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Kali Puppolo is surrounded by her teammates at Herkimer College as she signs a National Letter of Intent to play softball at Manhattan College.

Hoosac Valley's Puppolo Joins DI Ranks

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Hoosac Valley High School graduate Kali Puppolo Saturday signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Manhattan College and play softball for the Division I Jaspers.
 
Puppolo is in her second year at Herkimer College in New York, where she pitched a team-best 113 innings for the Division III junior college powerhouse.
 
Puppolo 15-3-1 with a 2.29 ERA for the Generals, who advanced to the title game of the NJCAA DIII National Championship.
 
Manhattan went 28-25 last spring, advancing to the semi-finals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
 
There is a fair amount of local talent already competing at the Division I level this winter.
 
On the basketball court, Pittsfield's Bryce Daley, who left PHS to star at the Salisbury School in Connecticut, is having an impact as a freshman at UMass Lowell, where he is averaging nearly 19 minutes per game with 50 assists against 28 turnovers for the 11-9 River Hawks. Daley started Lowell's last three games -- each a win. And he scored six points with seven assists (no turnovers) in the Hawks' last outing, a three-point win over Hartford on Saturday.
 
On Friday, Feb. 2, Daley and the River Hawks host Bailey Patella (Lenox) and the University of Vermont Catamounts on a game scheduled to be telecast on ESPN3. Patella has appeared in 14 games for 15-4 UVM. He is averaging nine minutes and 2.4 points per game as a sophomore.
 
Mount Greylock graduate Jenna Benzinger has appeared in 11 games, averaging 7.6 minutes per night, at Division I Brown (9-8). She has 18 rebounds coming off the bench for the Bears, who are 1-0 in the Ivy League heading into Saturday's game at Yale.
 
Another Lenox graduate, Shannon Meisberger, left Georgetown for another DI power, the University of Arizona, who she represented this weekend at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the University of Iowa. She won the 400 meter dash in a meet record time of 56.32 seconds and placed second in the 600 in 1:33.01.
 
Connor Meehan (Drury) and the Xavier track and field team opened the indoor season at the Jim Green Invitational in Lexington, Ky. Meehan and the Musketeers' distance medley relay quartet placed fifth at the meet with a time of 10:17.65.
 
University of Maine sophomore Emma Jourdain won the 3,000 meters on Saturday to lead the Black Bears to a dual meet win. Jourdain covered the distance in 10 minutes, 59.83 seconds.
 
The Division II St. Anselm women's basketball team is 13-3, and Pittsfield High graduate Peyton Steinman is averaging 13.5 points and 3.6 assists while shooting 36 percent from 3-point range. Pittsfield resident Grace Guachione, who attended Miss Hall's School, is Steinman's sophomore classmate at the New Hampshire school, where Guachione also starts and is averaging 27 minutes and 8.3 points per game.
 
Meanwhile, some local former high school stars continue to turn heads at the Division III level.
 
Mount Greylock's Lucy Barrett has led the Westfield State women's basketball team to a 10-7 overall record and a 4-0 start in the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference. Barrett is averaging a team-best 20.3 points per game and shooting 44 percent from the field while playing 22 minutes per game.
 
She is joined this year at Westfield by Pittsfield graduate Bella Aitken, a freshman who has appaered in 15 games with one start and averaged 2.9 points per game this winter.
 
Barrett, Aitken and the Owls visit MCLA on Saturday afternoon.
 
Bowdoin freshman Anna Helmke (Monument Mountain/Berkshire School) has played 14 games, averaging 5.9 minutes and 2.6 points per game for the Polar Bears, who are off to a 17-0 start and ranked first in the nation. Bowdoin visits Williams on Feb. 2.
 
Mount Greylock graduate Lauren Howard, a freshman at Haverford College, is averaging 4.5 minutes per game in 10 appearances for the 11-4 Fords.
 
Kaitlyn Toomey (Drury) and the Castleton State College women's basketball team are 12-6. Toomey, a junior, has started 18 games and averaged 29.4 minutes per night. She has averaged 5.2 ppg and a team-best 9.2 rebounds per game.  
 
At Springfield College, Taconic graduate Deonte Sandifer, a sophomore, is averaging 26 minutes per game and has started 12 games for the Pride (6-11). Sandifer has 29 assists and 16 turnovers this winter.
 
Worcester Polytechnic senior Matt Rabasco (Taconic) ran a leg on his team's second-place 4-by-800 relay team at Saturday's Wheaton Invitational. WPI finished in 8 minutes, 34.70 seconds. As an individual Rabasco was third in the 5,000 at the season-opening Bowdoin Invitational earlier in the month.
 
Monument Mountain graduate Weyessa "Ace" McAlister, a junior at Trinity College, ran a time of 4:29.99 in the mile to place third and help the Bantams to first place out of 13 schools at last weekend's Smith Indoor Invitational in Northampton.
 
Mount Greylock graduate Elizabeth Bernardy and the Wheaton College women's swimming and diving team are 11-3 in dual meets this winter. Bernardy, a junior, posted her team's best time to date in the 50-yard breaststroke, touching in 32.17 seconds.
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Family Service Agency Prioritizes Berkshire County Families

HUNTINGTON, Mass. — To help relieve financial strain and to increase connection between families, the Village Closet will reserve appointments for Berkshire County families.
 
Village Closet, a donation and distribution center in Huntington, will reserve appointments just for Berkshire County families throughout the month of November.
 
"We wanted to make sure families in the Berkshire area knew that we were still committed to serving them," Lisa Goding, Program Director at It Takes a Village, the nonprofit organization that manages the Village Closet said.
 
Acording to a press release, families with young children often face serious economic challenges as well as social isolation from their community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these issues have only intensified, especially for families in the most rural parts of the region.
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