Winter has -- prematurely -- arrived back home in the Berkshires, but for at least two county alumni, their fall seasons are continuing.
Wake Forest senior Jake Benzinger of Williamstown and Central Florida junior Jake Hescock of Pittsfield each has helped his college football team qualify for a bowl game.
Hescock, a former Taconic High student-athlete who finished his secondary education at Connecticut's Salisbury School, is a junior at UCF.
This fall, the tight end has nine catches for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The UCF Knights are 9-3 and carry a two-game winning streak into the post-season.
Benzinger and the Demon Deacons dropped a heartbreaker in central New York on Saturday when they fell to Syracuse in their regular season finale. But Wake Forest already was bowl eligible, finishing at 8-4 and 4-4 in the ACC.
Three of Wake's four conference wins came against in-state rivals North Carolina, N.C. State and Duke to give the team its first "Big Four" Championship since 2007 for sixth-year coach Dave Clawson, a 1989 graduate of Williams College.
Benzinger, a Mount Greylock graduate and Wake Forest senior, is a starting right tackle for the Deacons, who have rushed for more than 2,100 yards and allowed just 19 sacks in 12 games.
While Benzinger and Hescock continue their careers in major college football, a number of other county grads are making their marks in other divisions.
None were bigger than Pittsfield High graduate Chad Shade, who wrapped up a stellar career at Springfield College last month.
Shade overcame an injury-plagued career to play in all 10 games for the Pride (6-4) this fall. He threw for 456 yards, ran for 771 and accounted for 15 touchdowns -- seven throwing and eight rushing, registering career highs in all those categories.
At the other end of the commonwealth, Hoosac Valley graduate Adam Bush and Wahconah grad Dane Campbell helped the Massachusetts Maritime Academy go 6-4 this fall.
Bush a sophomore defensive lineman, had six tackles, including one tackle for a loss and one stop in the Bucs' season-ending five-point loss to rival Bridgewater State in the Cranberry Bowl.
Campbell, a sophomore wide receiver, caught 11 passes for 81 yards, including one for a season long of 21 yards.
One of Mass Maritime's MASCAC rivals, Westfield State, featured one of Campbell's former Wahconah teammates, Evan Garvey, who wrapped up his senior season with 28 catches for a 367 yards and three TDs for the 2-8 Owls. Garvey also returned eight kickoffs for 143 yards this fall, giving him 1,357 kick return yards over his four-year career.
This fall, he was joined at Westfield by Pittsfield High graduate D'Andre Johnson, who was a backup freshman quarterback for the Owls.
A trio of Berkshire County alumni helped Endicott College's football team go 9-2 this fall.
Taconic graduate Anthony Whiteley had 105 carries for 500 yards and five touchdowns. His best game of the season came on Oct. 19, when he ran for 75 yards and a pair of TDs in a win over Curry College; the junior running back also had an 85-yard rushing day in a win over the University of New England.
Endicott junior receiver Will Genaway (Wahconah) ended the season with a streak of three straight games with a receiving touchdown for the Gulls. He caught 19 passes this fall for 218 yards and five TDs. He also was joined this fall by his brother, freshman Robert Genaway, a backup defensive lineman for Endictott.
Lenox Memorial graduate Matt Heppleston, who played for the coop with Lee, wrapped up his playing career at Minnesota's Macalester College, which went 4-6 this fall. The senior defensive lineman made 24 tackles, including two tackles for a loss.
St. Lawrence University sophomore Sean McCormack (Mount Greylock) had 13 catches for 138 yards this fall for the Saints, who went 5-5 with wins in their last two games.
On the soccer pitch this fall, Hoosac Valley graduate Carah Cote started all but one game for the 9-11 Salve Regina College women's soccer team. Cote finished the year second on the team in goals (seven) and points (16) and was named third team all-Commonwealth Coast Conference.
Sophmore Shannon Finnegan (Lee) and freshman Nicole Gamberoni (Lenox) helped the American International College women go 8-9-3 after a 1-0 loss in their conference tournament semi-finals this fall. Gamberoni scored a pair of goals and finished second on the team with nine points. Finnegan appeared in 10 games and had two assists in a 3-0 win over St. Michael's College in October.
Wahconah graduates Gianna Moncecchi and Ashley Zink started all 18 games in the back for Westfield State this fall, helping the Owls finish 11-6-1 after a double overtime loss in the MASCAC semi-finals. Moncecchi, a senior picked up her second career assist on the Owls' goal in a 1-1 tie against the University of New England.
Williams College junior and Pittsfield High graduate Ilana Albert appeared in four games this fall for an Ephs team that finished one win away from another trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four. Albert, a midfielder, came off the bench to register four shots -- two on goal -- for the 2018 national champions.
