Created on Thursday, 10 January 2008 09:22
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 January 2008 09:22
By Logan Cooke, HU sports correspondent
I often hear people whine, "No famous athletes ever come from VT!"
Well, a local Nordic racer shushed such comments this New Year's.
Caitlin Compton, who grew up in Warren, is a racer many people at Harwood know. Not as a skier but as a hard-working, friendly student. She made quite an impression on the people I talked to about her, but now she has given even more reasons for her to be a familiar name at Harwood. Caitlin won the Senior National Nordic Championship on New Year's Day.
Not only did she win, she "wiped the floor" with the competition, beating the second-place athlete by 25 seconds. Caitlin beat second-place racer Elizabeth Stephen (also a Vermont native) as well as the rest of the 191-racer field in one of the most commanding victories seen in a long time. Another interesting fact about her victory was that she was the only person in the top 20 to graduate from a public high school.
When I spoke with Caitlin about her victory, she attributed The Valley and the Harwood Nordic program to her success. "Harwood was really where my cross-country career started because I knew (coach) John Kerrigan. I really owe my beginning to him."
She also told me, "The Mad River Valley is probably the best place I could have started my Nordic career. Trail running, road biking and hiking are all world class and rollerskiing up the App. Gap is still my favorite workout! The sheer number of high-caliber athletes from a variety of sports makes everyday training in The Valley exciting."
When I asked Coach John Kerrigan what he thought of Compton he had a lot to say.
"Caitlin is a prime example of someone who has made the most of every opportunity given to her" said Kerrigan, the longtime Nordic coach and cross country running coach.
"She is truly loyal to all of Harwood athletics. She is always the first person to show her appreciation and congratulations to all of us with her emails, letters and frequent visits. She is arguably the best athlete to ever come out of Harwood," he said.
It got better for Compton; after her victory she participated in a 10k "classic" style race, where she took fifth. She then took fourth in the freestyle sprint competition. Overall, she is probably one of the top Nordic skiers in the nation. Nevertheless, she never fails to stay true to her roots.