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  • Theriaque finishes 7th at State Open

    Woodstock Academy junior Julia Theriaque qualified for the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference State Open indoor track championship and did well in New Haven.

    Theriaque cleared the bar at 5 feet, 2 inches to finish seventh overall.

    Theriaque finished in a tie for third in the high jump at the Class L state championship.

    She cleared the bar at 4 feet, 10 inches at the Floyd Little Athletic Center to qualify for the Open.

    Senior Ivy Gelhaus just missed making the Open.

    She finished with a personal best time of 1:46.19 to finish fifth the Class L state championship in the 600-meter. She missed out on qualifying for the Open by one second.

    Aochen Li ran her fastest time of the season in the 55-meter hurdles, 10.01 seconds, to place 15th in Class L.


    Theriaque finishes 2nd at ECC's

    The Indoor track season continues to wind down with the Eastern Connecticut Conference boys and girls championships held on Saturday at the Coast Guard Academy.

    The Woodstock Academy girls team placed fifth out of the seven schools competing in the Division I championship.

    Julia Theriaque had to go against Norwich Free Academy’s Allyson Lewis in the high jump which was no easy task.

    Lewis set a new standard for ECC athletes to shoot for when she cleared the bar at 5-feet, 8-inches.

    Theriaque, a junior, finished second at 5-2.

    “We had some very specific training to get her mentally prepared for jumps at higher heights and it paid off.  Julia had one of the best jumping days I have seen from her.  She had consistently clean jumps, showed much more power on takeoff, “ Woodstock Academy indoor track coach Josh Welch said.

    Theriaque’s finish in the ECC will make her the top seed in the Class L state championship meet which will be held at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven on Friday.

    “I think Julia has an excellent shot at advancing from the state class meet to the State Open and being competitive there as well.  As it stands she is one of the favorites for the Class L championships by heights entered.  If she can replicate what she did at the ECC championship or improve on it, she has an excellent chance,” Welch said.

    Theriaque was, at least, partly responsible for 16 of the 29 points for the Centaurs scored on Saturday.

    She anchored the sprint medley team which finished fourth and also included Ivy Gelhaus, Ava Coutu and Gillian Price. 

    Gelhaus ran the anchor leg for the Centaurs in the 4x200 relay, which also featured Coutu, Price and Aochen Li, and also placed fourth.

    Unfortunately for Gelhaus, that effort may have cost her individually.

    She finished fourth in the 600 meter in 1:48.88 which was 2 ½ seconds above her seed time.

    “It has been tough weather and with a blanket of ice over the (outdoor) track (at Woodstock Academy), working on leg turnover and endurance has been very difficult.  Because of that, she was not able to spring back as quickly from anchoring the 4x200m relay,” Welch said. “I know she was a bit disappointed in what she accomplished but I couldn't be happier with what she achieved all things considered.  It’s tough to for an athlete to give up a shot at personal victory to put points up for the team, but that is what she did.” 

    Aochen (Daisy) Li reached a goal as she extended her personal season.

    She qualified for the Class L competition by finishing fourth in the 55-meter hurdles in 10.16 seconds, two-tenths of a second better than her seed time.

    “Daisy is really coming out of her shell, learning to be aggressive in her approach to the hurdles and not let fear get get the best of her.  She is really turning in to a competitor, who gets fired up at the line, and goes for it,” Welch said.

    Aria Gianfrido placed sixth in the 600-meter while Iris Bazinet was sixth in both the 1,000 and 1,600- meter races.

    Theriaque (high jump), Gelhaus (600m), Li (hurdles) and the 4x200 team qualified for the Class L competition.

    “With some hard work this week, I think it is possible that we'll see Julia and perhaps Ivy make it to the State Open.  Our relay teams, and other competitors are less competitive this year, but it’s great to get a variety of kids to the state meets and gaining experience from competition at that level,” Welch said.

    Centaurs qualify for States

    It’s called the Bacon Academy Last Chance Invitational.

    That’s because it’s one of the last opportunities for athletes to qualify for the upcoming state championship meets.

    On Saturday, several Woodstock Academy athletes took advantage of the event, held at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven, to either qualify to take part in the state meet or to better their qualifying status.

    Julia Theriaque led the girls when she tied for first in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5-feet, 10-inches. She finished second overall on tiebreaker criteria.

