Boys Cross Country
Experience gained at States will be beneficial for Centaurs
The Woodstock Academy boys cross-country coach Peter Lusa could only smile when talking about what he saw at about the halfway point of the Class MM boys state championship cross-country race on Saturday at Wickham Park in Manchester.
Lusa coaches his runners to get over to the right-hand side on the course and freshman Ethan Aspiras was doing his best to do just that.
“I saw Kenneth (Birlin) and thought I had missed Ethan, but then I saw him trying to get to the right-hand side and he was hopping over people’s legs. It was just a lack of experience,” Lusa said.
But it’s something Aspiras will remember when he returns to Wickham Park next fall.
Aspiras had a bit of a rough day and the Centaurs settled for a 19th place finish with 552 points.
The freshman doesn’t do well on cool days because of an asthmatic condition, but because of the time of the race at 11 a.m., he didn’t bring his inhaler.
That, combined with his inexperience and the strength of field all combined to push him back to 95th in the field.
“The whole field went out fast,” Lusa said. “A lot of coaches were asking why they were going out so fast. It took its toll.”
Birlin, who normally finishes behind Aspiras, led the team across the line in 81st.
“He stepped up,” Lusa said. “His time was a little faster (than at the Wickham Park Invitational). He’s a game-day player. I did over rest them a little this week so his legs were super fresh.”
Birlin, a junior, said it was nice to actually beat the freshman across the line for a change.
“I ran my best. It’s states, the last meet of the season, you have to do your best,” Birlin said.
He even had his own personal soundtrack running in his head, Tom Petty’s “I won’t Back Down’ was his inspiration for the meet.
“It wasn’t my best season, but I tried my hardest,” Birlin said. “I think, as a team, we will be a lot better next season. We’ve got a lot of younger, faster runners so we will have a good top five next year.”
Nate Roethlein (122nd), Spencer Collins (126th) and Cylus Gould (128th) rounded out the top five for the Centaurs.
Lusa will lose seven seniors, Chris Cheney, Dan Crème, Wyatt Cummings, Gould, Ivan Karlsen, Jared Law and Todd Le, but he had plenty to choose from.
“It was more (runners) than I ever had and most made it through the season healthy so I was pleased,” the Centaurs coach said. “Everybody dropped their times so it felt good.”
Centaurs do as expected at ECC championship
Freshman Ethan Aspiras knew where he had to improve as soon as he came off the course at the Eastern Connecticut Conference cross-country championship Thursday.
“He told me that ‘I need hill workouts for the summer, Coach.’ I told him just to relax. He said, ‘No, you have to tell me right now,’” Centaurs coach Peter Lusa said.
Aspiras was clearly disappointed about his performance on the Norwich Golf Course.
With about a mile left, the freshman was in about 15th place.
He finished in 38th.
Read about the meet on Centaurnation.com
|The Academy||at Bacon Academy||19-33 (L)|
|The Academy||at Montville||25-30 (L) Montville; 24-35 (W) Killingly|
|The Academy||at ABC 5K||Sat., 9/30, TBA|
|The Academy||vs. Plainfield, Waterford, Windham||19-43 (L) vs. Waterford; 23-36 (W) vs. Windham; 23-36 (W) vs. Plainfield|
|The Academy||@ Wickham Park Invitational||53rd place in boys unseeded|
|The Academy||at Stonington||27-32 (L)|
|The Academy||at ECC Championship at Norwich Golf Course||12th place; Ethan Aspiras 38th place|
|The Academy||at Class MM state championship||19th place..Kenneth Birlin 81st|
|Player Name||Best Time||Best Location||2nd Best Time||2nd Best Location|
|Ethan Aspiras||17:07||at Montville (2.7 miles)||18:52 (3rd)||Home @ Stonebridge Rd.|
|Kenneth Birlin||17:09||at Montville (2.7 miles)||19:21 (2nd)||@ Stonington|
|Evan Gianfriddo||17:31||Montville||20:07 (6th)||at Stonington|
|Nate Roethlein||18:25||at Montville (2.7 miles)||21:02||@ Stonebridge Rd.|
|Spencer Collins||18:37||at Montville||21:11||at Stonington|
|Jackson Dias||18:47||at Montville||21:45||@ Stonebridge Rd.|