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December 27, 2012

Small-townies grew up to do big things

In 2012, there has been a handful of people who grew up in the local area who have really strived. Some of them were even able to make it back to their childhood neighborhoods to share their journey.

Triathlete Sarah Groff visited Cooperstown in November to share her dream of making it to the Olympics. She just missed the podium at the London Games. Her message: “Yes, even small-town kids can achieve whatever they set their minds to.”

Groff said it does not take a child prodigy to be really good at something. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and determination no matter what goal one is trying to achieve, she said.

“What I want you to realize is, if you set your sights on something, and you may have to sacrifice a little bit along the way, I definitely did, you can achieve your dreams,” she told students at Cooperstown Central School.

Becoming an Olympian was not a childhood dream for Groff, she said. She said it was something she started reaching for along the way.

According to Groff, her dream was to just get to the Olympics. “I was able to achieve that and more,” she said.

It is not the destination but the journey, according to Groff, who finished fourth in London — just 12 seconds away from the gold medal. She said her journey really began in Cooperstown where she participated in different things, but was never “outstanding” at any one particular thing. She did break a record for swimming the length of Otsego Lake at the age of 13, however.

Groff, who lives in Hanover, N.H., attended Cooperstown Central School through her sophomore year and competed in cross country, swimming and track in high school. She also sang in the choir, played French horn and enjoyed science. Groff finished school at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. She went to Middlebury College in Vermont, where she was a Division III All-American in the freestyle. She double-majored in conservation biology and studio art.

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