A future Olympian’s hometown in northern Vermont is buzzing with excitement following her record-breaking qualifying race Monday night.
Montgomery is the home of Elle Purrier St. Pierre, who broke a U.S. Track record that had stood for more than three decades.
“Exciting times here in town,” said John Kuryloski, a resident of the town of just about 1,200 near the Canadian border.
Purrier St. Pierre overcame some early shoving in the 1,500 meter final to open up a big lead and cruise home for the win — qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo.
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
“It’s just really surreal,” she said in a video shared by Team USA Monday night on Twitter. “I feel like it it really hasn’t set in. I’ve been dreaming of this moment for so long and it’s really emotional — and I’m just so happy.”
Purrier St. Pierre grew up on her family’s dairy farm.
“I’ve told people this is my new claim to fame — I live next door to her parents,” Kuryloski told NECN and NBC10 Boston, adding that all of Franklin County seems exuberant over Purrier St. Pierre’s success.
Fellow farmer and longtime family friend Mark Brouillette, who also serves on the Montgomery Select Board, said he suspected Elle had Olympic potential. He saw something in her when she was just a kid and he was helping her dad haying the fields.
“We needed something from the house which was quite a ways away, like a half a mile away, and she disappeared,” Brouillette recalled. “In a few minutes, she was back and I was like, ‘You went down to the house that fast?’ And her father said, “Oh yeah, she’s real fast!’”
Brouillette observed that the local enthusiasm for the future Olympian makes it feels as if Purrier St. Pierre has put Montgomery on the map.
The athlete, who graduated from Richford High School and the University of New Hampshire, has credited her success on the track in large part to the work ethic she developed on the farm.
“My congratulations to her and her family — very proud,” Gov. Phil Scott said.
He had told reporters Tuesday he was watching the race the night before. “I can't think of a better person to represent us.”
Apparently, dairy farming is even a part of Purrier St. Pierre’s training. Members of the Franklin County farming community boast that the runner’s favorite way to recover from a tough workout is with chocolate milk.