Over the past four years, Sarah Bell has gone on a journey that has taken her from Fox Chapel to Plymouth, N.H., and next year, to Providence, R.I.
A senior at Holderness School, a coeducational college prep boarding school in central New Hampshire, Bell has committed to play lacrosse at Brown University, selecting the Bears over offers from Harvard, Penn and Dartmouth, Boston and Middlebury, among others.
"[Brown has] a friendly atmosphere and it's a place I can challenge myself athletically and academically," Bell said.
"... their lacrosse team is on the up-and-up. It's a close-knit group and I get along very well with the coach. [Brown coach Keely McDonald] is awesome. It's exciting."
It's the next chapter in a long journey from the Pittsburgh area.
Bell grew up in Fox Chapel and attended Shady Side Academy her freshman season. But, in addition to playing lacrosse and soccer, she was a competitive skier. So each winter, she traveled to New England to compete.
To better her skiing situation, she decided that for her sophomore year, she wanted to go to Holderness, where skiing is a school-sponsored winter sport.
But it wasn't easy leaving her family behind.
"It was extremely difficult," Bell said. "But it was best for me if I wanted to ski throughout high school.
"My parents visit when they can and I talk to them often."
While skiing played a big role in Bell's decision to leave home, Bell, a 5-foot-10 center midfielder, said she chose lacrosse, which she has played since the fifth grade, because it has long been her favorite sport.
In addition to being a three-sport athlete, Bell has done well in the classroom and was chosen by the students and faculty of Holderness, a coeducational boarding college prep school, as a floor leader of a dormitory at the boarding school.
"Sarah is a solid academic student and a wonderful person as well," said Holderness athletic director Lance Galvin. "We have been fortunate to have such a high-caliber student-athlete play for us, and we wish her great success at the next level with the Brown Bears."