ROCHESTER (KDKA) — Excitement at Rochester High and Middle School came through Tuesday afternoon as students watched the women’s Olympic bobsled run on a big screen.
Former student Lauryn Williams was going for gold in the two-man bobsled.
Teachers like Terry Timpano remember her fondly. The teacher’s daughter graduated with her in 2001.
Teacher’s aide Yvonne Horton’s grandson was a classmate and a friend.
“That’s why I’m wearing her shirt today,” the grandmother says. “I’ve had it for several years. But this is the first time I’ve worn it… because she autographed it. And I didn’t want to mess it up.”
Seventh grader Kadin Mersing is Lauryn’s godson.
I’m nervous,” he says. “I’m praying because Lauryn has a gift from God that she’s using to the best of her abilities.”
Lauryn’s former track coach, Aime Siok, recalls the state meet in 2001 when she came from far behind to lead her relay team to victory.
“The fact that she truly ran her hardest race and her fastest time for the team,” Siok says, “that just focused on her as student athlete, and it’s a testament to her character now.”
Current track coach Devan Parise was Lauryn’s teammate.
When she heard that the Olympic medalist in track and field was taking up the bobsled, she said, “She sent me a text later. It was a case like, ‘in case you didn’t know,’ with a picture of her in the bobsled. I said, ‘What is this?’ So, it was very cool and I’m very excited for her.”
But positive energy isn’t enough. The Canadian team eked out a win. Lauryn gets silver, but still makes history.
“She’s the first American woman to medal in the winter and summer Olympics,” announced teacher Mark Zappone.
And that is something to cheer about.