REMSEN — In a packed Remsen Junior/Senior High School cafeteria, members of the school and community gathered at 5 a.m. today to watch hometown girl, Erin Hamlin complete her first and second runs of the Pyeongchang Olympic Games.
“This is huge,” Remsen principal Dale Turner said. “Erin’s mom is our nurse here at the school and Erin’s aunt is my secretary, so we’re very connected with Erin. She’s here all the time with us.”
Hamlin was the first woman to take the course today and she completed her first run in 46.357 seconds, putting her in sixth place. After she went down the track for her second run, she finished in fifth place for the day with a combined time of 1:32.690.
Hamlin is just 0.045 seconds out of third place heading into Day 2, when two more runs will wrap up the competiton, and less than a quarter of a second behind leader Natalie Geisenberger of Germany.
Tuesday’s event resumes at 5:30 a.m. EST.
“I’m impressed with how many people came out this morning, even though it was early to cheer her on. This is just a tight-knit community,” Turner said.
People from community members, to students and faculty members gathered in the cafeteria, waving American flags, ringing cowbells and cheering for Hamlin as she went down the course.
No one stood out more than Remsen math teacher MaryJane Chambers. Chambers, dressed in the red, white and blue from head to toe, explained how Hamlin represents Remsen and the American way as a whole.
“Erin’s family is amazing, Erin herself is amazing,” Chambers said. “She (Erin) has always stayed grounded and she’s true to who she is.
“The community, the county and the Adirondack region, everything about Erin, this is home. This is where her heart and soul is. This comes first, unless she’s on the ice, then I think she goes into her zone and has her own tunnel vision. The community has been behind her since she was 12 years of age.”
Remsen student JennaLynn Roberts said that the watch party really brings the students and the community all together. “We all made posters during the last week at school and we’ve all be researching good times for luge and the track.” Roberts said that she has met Hamlin and that she personally shows it off by showing the pictures she has taken with her.
“When I was in seventh grade when she raced, we all watched her and it was really exciting,” Roberts said. “I think that she (Hamlin) represents the USA well and when she held the flag for us, which is a big deal for the country, not just Remsen.”
“Everybody is just proud,” Chambers said. “From being the flag bearer, she’s just a marvelous representative of everything that’s American, everything that’s New York State and everything that’s Central New York.”