Owns cross
country record
Linsey Arends hasn’t been at the high school cross-country game too long.
The Woodstock Academy freshman already owns a course record.
Arends finished first at Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme Sept. 27. 
“I was very happy. I felt very good, thought I did well for my team and maybe next year, I can break it again,” Arends said.
Arends finished in 20 minutes, 19 seconds to break the mark previously held by a former Woodstock Academy runner, Sylvia Lawrence.
Close behind Arends was Stella DiPippo who finished in 20:38.
Unfortunately for the Centaurs, the 1-2 finish was not enough.
The girls lost a close battle Eastern Connecticut Conference defending champions, East Lyme, 25-30.
It was the score that coach Joe Banas expected.
Banas asked his two top runners to go out slower than normal to try and bait the East Lyme pack into starting faster than it wanted to.
It didn’t make much of a difference.
“I had crunched the numbers from a previous race and I had it 25-30. But I figured if I didn’t do anything at all, the result was going to be obvious. I don’t like handing over a victory. We tried to push them out a little faster than they wanted but their five were solid,” Banas said.
Banas was especially impressed by the effort of East Lyme’s No. 5 runner, Brianna am Ende. She was holding her side through much of the race, battling a cramp, and never gave in.
“She gutted it out. If she had dropped out, we would have won 27-31, so I went up to her in front of (East Lyme) Coach (Mike) Flynn and told her how much I admired her effort,” Banas said.
The Rocky Neck course is one of the more scenic in the ECC.
It’s run along the shores of Long Island Sound.
“It was a really beautiful course,” Arends said. “Running by the ocean and on the boardwalk, it was the best.”
Although Arends found running in sand to be a bit on the interesting side.
“Very tough. You don’t know what kind of stride to take. You’re always sinking in. It was actually a relief to get back on the pavement to finish the race,” she said.
Shannon D’Alessandro and Iris Bazinet finished ninth and 10th and Emily McClure 14th as the Centaurs (4-1, 0-1 ECC Division I) downed Lyman Memorial, 20-39, and Waterford, 16-47, in the quad meet.
Boys take 1
The Centaurs boys had to face not one, but two defending state champion teams Sept. 27 at Rocky Neck.
Woodstock Academy beat one of those, Lyman Memorial, 24-34, but lost to the other, East Lyme, 16-40 and also fell to Waterford, 24-35, in the quad-meet.
Sophomore Ethan Aspiras, as he has all season, led the Centaurs (2-3, 0-1) with an eighth-place finish in 18:03.
Not too far behind was senior Kenneth Birlin who was just 25 seconds behind his teammate.
“I’m getting closer,” Birlin said. “I think I’m improving faster than he is so I’m hoping to get up there with him in the next couple of meets.”
That is not a bad thing.
Internal competition is important to a team and individuals in cross-country.
“I think it is. It’s always been what has motivated me since freshman year,” Birlin said.
The Centaurs also reached another important goal.
The top four runners all finished under 19 minutes.
It’s the first time that has happened in a number of years according to coach Peter Lusa.
Christian Mink finished in 18:47 with teammate Hamilton Barnes three seconds behind him as the two placed 12th and 13th.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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