---- — Former Cooperstown Central School student and athlete Sarah Groff visited Cooperstown in November to share her dream of making it to the Olympics. She had just missed the podium at the London Games.
On Saturday, the triathlete achieved better results — she earned the women’s victory to lead the United States at the Clermont (Fla.) ITU Sprint Triathlon Pan American Cup at Lake Louisa State Park. Groff, who lives in Hanover, N.H., recorded a time of 1 hour, 17 seconds on the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course to earn her third career ITU Pan American Cup win. Olympian Helle Frederiksen of Denmark was second in 1:00:23, while Kaitlin Donner of Gainesville, Fla., rounded out the women’s podium in 1:00:31.
Way to go! This came just less than a week after finishing second at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco. She was right: “Yes, even small-town kids can achieve whatever they set their minds to.”
She is a prime example with a great attitude to share.
When in Cooperstown, Groff said it does not take a child prodigy to be really good at something, but instead takes a lot of hard work, patience and determination — no matter what goal one is trying to achieve.
“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 CCS students.
Her dream was to make it to the Olympics. She certainly surpassed those expectations placing fourth in London, just 12 seconds away from the gold medal.
And even though she saw her dream come true, Groff is not done “shooting for the stars.” When in Cooperstown, she said she has four or five years to improve and become an even better triathlete and indicated she has her sights on another Olympic journey.
Good for her for setting new goals and pushing herself. And it looks like she is headed in the right direction. Groff is displaying strong early season form with her second podium finish.
In the Clermont ITU Pan American Cup, Groff was among a lead group of four, including American Sara McLarty (Clermont, Fla.), out of the water and rode with the leaders throughout the 20k bike. She posted the day’s fastest 5k split (17:43) en route to a six-second victory over Frederiksen.
We are rooting for the triathlete to meet her own high expectations of getting back to the Olympics and making it on the podium next time.