June 17, 2021
Every year (pandemic years excepted), Thetford Academy hosts both the Woods Trail Invitational Cross-Country meet (during which about 1,500 high school runners from all six New England states, New York and New Jersey converge on our little town) and the Vermont state high school cross-country championships. In the 30 or so years that I have coached and/or volunteered at these meets, I have seen a lot of seriously good runners at these meets.
About 10 years ago, I happened to notice a runner from a tiny town in northern Vermont near the Canadian border who was simply destroying the competition in both events, year after year. I remember thinking that she could be pretty good.
I was right.
In case you don’t follow world-class track, I suggest that you familiarize yourself with Elle Purrier St. Pierre, from the town of Montgomery, Vermont (population:1,201, with six covered bridges). Purrier St. Pierre, who didn’t began running competitively until she was a high school 9th-grader, is the current U.S. record holder in both the indoor mile and the outdoor 2-mile. According to this article in the New York Times, when she was in high school, she would milk 40 cows on the family farm before heading off to school. She and her now-husband drove a tractor to the senior prom. One of her sponsors is the Vermont creamery cooperative Cabot Cheese.
Purrier St. Pierre will be competing at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon this weekend for a shot at making the team in the 1,500-meter race. If she were to return from Toyko with a medal, I believe she would be the first Vermonter ever to win a medal at a Summer Olympics.
And what better to pair a hunk of Vermont cheddar with than a gold medal?