Sarah Whitestone was once a soccer goalkeeper, back in her pre-teen years.
The Dalton resident, and former Wahconah multi-sport athlete, decided to step back on the pitch at Nichols College this fall -- but she's playing between the pipes.
"About a week before I came to school, one of my friends called me from the soccer team and said that they needed some help with goalies," Whitestone said. "Both of their goalies that they had were injured. I figured I'd give it a shot."
Whitestone has done more than "give it a shot." She has become the starting goalkeeper for the 5-5 Bison. She has made 56 saves and given up 12 goals for a 1.47 goals-against average in eight games through Sept. 24. She has also recorded three shutouts.
Of the 12 goals Whitestone has given up, eight of them came in two games -- a 5-0 loss to Johnson & Wales and a 3-2 loss to the University of New England.
Nichols coach Damir Pesa, who led Nichols to a 12-6-1 record last year, is in his fourth season at the helm. He is a Western Massachusetts veteran, having coached at Holyoke Community College and led the Bay State Games West boys to a gold medal in 2006.
And it's not like Whitestone isn't busy enough at Nichols. She is also a basketball player and was a key reserve last year. She never played fewer than 10 minutes in a game and averaged 6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. The 5-foot-5 player had a season-best 16 points against Fitchburg State.
"I really didn't know if I wanted to" play goal, she said. "I figured it will help with basketball actually, in not playing basketball constantly and switching it up a little bit."
Things have kind of gotten a little easier for Whitestone, because here first day of practice was a pretty hectic day at Nichols.
"My first practice was on moving day for us," she said. "I was moving in, and then I had practice. [Coach Pesa] said you can try it, but if you don't like it, then you don't have to play. If you do, you can play with us."
She has, and has been very successful.
While Whitestone did not go to Nichols to play soccer, she was a soccer player at Wahconah and only switched her soccer position.
Tara Dooley of Lee switched sports at Bentley and never looked back.
The three-sport former Wildcat didn't have a cross country team to run with during her high school years, but she is running cross country at Bentley. Before she's done, Dooley might just be the best-ever in that sport.
The junior was named Northeast-10 Conference runner of the week for the second consecutive week.
Dooley finished second oveall at the Ted Owen Invitational, hosted by Division I Central Connecticut. It was Dooley's second straight second-place finish, as she also was second in the Division I Dartmouth Invitational on Sept. 14.
In the Owen race, Dooley ran 5,000 meters in 17:11, her best-ever 5k time and was 25 seconds faster than her time in this race a year ago. Rose Moriello of Boston University won the race.
Dooley set a PR for 6,000 meters at Dartmouth, finishing second in 21:03.36. Dartmouth's Abbey D'Agostino, last year's NCAA Division I championship runnerup.
A freshman at Merrimack of the Northeast-10 is jumping into the proverbial deep end of the pool and making a name for himself.
Dan Brien from Pittsfield High School has already been named a Northeast-10 rookie of the week, and is helping the Warriors move up the rankings.
The Merrimack men are currently sixth in the East Region rankings, and put that ranking on the line Saturday in the Cod Fish Bowl at Franklin Park in Boston.
Brien earned rookie-of-the-week honors after finishing second in his debut meet. Brien was second in the Shacklette Invitational on Sept. 7. He covered the 8 kilometers in 27:37.9. He was the first Merrimack finisher and led the Warriors to a second-place finish in a seven-team field.
He came back on Sept. 14 and finished 15th overall at the Kirsch Cross Country Cup. His time over 5 kilometers was 18:24.
"We had a nice, tight pack in our top five and overall, it was a real good effort," Merrimack coach Chris Cameron said in a statement.
Freshman Scott Carpenter made a nice Division I debut on Sept. 14 in Annapolis, Md.
Carpenter, the former Lenox High School star, is a member of the Georgetown cross country team, and he was 18th in the Navy Invitational. Carpenter 8k time was 25:08.94. Seven Hoyas crossed the finish line in the top 20, and Carpenter was seventh.
Georgetown is idle until Oct. 5, when the Hoyas go to the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University.
Another college freshman, Sophia Dastoli of Pittsfield, finished 21st for the St. Lawrence cross country team in the recent Plattsburgh Cardinal Invitational.
Dastoli, who ran at Mount Greylock, had a time of 21:56.
Andrew Klem of Dalton runs at Clarkson, a Liberty League rival of St. Lawrence. He is a graduate student in his final season of competition.
At the Kangaroo Cross Country Invitational on Aug. 31 at SUNY-Canton, Klem was 14th overall. He ran 5 kilometers in 18:19. Klem did not score for the the Golden Knights, who had the top nine finishers and 14 of the top 20 runners to win the invitational title.
There are more runners, soccer players, golfers and football players competing collegiately outside of Berkshire County.
If you know of one, drop a message to email@example.com.