BENNINGTON -- For the 2014 Bennington Banner Athlete of the Year, presented by Casella Resource Solutions, it didn't matter what season it was or the type of ball used.
Whether it was a soccer ball, a basketball or a softball, our top athlete was at the top of her game using all three.
That's why Mount Anthony Union High School senior Kate Goodell is our Athlete of the Year for 2014.
Goodell was on all three first-teams for the All-Banner, including Player of the Year in basketball and softball, along with all-Marble Valley League first-team honors.
In soccer, she was injured for part of the season, but came back strong with seven goals and two assists to lead the Patriots in the playoffs and to an upset of BFA-St.
BBA coach Dan DeForest described her in the fall as a "blue-collar goal scorer", while her coach, Mark Boudreau, said that "she was able to draw people away and open things up for everyone else. She is one of the toughest players I've ever coached. She is all out, all the time."
Trading in her soccer cleats for basketball sneakers was a seamless transition for Goodell into the winter.
In 22 games, Goodell was third on the team in scoring, but first in many other categories, including rebounds, blocked shots, assists and field goal percentage, making 52 percent of her shots.
At the same time, Goodell, a first-team Marble Valley League all-star, was forced to move around to different positions on the court to take advantage of her skill, a task she took on with no complaints.
"About a third of the way through the season, I asked everyone to write down what they liked and didn't like about the way things were going," said MAU girls basketball coach Brian Harrington after the season in March. "Kate handed me a blank piece of paper. I was confused, but she said, ‘We're winning ball games, we have to continue what we're doing.'"
Goodell and the Patriots made it all the way to the Vermont Division I state semifinals, the best run for MAU since back-to-back state championships in 2006-7 and 2007-8.
"No doubt she was the leader on the floor and in the locker room," Harrington said. "The younger kids would seek her out for advice and she was real positive to them. She's a leader by example."
In March, Goodell made yet another transition -- this time leaving the Kates Gym court for the softball diamond.
Quite arguably her best sports season of the year, Goodell led the Patriots to an program-tying best 18-2 record and capped off the year with Mount Anthony's first softball title in a quarter-century. In the last two seasons, MAU softball is 33-5.
Statistically, Goodell had an eye-popping 2014. Out of the leadoff spot, she was 39-for-76, a .513 average, with 28 singles, seven doubles, two triples and a pair of home runs. She drove in 14 runs, led the team with 30 runs in 20 games and had an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of 1.268.
And the most impressive part of her season at the plate? She didn't strike out once.
"It's tough to be the first one up, but she was fearless and calm at the plate," said MAU softball coach Katie Contrada last month. "Hitting is mental and contagious, so having her hit the ball -- even if she made an out -- gave the others the confidence that they could do it too."
Goodell also was one of the better defenders in the state, making routine plays with ease and hard plays look easy - something that for many softball players isn't the easiest task.
"She makes plays in the hole that others don't get," Contrada said. "Physically, she's tall and can jump and catch liners and she has a great arm to throw guys out at first."
In all three sports, Goodell had moments that changed the game. For example, she scored the winning goal against BFA in the soccer playoffs. In January, Goodell drove the ball the length of the court against Fair Haven, beating the buzzer on a layup and keeping a lengthy win streak alive.
In softball, she delivered timely hit after timely hit as the Patriots started the season on an 11-game win streak.
Goodell's next stop will be about 40 minutes from Bennington, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.
"It comes down to the leadership," Contrada said. "[Seniors] are irreplaceable, but it's great to see them grow up and become successful. They are smart kids that make smart decisions, it's the whole package."