Athlete Spotlight: Mount Greylock's Delaney Babcock
After rinsing herself of the Great Barrington mud she earned in a shutout win at Monument Mountain last week, Mount Greylock girls soccer goalie Delaney Babcock stopped by The Berkshire Eagle offices for this week's Athlete Spotlight feature. The Mounties three-sport athlete shed some light on this season's squad and the success they're having in a brutal Berkshire North, as well as some Halloween talk, developing as a goalie, taking the toughest defensive assignments in lacrosse last spring and what it's like living in the small town of Clarksburg.
The Berkshire Eagle: How did you become the starting goalie for Mount Greylock?
Delaney Babcock: Last year I was a backup 'keeper, but played a lot of defense to be out there and be useful. It was tough being the backup, but in goal is where I always wanted to be.
Eagle: How does one develop as a goalkeeper?
Babcock: Growing up I worked a lot in net with the girl who was a year above me. Every single practice I feel I have to work harder to get my defense to trust me in there. My favorite drill is rapid fire, just the ball consistently at me. I get to dive all over, and there's a lot of pressure, which I like. I've been working on not just getting to the ball, but locking it in.
Eagle: What has been the relationship taking over as the starter this year?
Babcock: It's nice to know I have friends out there on the defense that won't take anything personally. I have some pretty good, solid defenders out there and I'm really excited to have them out there with me. I know they'll never give up on me, and I'll never give up on them.
Eagle: What does the win at Monument Mountain do for your team?
Babcock: Soccer is definitely a hard sport because of how low the scoring can be. One goal affects everything. As a keeper, my mentality is `shutout today.' One goal really gets momentum going. Yesterday was stressful. It was scoreless, the weather was tough, on a JV field. You had to be mentally tough. I went in knowing I had to get every ball.
Eagle: Who is the toughest attacker you've faced in the county?
Babcock: I don't think we focus on one person ever. I'm more focused on knowing who my shooters are. Against Monument, I knew [Fiona Horan] has a strong left foot. Against Hoosac, I know there are a lot of fast outside shooters. Each game is different.
Eagle: What was the ride like last year reaching the Central/Western Massachusetts final in lacrosse?
Babcock: This is my second year playing, so it's been pretty interesting. I decided to do it, because I wanted to push myself to be a three-sport athlete. I'm a defender, so I felt that was a huge factor. There were a lot of games I wanted to step up and guard the toughest person on the other team.
Eagle: You had a couple big battles with the county's leading scorer, Alie Mendel on Hoosac.
Babcock: She's a great athlete. It was pretty fun. I never take anything personally when I'm playing against someone. In that moment, it's that moment. It was tough. During practice two days before the playoff game, coach asked for volunteers to take her. I put my hand up. There were a couple that wanted to, but we had a team vote and it came down to me. We found a strategy for the game, and I found one to keep up with her.
Eagle: How's it been adjusting to the new school building at Mount Greylock?
Babcock: I like it. I'm a member of peer team, so we've been going over a lot of ways to improve the school. Putting art in, working with the YES club to maybe bring trees and flowers in to brighten it up a bit.
Eagle: What is Clarksburg like?
Babcock: Well, it's small. I've lived there my whole life. It's family to me. Some of my best friends live in Clarksburg.
Eagle: What would you tell a visitor that they have to do while there?
Babcock: Well, there's no restaurants. I love Natural Bridge. I walk my dog there every day. It's beautiful and I don't feel it gets enough recognition.
Eagle: What kind of dog do you have?
Babcock: She's a rescue we got 11 years ago. She's a handful, but I love her. The kennel found her in a wood pile with a bunch of other puppies. She's got some damage, but don't we all?
Eagle: What's your go-to spot for a postgame meal?
Babcock: I really like wings. I'm a big wing person.
Eagle: Who's got the best wings in Berkshire County?
Babcock: Old Forge, absolutely.
Eagle: What's your favorite Halloween costume?
Babcock: I was Katniss from the Hunger Games trilogy. I had a real bow with arrows on my back. I choose Katniss because I saw her as a strong female remodel.
Eagle: What's the best candy?
Babcock: Reese's, has to be.
Eagle: What is your pregame routine?
Babcock: I have a friend, Breanna Dowling, who is in net with me. She's been working hard, pushing me to get better. We have a contest before each game, kind of like hot potato, with our coach volleying to us. I put in ear buds with my friend Charlotte Sanford. Could be any music, starts slow and then gets more into the jams.
Eagle: Have you started looking toward the future after high school?
Babcock: I actually have PSATs tomorrow. I've been looking around a bit at a bunch of different schools. I hope to go into either law or medicine. I've been kind of weighing that with sports. If I do play, I have to pick one of my three sports. If not, though, I'd still like to go somewhere where sports are a big deal. I've grown up around it and it's been such a big part of my life.
Eagle: What are you taking now at Greylock that you like?
Babcock: My favorite right now is English. It might sound weird, but I like writing papers. I've been into my math class this year too with Mr. Thistle. He's a basketball coach, so we relate on a bunch of levels.
Eagle: How is the girls basketball team looking?
Babcock: I think we're going to be good. I'm really excited for the year.
Eagle: What is something you splurge on?
Babcock: Recently it's been shoes. But I've kind of been spending a lot of money on sports equipment. New goalie gloves, but I have at least a dozen Converse sneakers. Different colors, different high and low tops.
This interview was conducted, edited and condensed by Mike Walsh. Reach Mike at email@example.com.
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