    The girls 4x200m relay team of Gillian Price, Ava Coutu, Daisy Li and Ivy Gelhaus qualified for the Class L state championship meet with a 1:58.77 finish.

    The Last Chance Invitational is truly not the last chance to put together a qualifying performance for the state championship meet.

    That will take place this weekend when the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship meets are held at the Coast Guard Academy in New London.

    SWCL Competition helps Centaurs

    Most indoor track teams in Connecticut don’t get out and compete on a weekly basis in the winter.

    The Woodstock Academy Centaurs are an anomaly thanks to the school’s proximity to the Massachusetts border and the Southern Worcester County League.

    The Centaurs and Marianapolis Prep are eligible to compete in the league as independents. Neither Connecticut school can compete in the league championship.

    That’s fine with Woodstock Academy coach Josh Welch.

    The Massachusetts meets are a great filler in between the Eastern Connecticut Conference non-scoring development meets in December and the ECC championship meet which comes up on Feb. 2.

    “It’s a great opportunity to get some time in on jumps, throws, and the track, in a smaller meet environment than many of the invitationals. It gives Coach (Joe) Banas and I a little more time to help athletes set goals, and chart progress throughout the season particularly for athletes who don't make the cutoff marks at many of the larger invitationals and are unable to compete in those,” Welch said.

    The Woodstock Academy coach added he thought it was a great formula for growth of the program since it does allow the lesser advanced athlete a chance to get a taste of competition.

    The girls team finished up the SWCL season with an 8-3 mark after a 46-40 win over Milbury, Mass and a 63-23 loss to Uxbridge, Mass. last Wednesday at Northbridge High School in Whitinsville, Mass.

    Ivy Gelhaus was the only runner to capture a first-place finish. She crossed the tape first in the 600-meter.

    Julia Theriaque finished second in the high jump and fourth in the 1000-meter; Daisy Li captured a second-place finish in the dash and was fourth in the high hurdles; Iris Bazinet was second in the 1000-meter and third in the mile; the girls 4x200-meter team placed second and Maria Scandalito threw a personal best, 24-feet, 6-inches in the shot put.

    Theriaque was tied with two other athletes for the best high jump of the season as she cleared 5-feet. Gelhaus had the second best performance (1:50.2) in the 600-meter in the SWCL.

    "I am very proud of what both teams accomplished,” Welch said. “We took losses to some great programs like Auburn, and Uxbridge, who put together strong teams, but we're competitive up there and having that regular competition, close to home, helps us get stronger by keeping the athletes engaged in regular competition.  Our kids start to know the kids they are competing against and develop a sense of friendly competition that is difficult to produce in scattered invites.”

    Centaurs take home 2 wins

    Ivy Gelhaus placed second in the 600-meter and Julia Theriaque was second in the high jump as the Centaurs won two of their three meets on Wednesday at Tantasqua Regional High School in Sturbridge, Mass.

    The Centaurs raised their record in the Massachusetts SWCL Indoor Track league to 7-2 with wins over Leicester, Mass.,53-32, and Marianapolis Prep, 59-18. The Centaurs stumbled against Auburn, Mass., 57.67-28.33.

    Iris Bazinet scored points for Woodstock Academy in both the 1000 and 1,600-meter races.

    The girls are doing very well among independent schools in the SWCL when it comes to individual performances.

    Bazinet is best in the 1000m (3:52.7) and the 1600m (6:19.8); Gelhaus tops in the 600m (1:52.9); Maria Scandalito owns the top performance in the shotput (23-1 ½ ); Julia Theriaque in the high jump (5-0) and Aochen Li in the 55m hurdles (10.4 seconds).  

    Woodstock Academy also owns the best performance (4:58.2) in the 1600m relay.

    Centaurs perform well in Mass. and R.I.

    The Woodstock Academy Indoor track teams traveled to Tantasqua Regional High School in Sturbridge, Mass. for a couple of Massachusetts league meets over the break.

    The Centaurs girls downed Notre Dame, 55-10, and Quaboag, 47-35.

    The Centaurs had three first-place finishes in the meet with Ivy Gelhaus winning the 600-meter in 1:54.5. Teammate Sophia Mawson finished in second place in that event.

