What Grace Kelly is doing on the turf with the Garden City field hockey team may appear effortless and, well…graceful.
With a mixture of determination and ambition, the senior forward debuted last season and is now claiming the title of leading scorer on the Trojans and in Nassau. The feat has earned Kelly Newsday’s Athlete of the Week honors.
“I’m pretty proud of myself,” Kelly said. “This being my second year…I couldn’t have imagined it. I’ve never been the best athlete in my grade. There is always someone better than you. But I couldn’t have done this without my team. Their accomplishments are my accomplishments and my accomplishments are theirs.”
Kelly’s achievements include scoring 19 goals this season, leading Nassau and tying for second place on Long Island. In turn, her triumphs have helped the Trojans ride on an undefeated path hopefully all the way to the state championship.
Kelly’s love for field hockey developed after attending a camp in seventh grade.
“I thought it was hard,” Kelly said. “I didn’t understand how to stop the ball from touching my feet. I was amazed at the way people would dribble down the field especially at such a high level of skill. After that, I always wanted to work toward that level.”
But as Kelly said, the road wasn’t smooth.
Kelly tried out for varsity but didn’t make it her first two years. But as the cliché goes; hard work beats talent.
Last year, Kelly tried out for varsity and earned a starting position.
“Grace is always in the right spot at the right time,” coach Diane Chapman said. “She’s got a great eye, good hand-eye coordination and she can make the shot. She comes out and works hard every day. Her love and passion for field hockey shows.”
That passion has also turned Kelly into one of the role models on the team, according to Chapman.
But Kelly isn’t keen on being called a leader. She’s happy shining the spotlight on all the Trojans and that light is burning bright.
Garden City is the only undefeated team in Nassau. In their 14 games, the Trojans have scored 69 goals. and allowed only six. Led by Kelly, the Trojans are looking to add their fourth county and Long Island championship in Class B.??
After losing in the regional round to Lakeland, the 9-time state champion Trojans came back to Long Island ready for the next chance.
With the playoffs starting next week, they’ll begin on the path with Kelly at the helm.
“I wish I had more time with this team,” Kelly said. “I had the best two years and I’ll always have those memories. Especially winning counties and the LICs. Plenty of people never get to do it. I’m lucky enough to get the opportunity to be in these games and we have more left. We’ll bring home a win this year.”