Track & Field
Freshman qualifies for State Open
There will be only one member of the Woodstock Academy track and field program competing in the State Open championship on Monday at Willow Brook Park in New Britain.
Freshman Linsey Arends earned herself a spot in the 1,600-meter event with a third-place finish in the Class MM state championship meet Wednesday in Middletown.
“Linsey is great to work with because she is talented, but takes coaching very well. As she matures as a runner, she will dial in on the events she is most suited for, and learn to feel out those races in challenging competition better,” Woodstock Academy coach Josh Welch said. “I think this outdoor season helped her get quicker, and brought her mile time down. Coupling that with the right summer training should set her up for a great cross-country season. She is not so speedy for a miler right now, but she is developing strength.”
Arends finished in 5:24.78, bettering her previous best in the mile by almost seven seconds.
The freshman barely missed out on qualifying for two events in the State Open.
She finished seventh in the 3,200-meter in 12:01.53.
Arends was beaten at the line by Abby McCarthy of Torrington who got the last spot in 12:00.85.
”It was a tough call regarding which event to focus on. In the end that choice was Linsey's and she felt more confident in the mile. Coach (Joe) Banas and I spent a long time deliberating on which race she would most likely qualify in, and really it’s always a best guess, but I think that was the best race for her given the performance data we had to work with,” Welch said.
Arends did get a little break.
Rain came in halfway through the meet and forced the postponement of events like the 3,200-meter to Thursday.
“Splitting the meet over the course of two days gave her a great deal of time to recover from the mile and run the 3,200-meter to try and qualify there as well. She was pulled out a little fast in the 3,200 and was just edged out by a second at the finish as she struggled to hold on,” Welch said.
Junior Marina Monrabal made the finals of the 100-meter dash and placed eighth in 13.02 seconds.
She also participated in the 200-meter where she finished in 27.37, good for 12th place.
“Marina did a great job in both races and set personal bests improving her times in both the 100m and the 200m by a tenth of a second or so. I think in her instance, the conditions on both days were less than ideal, she seems to really respond well to the heat. Considering the data from the meet, almost every athlete ran slower in preliminaries than their seed time and Marina was one of the few who dropped a little more time to get to the finals,” Welch said.
With the exception of Arends, the state championship meet spelled the end to the girls outdoor track season.
“I think we had a great year for a young team,” Welch said. “It has been a couple of years since the Woodstock Academy girls put points on the board at states and we managed to do that this year. We have very few athletes moving on next year, and a batch of new athletes coming in so in that respect I am excited for next year. Hopefully we'll see some greater participation from athletes in cross country and indoor, continuing on to outdoor, and a batch of new faces over the course of the year.”
Monrabal wins 100m at ECC's
Woodstock Academy junior Marina Monrabal took home a label from the Eastern Connecticut Conference girls championship track meet that surprised her.
Monrabal was anointed the fastest in the area this season when she won the 100-meter race at East Lyme High School last Monday.
“Pretty impressive,” Woodstock Academy coach Josh Welch said.
“It’s a brand new sport for her and I’ve watched her develop over the season,” Welch said.
Monrabal is a native of Spain and played basketball overseas before coming to Woodstock Academy this season.
She decided to give outdoor track a try.
Welch has learned one thing about his young runner: Don’t challenge her.
“It seems like the more the pressure gets turned up, the more she responds,” Welch said. “She is a really motivated athlete.”
To make his point, Welch said all one has to look at is what Monrabal did in the 100-meter qualifying heat and what she did in the final.
She dropped .3 seconds between the two.
Monrabal finished the 100-meter in 13.02 seconds.
But it was just barely good enough for her to bring home ther first-place medallion.
Bacon Academy’s Cleondra White finished in 13.05 seconds and East Lyme’s Saige Deveau wasn’t too far away in 13.09.
"It was pretty close, they had to check the camera and it took a long time, but then said that I had won," Monrabal said with a smile.
She didn't think she had.
"I was at the finish line and I saw two girls pass me, and I thought I was like third place, but they went to those cameras and I was first," she added.
It was not a Woodstock Academy school record.
Debbie Clark still owns that mark with a 12.2-second finish.
But it was Monrabal's personal best.
"I honestly don't know why I did so well, maybe because the weather was warmer. I didn't practice this weekend, either, so I was really fresh," Monrabal said.
Monrabal also finished third in the 200-meter race.
But there was a caveat to that as well.
She did so out of the slow heat.
“You could see she just got caught up in the pack, kids were going to pass and she just turned on a second gear and drove past them. She doesn’t want to have somebody in front of her. She’s very motivated and that seems to drive her success,” Welch said.
The Woodstock Academy coach would have loved to see what his runner could have done had she run in the fast heat and been challenged more.
But it was just her second time competing in the event.
"I did pretty good, I'm pretty fast I guess," Monrabal said. "I like the 100, the 200 kills me."
Monrabal finished in 28.24 seconds behind Norwich Free Academy’s Allyson Lewis (25.75) and Stonington’s Gwen Andersen (27.01).