Roger Williams senior Ericca Broderick (Monument Mountain) helped the Hawks go 13-8-1 with a one-goal loss in the Commonwealth Conference tourney this fall. Broderick appeared in 12 games with three starts and scored three goals, including the game-winner and one other goal in a win over Norwich back in September.
At Mitchell College, Monument Mountain alumna Masho McAlister started all 16 games as a sophomore back. McAlister recorded three shots on goal for the Mariners, who finished 4-12.
Yet another former Spartan, Crista Cardillo, started 16 games and played in all 23 in the back for Mary Washington this fall, helping the Eagles go 12-11, win the Capital Athletic Conference tournament and reach the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Elmira College junior Lily Kronick (Hoosac Valley) appeared in 14 games with four starts for the 2-14 Eagles.
Ella Dudley (Mount Greylock) appeared in two games this fall for Bowdoin (7-8-1). The freshman midfielder picked up her first career goal and first career assist in a win over Maine-Farmington.
Hoosac Valley graduate Megan Richardson capped her collegiate career by winning a second straight Defensive Player of the Year award in the MASCAC. The MCLA senior keeper led the league with 186 saves while compiling a .816 save percentage. Among her MCLA teammates this fall were Claudia Bresett (Hoosac Valley) Sophie Elser (Pittsfield) and Miranda Wissman (Drury).
Hamilton College sophomore Sam Dils (Mount Greylock) helped the Continentals go 6-8-2 this fall. The forward appeared in all 16 games, starting eight, and had a goal and an assist.
One of Hamilton's losses came in overtime at Williams, where two of Dils' former Mount Greylock teammates helped the Ephs go 8-4-5. Sophomore midfielder Brady Foehl started six games and appeared in 14 for Williams. Freshman Luke Swann came off the bench in four games.
MCLA freshman Sam Edge (Mount Greylock) stepped into the goal this year and stopped 89 shots in 16 games for the Trailblazers. Junior Colin Rousseau (Hoosac Valley) started 16 of 17 games for MCLA, scoring a pair of goals.
Macalester golfer Tenley Smith (Mount Greylock) played in five events this fall, finishing the season with a tie for 13th place out of 51 finishers at the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships.
AIC sophomore Michael Kays helped the Yellow Jackets place seventh out of 22 teams at the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Championship in late October. The Taconic High grad started the two-day event with a 77, the lowest score recorded by an AIC golfer at the season-ender.
Drury graduate Nick Bator wrapped up his senior fall campaign on the links for MCLA with a 12th place finish at the MASCAC Championships. He was joined on the Trailblazers this year by freshman and Hoosac Valley graduate Noah Matrigali.
Monument Mountain alumnus Weyessa "Ace" McAlister finished his stellar cross country career at Connecticut's Trinity College at the NCAA Division III Championships, where he was in the top 70 runners over the first 3,000 meters of the 8K race when another runner stepped on his shoe. He finished running in just one shoe and still placed 185th, ahead of 100 other runners.
"Ace came ready to run fast and unfortunately he was just unlucky today," Trinity coach George Suitor said. "I know he is frustrated because I think he was on pace to be an All-American. This does nothing to diminish what a great career he has had, but sometimes bad things just happen. He finished strong under tough circumstances in the slippery mud with just one shoe. I didn't even realize he had lost it until another coach walked up and handed it to me."
Salve Regina junior Kat Bruce (Wahconah) ran the second-fastest 6K time of her career in scoring for the Seahawks at the NCAA Division III New England Regional. Bruce finished in 25 minutes, 30.7 seconds in her first regional. Salve Regina placed 27th in a 54-team at Bowdoin.
Westfield State placed 18th at the New England regional, where Monument Mountain alumna and Owls freshman Grace Phair finished 41st in 22:37.
Lenox grad Emma Jourdain, a junior at Maine, finished 47th at the America East Championships to help the Black Bears place eighth as a team.
Three local alumnae helped lead the MCLA volleyball team to a 19-11 record and a run to the MASCAC semifinals. Lee's Ahna Schlaefer was third on the team with 158 kills. Wahconah grads Kelsey LaFreniere and Laiken Cornwell-L'Hote finished with 101 and 43 kills, respectively.
Anna Maria College senior Hannah Mitchell (Taconic) sophomore Taylor Hoffstedt (Mount Greylock) had 59 and 53 kills, respectively, to help their team finish 2-22 this fall.
Pittsfield's Mikala L'Hote, who attended Miss Hall's School, led Bard College with 217 kills and 29 blocks this fall. The junior helped Bard go 9-19.
Bay Path University freshman Delaney Ivas (Taconic) recorded 68 kills to help the Wildcats go 4-15 this fall.
If you know a Berkshire County high school alum who should be included in a future edition of College Collage, email email@example.com.
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