LIVING THE DREAM: Somerset athlete turning heads and keeping stats

Ashley Thompson athompson@hantsjournal.ca
Published on October 21, 2016

SOMERSET - To say Cole Whiston lives and breathes sports is hardly an understatement.

The 16-year-old Somerset resident is an athlete, official and commentator in the local sports scene.

If he somehow scores downtime between baseball, hockey and class work at Central Kings Rural High School, Whiston is likely watching sports or brushing up on fantasy league stats.

“I’m into stats,” he says. “I want to be a sports broadcaster.”

Whiston periodically works alongside Fast Hockey play-by-play announcer Matt Little to provide colour commentary for Junior A Wildcats hockey games. The Grade 11 student is hoping the experience will eventually help him secure a spot in the Toronto-based Ryerson University’s sport media program.

“I could just keep following sports and that’s mainly what I do - watch sports,” he says.

Whiston, a trained hockey ref and baseball umpire, stepped back from hockey this year to focus on his ball game. His primary goal is to make the roster for Team Nova Scotia’s U17 squad that will head to the Canada Games. In the long run, he wants to represent Ryerson in the ball diamond.

“I really enjoy ball. It just seems like whenever I’m on the field I don’t need to worry about anything else,” he says, noting that he’s played since his dad got him into the sport at four years old.

“I could play baseball 24 hours a day.”

A rep league player with a penchant for fielding, Whiston focused on improving his batting game in the summer and the following school season with the Central Kings Gators.

The team enjoyed several winning streaks, won regionals and returned home from provincials with silver medals after emerging from a nail-biter semifinal match against the Cobequid Education Centre as the victorious underdogs.

“We play seven innings and this game went to ten innings because it was tied,” says Whiston.

Central Kings coach David Bell says the team as a whole worked hard to get results at provincials, and Whiston was a key player for the Gators throughout the season.

“He stays pretty cool. He doesn’t get rattled on the mound,” says Bell.

“He’s a versatile player. We play him infield, outfield and pitching.”

Bell says Whiston is calm under pressure and undeterred by early deficits.

“He’s a competitor and he obviously wants to win,” says Bell. “He knows his role and he respects the coaches.”

Whiston keeps his own stats to identify areas where there’s room for improvement. He treats every game as if it’s an elimination match.

“If I’m in an exhibition game and there’s a ball that I can get to or I have to dive for it to catch it, I’m going to dive for it whether it’s an exhibition game, or it’s at practice, or it’s a championship game,” he says.

“I could play baseball 24 hours a day.”