Welch is curious how Monrabal will do in the Class MM state championships this week even though she is not seeded particularly high. He thinks she is within a tenth of a second to get a medal in both events.
The Centaurs were missing a couple of key athletes for the meet and settled for 12th overall as a team.
Freshman Linsey Arends added a fourth-place finish in the mile.
The 4x800-meter relay team, which Arends was a member of, should have finished sixth but was disqualified due to a zone violation.
“Linsey did a great job as a freshman. We put a tough load in front of her to run the 4x8 and come back for the mile and she still ran a solid mile despite the heat which we’re not used to yet,” Welch said.
The Class MM track championship is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday in Middletown.
Centaurs get ready for ECC's and States
Marina Monrabal picked up not one, but two first-place finishes in East Lyme Tuesday.
Unfortunately, for the Centaurs, the host Vikings had a little too much firepower and scored the 111-39 victory.
“East Lyme has a heck of a program, a good tradition of track-and-field and some good coaching. We knew it would be a tough one,” Woodstock Academy coach Josh Welch said. “We just wanted to see if we could poke some holes in there and it was nice to see the 4 x800 team win by quite a margin. We went 1-2-3 in the two-mile and picked up other points where we could."
It ended the regular season for the Centaurs who finished with an 0-3 mark both in Eastern Connecticut Division I competition and overall.
“It was very quick,” Woodstock Academy coach Welch said of the regular season.
Monrabal won both the 100 and 200-meter sprints for Woodstock Academy.
In the process, the junior also qualified for state competition in both events.
“She had a very good day,” Welch said. “It’s great to have some sprinting talent. I did not really expect that level of talent that we would get from her at the beginning of the season.”
It was Monrabal’s first time running the 200-meter this season.
“We kind of threw it together and gave her a couple of workouts to prep her, thought she could get ready for states and she did. It was great to see. Putting points up against East Lyme was rather difficult and she was a great help in that,” Welch said.
Freshman Linsey Arends qualified for state championship competition by winning the 3,200-meter in 12 minutes, 10 seconds.
She already had qualified in the one-mile which gives Welch and her options in the states.
Gohn also placed second in the 800m against East Lyme.
Iris Bazinet finished runner up in the mile with Alexia Bourbeau just behind her in third.
Maddie Grube took second place in the 100-meter hurdles and third in both the long and triple jump.
The 4x800 meter relay team of Alexia Borbeau, Danuse Horka, Arrends and Meg Gohn also qualified for states in the win over the Vikings.
The quartet is also not all that far off the Woodstock Academy school record.
“They are within 12 seconds. It’s not super-close, but at the same time, it was the first time that the group was together and I know each one of them has a few seconds that they can shed. They can, at least, get in the neighborhood if they push for it. It will be interesting to see and I think they will be competitive in the ECC with that,” Welch said. “Right now, it’s not a super-competitive seed time for the states, but 12 seconds down, it could be in the ballpark to win a medal.”
The Eastern Connecticut Conference championship takes place on Monday.
The 4 x 100 relay team of Monrabal, Gillian Price, Aochen Li and Grube have qualified for state competition and so has the 4 x 400 team of Gohn, Bourbeau, Arends and Horka.
Grube is also qualified in the long jump.
“It’s a pretty good number (of competitors) and it’s spread out over a few different events,” Welch said. “It’s nice to put a couple of relay teams in there so that we get some bodies in there and get them used to it and build off that,” Welch said.
Sydney Couture could also still qualify if she clears the bar by another six inches in the pole vault competition in the ECC championship.
The Centaurs will compete in the Class MM state championship at 3 p.m. on May 29.
Woodstock Academy falls, but performs well versus NFA
Norwich Free Academy made its impression as soon as it drove up to the track at the South Campus at Woodstock Academy Wednesday.
It took two buses to carry the nearly 70 athletes that the Wildcats brought along.
The Centaurs had just about a third of that.
But the group acquitted itself well, forging a host of first-place finishes, but falling short as expected to NFA, 97-53.
“It was great for us to steal nearly half the points and stay in the game with them,” said Woodstock Academy girls track coach Josh Welch. “I think it shows what our athletes are capable of doing and their commitment. We talked a little at the beginning of the meet about staying focused, despite the competition, and using it to their advantage rather than a deterrent. I think everybody did that. We had a lot of (personal records). Their attitude was in the right place and they pushed hard.”
None harder than Woodstock Academy senior Maddie Grube.
She captured first-place finishes in the long jump (14-8 ½); triple jump (31-7), 100-meter hurdles (18.79) and was also a member of the winning 4x100-meter relay team for the Centaurs.
“(NFA’s numbers) make it tough. They’re putting like 10 girls in every event and we only have a few so it makes it tough getting points. Our focus this meet was getting personal records and trying to qualify for states,” Grube said.
Grube qualified for Class M state competition in both the 4x100 and bettered her qualifying position in the long jump.
