Allie Hunt: The Best of a Rare Breed

PITTSFIELD — There are a few things Allie Hunt has never done as a student-athlete.

Pittsfield High School’s star has never played a junior varsity game, in any of her three chosen sports. Nor has she ever missed out on qualifying for the postseason tournament. However, entering her final season as a high school athlete, the one thing she has never done that stands out most is win a Western Mass title.

Since Day 1 of her freshman year, Hunt has been playing varsity athletics for the Generals. She made the top club in soccer, basketball and softball during the 2012-13 school year and followed that with 11 consecutive postseason appearances. In those tournaments her teams are 15-11 with four additional byes. Hunt has played in five Western Mass title games (two soccer, two basketball and one softball).

Her teams’ overall regular season record entering this final softball season stands at 153-47-7, a winning percentage of .756. Regardless of sport, if Hunt is on your squad entering a season, you are winning three-quarters of your games. That is something that became a reality over the last four years for three coaches at Pittsfield High.

Next year, it will become a reality for Coach Amber Maisonet of RPI Softball. Hunt will study engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute after graduation, but before that there is still one more goal to attain.

“It is driving me crazy. I think that is five, with the basketball, five championships I’ve played in and we’ve come so close, only to lose in the very end,” said Hunt after a preseason softball practice. “It is bugging me to just get that one. Last year we were down by one with a player on third. We had so many opportunities that we could’ve scored, but Agawam always made that catch or play, it was a bummer.”

Pittsfield Softball finished runner-up to the title a year ago, falling 2-1 to Agawam in the 2015 Division I Western Mass title game. It was another in a line of near-misses for Hunt’s teams. Her freshman and sophomore soccer seasons ended in the title game against Minnechaug, by PKs once and then by 1-0 defeat.

Joe Racicot’s PHS Basketball team has played in the Division II title game each of the last two seasons as well.

As PHS Soccer Coach Andy Waluszko says, Hunt is a rare breed in today’s sports landscape where specialization and prep school athletics are such a large and growing theme. Hunt has starred in three varsity sports for four years at a public high school.

“I always loved all the sports, and played baseball before. I liked having the break where you switch sports and not get tired of one,” said Hunt. “I always did the AAU and travel teams, and I think was on five teams at one point one summer.”

“I’m thinking back and in my 20 years coaching, I can’t remember someone having done what she has. She’s a rare breed nowadays,” said Waluszko, who first knew Allie as a ball-girl for the teams her older sisters (Rachel and Lindsay) played on. “She played goalie for me for four years and never missed a game.”

Waluszko remembered several occasions when Hunt stepped up to the proverbial plate for his teams and stoned some very talented players like Lenox and Providence College’s Alessandra Arace, or the time a few years back when the Generals knocked off heavily favored Belchertown in a heated tournament game.

“As a Berkshire County player, she has been doing this at the top-level, as well,” said Waluszko. “We play in Division I, so does softball and basketball plays a Division I schedule, despite being in the Division II tournament.”

Waluszko’s greater point is that this wasn’t a freshman making a rebuilding team at a school that is struggling to field enough players to maintain a varsity schedule. These were and continue to be high-level winning programs.

“Allie is just different than everyone else,” added Greg Marchbanks, the PHS Softball coach. “She wants to be the last one to get the ball every practice. I’ll yell ‘who wants it,’ sand she is going to be the loudest one. That is just the way she is, but off the field she is probably the quietest kid we have.”

Hunt was the first student-athlete interviewed for a story in The Berkshire Courier, following a Pittsfield Girls Soccer 4-1 win over Taconic on a Thursday night in the fall of 2013. The young sophomore prefaced the interview with, “I’m terrible at these things.”

Over the course of four years and countless teams and games, Hunt has expressed herself through athletics and grown into a leader in all three sports, while never seeming to sacrifice one for another. She has also never let her various athletic requirements subtract from her academic pursuits, which ultimately led her to the engineering program at RPI.

“I always loved math and sciences, they came easily to me. English was so technical and history was so much memorization,” said Hunt, who is taking BC calculus and AP statistics as a senior. “With math there are so many ways to go about getting the answer.”

“I’ll tell you what, Allie is a softball player, but not once has she looked forward to that,” said Racicot after the Generals Western Mass finals appearance last month. “She’s just the kind of kid that gives 100 percent and just keeps working.”

Hunt, who enjoys baking in what free time she finds, does think there is a some correlation between the sports she has played, namely with quickness and the ability to get up after being knocked down, both figuratively and literally for a player who spends quite a bit of time getting dirty.

“Goalie is a lot of diving and getting up real quick and sprinting out. Basketball is the quick game, and then the range for softball and always sprinting and getting up real quick, I tend to be on the ground a lot,” said Hunt. 

Ever since she made the switch from baseball to softball, though, that has been the sport she showed an interest in pursuing beyond the high school level. After playing baseball up until she was 13, even putting soccer on the back-burner for a few falls prior, Hunt made the change that would help make PHS a dangerous team on the diamond for years to come.

“I love softball, every time I step on the diamond all my worries go away,” said Hunt. “With soccer and basketball I feel like it is more stressful, while softball is more laid back.”

Pittsfield is loaded enough to make another deep run into the postseason, and with Hunt at short, the chances are good that they will get one more shot to get her where she wants so badly to go.

“This is it,” said Hunt, before reminiscing a bit. “I still look back to playing soccer with my sister who was a senior my freshman year and it feels like it was yesterday. It is strange that this is it.”

The one question that remains: When will be the last time Hunt pulls on a purple and black jersey or hears her name hollered from the hometown crowd. 

You know it by now. Three times in succession: “Allie, Allie, Allie, Hunt, Hunt, Hunt.”