WILLIAMSTOWN -- Mount Greylock Nordic ski coach Hilary Greene recently recalled thinking in 2013 that freshman Grace Smith was going to be a good one.
"I saw that spark," said Greene. "And I thought she'd be good sooner or later. But I didn't think she'd be this good this soon."
"This good" is Smith's accomplishment as the top female high school Nordic skier in the county. And in the wake of that, she is the All-Eagle MVP of the girls team.
Smith, a sophomore, won four of the five county ski races this past winter. Her worst finish was second place in the third race of the season, when she was edged out by Josie Marshall of Lenox, last year's MVP.
Those performances translated into a county title for Greylock, as well as a second-place finish in the MIAA state meet.
Greene was quick to explain that it was by no means a one-person accomplishment.
"We lost six seniors last year," she said. "I didn't have a sense about how we would do."
But, Greene admitted, she was impressed by the amount of work her returnees were putting in. Most of them were involved in Greylock's off-season training program.
But Smith probably benefited the most, said Greene.
"There was some concern about her downhill skiing," said Greene. "But she worked extremely hard to overcome that."
This all, by the way, is not particularly surprising. Smith's mother is Brenda Smith, a member of the U.S. Winter Olympic team in 1992.
The former Brenda White skied in the 15-kilometer and 30-k events in Albertville, France.
Brenda Smith was one of the premiere Nordic skiers in the country in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1988, she won the NCAA women's Nordic championship while skiing for the University of Vermont.
It is thus probably no surprise to learn that the current county MVP began skiing with mom and her two sisters when she was three or four years old. Admittedly, it was just around the house, but the fact is, the seed was planted fairly early in Grace Smith's career.
Thus, Grace Smith may have been in the Mount Greylock ski program for the past few years, but she's been in the Brenda Smith skiing program for more than 10. And it has paid off.
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