards: Luke Mathewson and Nathan John

    JV coaches’ award: Aiden Russell

     

    The Woodstock Academy Baseball team handed out its coaches' awards during Spring Sports Awards Night

     

    Softball

    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

     

    The ECC Sportsmanship Award recipients  

     

    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 ECC Scholar-Athlete Award recipients

     

     

    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

     

     

    ECC All-Star, honorable mention and special award recipients

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