“The best (Wednesday) was definitely the 4 x 100 because working as a team is so much more fun. We’ve been working on our hand offs and it really went well,” Grube said.
“She had an amazing day,” Welch said. “She is really coming along and is an excellent role model for the rest of the team. Four firsts is an impressive feat.”
Grube also got very close to qualifying for state competition in the triple jump.
The Centaurs don’t have a lot of time to accomplish that.
After the Ledyard Relays this weekend, the Centaurs only have the Middletown Invitational, a meet with East Lyme and the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship meet left.
“You have to make each meet count,” Grube said.
“We’re trying to make sure the kids are healthy when it matters. A kid missing a meet due to injury is a big loss. We’re trying to keep an eye on that and what kids have the ability to get there and make sure we do some specialized training with them for those events moving into the next couple of meets,” Welch said.
Junior international student Marina Monrabal was a member alongside Grube, Aochen Li and Gillian Price as members of the 4 x 100 team that not only finished with a win against NFA but also qualified for state competition.
Monrabal also finished first and qualified for states in the 100-meter.
The Centaurs also finished first in the 4 x 400 relay.
“Winning both relays was a surprise,” Welch said. “We’re not typically strongest in the 100’s and we put up a great fight. Marina is a kid who has shocked me this season. She’s super-quick and very motivated at practice.”
Olivia Majek took the baton in the third leg of the 4x400 and was behind by 50 meters. She made up the time and freshman Linsey Arends did the rest, striding home in first. Arends also won the 1,600-meter event.
For the Centaurs girls, it was their only home meet of the season.
“There is a lot that goes into running a home meet, but it’s nice to have one. It was great to see people out here supporting our athletes,” Welch said.
The 4 x 1-mile relay team of Arends, Megan Gohn, Alexia Bourbeau and Iris Bazinet finished second in 25 minute, 26.7 seconds at the Ledyard Relays on Saturday at Ledyard High School.
The 4 x 100-meter hurdle relay team of Grube, Aria Gianfriddo, Aochen Li and Sydney Couture placed third and the 4 x800 relay quartet of Malloy Tyimok, Anna Kellerman, Sophia Mawson and Bazinet was fifth.
Grube also placed fifth in the long jump.
Centaurs open at Fitch
The Woodstock Academy girls track team is strong on the track.
But the field events could use some work and a few more participants.
The Centaurs found that to be their Achilles’ heel on Tuesday when they lost to Fitch in their season-opening meet, 86-57, in Groton.
“We were in control of the meet through all the distance events and actually performed better in the sprints than I assumed we would. Fitch usually has a stronger sprint program, but we have talent where we were able to pick up some first and thirds and get some points. Where we fell behind was in the throws. Fitch was dominant there and took all five places in all the throws,” Woodstock Academy girls track coach Josh Welch said.
There were a couple of athletes who put together some first-place finishes against the Falcons.
Welch thought senior Maddie Grube put together a “fantastic” performance in the long jump where she cleared 15-feet-4-inches.
The jump qualified her for the Class M state championship meet.
“It relieves some of the pressure for the rest of the season,” Grube said.
That performance came despite a less than ideal weather day.
“It was very tough. My legs were a little numb but it was good for a first meet. I’m proud of myself and the team did pretty well, too,” Grube said.
Grube easily surpassed her goal of clearing 14-feet in the first meet of the season. She hopes to clear 16-feet by the time the state championship meet.
“It’s going to take some work. I definitely need to get more height on my jumps but we’re practicing each day,” Grube said.
Grube finished third in the 100m hurdles with a 15.4 finish and third in the triple jump.
The distance events, like the boys, were a strength for Woodstock Academy.
Junior Megan Gohn won both the 800m and 3,200m races for the Centaurs while freshman Linsey Arends was first in the 1,600m and, along with Danuse Horka, Carla Simal and Alexia Bourbeau, won the 4 x 800m relay event.
The Centaurs swept the top three spots in the 1,600 with Iris Bazinet and Bourbeau taking second and third.
The same could be said about the 800 where Horka and Bazinet finished second and third.
Marina Monrabal was first in the 100m with Aochen Li third, Li was also third in the 200m.
Aria Giandfriddo was third in the 300m hurdles.
“In this meet, the focus for me was on scoring and to see if we could put up a decent score and be competitive. When we look at a team like (Norwich Free Academy on April 24), they’re so big and there is so much talent there that I’m less worried about a team score and I may move some kids around to focus on an individual event. It’s a great time to qualify (for states). It’s in the middle of the season, against great competition, and I don’t have to have them double or triple to try and get our points up,” Welch said.
The Centaurs will be outnumbered in both the meets against NFA and East Lyme.
“We have a very young team and a smaller team than usual,” Grube said.
Plus, the NFA meet will follow on the heels of spring break.
“We will practice some, but it’s going to be tough because a lot of kids are on vacation. We’re working up workout plans for the kids who won’t be here and we’re hoping they stay consistent,” Welch said.