    Megan Gohn captured first in the 2-mile event in 14:18 while the 4 x 200-meter team of Gillian Price, Sophia Lawson, Ava Coutu and Gelhaus finished first in 2:12.

    Junior Julia Theriaque had a personal best in the high jump where she cleared 5-feet and finished second.

    Maria Scandalito was third in the shot put with a throw of 22-feet, 3 1/2 inches.

    The girls also competed in the University of Rhode Island Invitational over the weekend in West Kingstown, R.I.

    Theriaque was, once again, a standout as she finished third overall in the high jump. She failed to clear the 5-foot mark again, but was good at 4-10 to snare the third-place finish.

    Theriaque also improved on her 1000-meter time by 12 seconds and joined Gelhaus, Price and Coutu in the 4x400-meter relay which is getting close to the time necessary to qualify for state competition.

    Gelhaus also had a good performance in the 600-meter where she chopped off another second from her personal best, bringing it down to 1:46.3. That performance was good enough for a 10th place finish in a field of 62.

    Working over the break

    The Woodstock Academy indoor track teams didn’t hunker down for the holidays.

    The boys and girls teams were in action the past two weekends at the Coast Guard Academy in New London.

    The Eastern Connecticut Conference held a pair of invitational meets begin the process of getting athletes qualified for state competition.

    Centaurs senior Ivy Gelhaus and junior Julia Theriaque performed well on both weekends, flipping places in their events.

    Gelhaus finished second in the 600-meter on Dec. 22 with a 1:47.4 time which easily qualified her for state competition and also beat everyone else in attendance by nearly five seconds.

    The competition was a bit stiffer last Saturday and Gelhaus didn’t equal her time of the week before. She placed second in 1:50.76.

    Theriaque finished second in the high jump, clearing the bar at her personal best of 4-feet, 10-inches on Dec. 22. She equaled that this past Saturday and placed first on a tie breaker.

    Pole vaulter Sydney Couture took third when she cleared the bar at 5-feet-6 last Saturday and Iris Bazinet also took home a bronze finish in the 1,600-meter which she finished in 6:19.

    On the boys side, Jackson Dias and Dylan Ponkala finished tied for first in the high jump at a height of 5-feet-2. Dias won the tiebreaker.

    Senior Ken Birlin continues his quest to qualify for state competition and is now just five-tenths of a second off in the 10000-meter. He finished second this past Saturday in a time of 2:52.7.

    “Nearly all of our athletes set a new personal record in their events as we continue to grow,” Welch said of the past two weeks of competition. “Our international students were missed as they are home on break, attendance is thinner, and we're lacking some talent in sprints and throws.”

    Centaurs open season

    The strength and conditioning work that Julia Theriaque has been putting in at Woodstock Academy is apparently paying off.

    Theriaque cleared 4-feet, 10-inches in the high jump Wednesday in a season-opening meet for the Woodstock Academy girls indoor track team at Tantasqua Regional High School in Sturbridge, Mass.

    The Centaurs downed Oxford,Mass (44-42); Bay Path Tech (50-35); and Leicester, Mass (43-41) but fell to Tantasqua (55-30).

    Woodstock Academy was missing a number of athletes due to other holiday commitments at the school.

    Theriaque was a bright spot with her first-place finish.

    The junior is already taking aim at the number she reached in last year’s outdoor season and coach Josh Welch said that could very well mean an Eastern Connecticut Conference championship could in the offing.

    “The work we are putting in with Coach (Brenden) O(stazewski) and Coach (Jeff) Higgins seems to be paying off.  (Julia) looks much stronger and more explosive than she has in the past.  She had amazing form in the air last year but the additional speed and power in her take off is great to see,” Welch said.

    Another expected standout, Ivy Gelhaus, finished first in the 600-meter in just over 1 minute, 53 seconds.

    Welch thinks a newcomer to the team, Aochen Li, has a very good chance to qualify for the states the 55-meter hurdles and possibly the 50-meter dash as well.

    “She was very nervous, it was her first time racing the hurdles but she was aggressive and attacked each one.  She is a pretty fierce competitor which is not immediately obvious from her mild manner,” Welch said.

    Iris Bazinet also showed growth in the 1000-meter event.

    Welch is also excited to see what kind of growth Sydney Couture and her brother, Lucas, have accomplished. Neither were at the season-opening meet, but both are expected to be in attendance for the Eastern Connecticut Conference Development meets that take place over the next two Saturdays at the Coast Guard Academy in New London.

    “They are beginning to work with Patriot Pole Vault outside of practice to get themselves some additional air time and have been committed to strength and conditioning work and speed work to prepare them physically, so I have high hopes for both of them in that event as well as the hurdles.  It would be great to see both of  them pick up near where they left off in outdoor to start,” Welch said.


    2018-19 Boys and Girls Indoor Track Preview

    Woodstock Academy senior Kenneth Birlin is working hard this indoor track season.

    “He’s really trying to get somewhere down near the 1000-meter and the 800-meter (school) records,” first-year indoor track coach Josh Welch said.

    The current school record holder in those events?

    Josh Welch.

    “It would be kind of cool to train him to beat them. I don’t know if he’s there yet, but we’re going to try,” Welch said.

    Welch is a 1998 graduate of Woodstock Academy.

    “It’s pretty cool,” Welch said of coming back to his alma mater and coaching the sport that he excelled in while attending Woodstock Academy.

    Welch left for a short time and then returned, working for the Hyde School for 15 years until it shut down and the facility was purchased by Woodstock Academy.

    Some chose to stick around.

    Welch was one of them and he currently teaches physics and algebra.

    But when he is not in the classroom, he’s out on the track.

    He was an assistant coach for boys and girls cross-country in the fall and now takes over for Nicole Brousseau as head coach of the indoor track program. He will be assisted by the two cross-country head coaches, Joe Banas and Peter Lusa.

    Welch said it was only fitting that during his transition between Hyde and Woodstock Academy that the cross-country team that he was a part of was inducted into the Woodstock Academy Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame.

    It was during the golden years for the sport at Woodstock Academy.

    “There is this aura of (former Woodstock Academy track coach) Mike Lunt, Bob Mondani and company where a lot of the records changed. The whole board is late 90’s, early 2000’s and I would like to start adding on to that. Mike and Bob were a great combination. They worked together in cross-country and then Lunt took over in winter and spring and they communicated well together and had a good plan for kids.|” Welch said. “Looking at how I trained under those guys, I turned into an 800 runner which really helped me bring my 5K stuff down. I’m doing three seasons now, so it will be good to have some consistency across the board with Banas and myself and Lusa is helping out which is awesome. So we will have a trio of guys, at least for a while, which will really help.”

    Both the boys and girls indoor track teams have 27 athletes currently for the indoor season with a good mix of events covered.

    Those numbers are a bit better than last year, probably due to the influx of some cross-country athletes. Welch is still trying to get some football athletes and athletes from other offseason programs who want to stay in shape over the winter while helping out the program’s fortunes.

    Birlin and cross-country teammate, Ethan Aspiras, will be two of the key performers for the Centaurs in both middle and long-distance events.

    “I haven’t done indoor before so coming into the season with a coach that I know is really nice,” Birlin said.

    The work that Birlin is doing now is in preparation more for the spring season, than the indoor season, in his quest to overtake the school record.

    “I’m very confident that I can. I’m just trying to get in better shape during indoor so I can do (break the marks) in outdoor,” Birlin said.

    Other key performers include Danylo Ntamwemizi and C.J. Burrows, two football players who are coming along nicely in the shotput in their first year with the program; Lucas Couture will compete in the pole vault as well as the sprints and hurdles while Gavin Savoie is working in the sprints.

    Like Birlin, junior Julia Theriaque has some pretty high aspirations this winter.

    Hers are in the high jump for the girls indoor track team.

    “I would really like to win the (Eastern Connecticut Conference) championship, I got second last year and I’m also shooting for the school record (in the event),” Theriaque said.

    Theriaque has also been working on the hurdles.

    Senior Ivy Gelhaus will run either the 300 or 600-meter and some relay events.

    “She has come out pretty fired up this season. She was a little more casual last season, but is putting in the work this year. She looks very promising,” Welch said.

    Meg Gohn and Aria Gianfriddo will be the top distance people for Welch while Sydney Couture will compete in the pole vault.

    “We want to see how many we can get to qualify for the states. I don’t know the competition well enough (in the ECC) to know how we will do as a team right now. We don’t have as big a program as some of the others who tend to be huge so we’re focusing on individuals,” Welch said.

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