June 3, 2011
Sprinter sets a fast pace
By Rick Weegman
Paige Stratioti had the fastest 100-, 200- and
400-meter times in the Section 7AA track and field preliminaries
Wednesday, but it’s perhaps the race she didn’t run
that might hold the most potential success.
The Duluth Central senior only ran the 800 once
this season, but her sub-2:20 time would have made her the No. 1
section seed in that event as well. It’s a primer for what
might come when Stratioti attends Division I North Dakota State
“I’m sure that’s coming,”
she said. “I will fully commit to that if that’s what
(the NDSU coaches) want me to do.”
Before looking ahead to the event her father,
Tim, calls “a whole ’nother lap of pain,” Stratioti
is concentrating on the sprints during Saturday’s section
finals in Grand Rapids.
She posted personal-bests in the 100 (12.69) and
200 (25.43) and ran away uncontested in the 400, an event her main
rival, Grand Rapids senior Lindsy Mattson, didn’t compete
in due to illness. Stratioti is ranked second in Minnesota in the
400, her favorite event and one of the most competitive despite
the loss of Mattson.
“I should be in the mix for the top eight
in the 200,” she said. “And I’m really confident
(in the 400), but whoever wins it down there deserves it just as
much as I would. It’s going to be one of the best races at
the state meet.”
Central coach Erik Hanson, who won two state titles
in the 100 and one in the 400 at Mesabi East and was a two-time
NCAA Division II All-American in the 400 at Minnesota Duluth, thinks
his star runner has a chance.
“She is a great competitor,” he said.
“Every time she goes out to race, she wants to win. That’s
a big key as a sprinter, to have that drive to win every time.
“She really wants to win that state championship,
and she’s on a great road to do that.”
The main reason has been Stratioti’s offseason
workouts, which easily topped 150,000 meters last winter while running
intervals three times a week at Wisconsin-Superior.
“This season didn’t happen by magic,”
said Tim Stratioti, who guided her workouts. “She’s
worked very hard the two winters.”
The elder Stratioti, a 1979 Duluth Denfeld graduate,
set the now-retired 880-yard school record as well as a couple of
relay records. Paige credits her father with much of her success.
“He played a huge role; he’s my biggest
role model,” she said. “He’s super experienced
and helps me a lot. Every question I’ve had about running,
he’s got an answer for it. I’m very thankful he had
enough patience to train me.”
While acknowledging genealogy may have something
to do with his daughter’s success, Tim Stratioti doesn’t
see too many similarities.
“When I was a runner, I’d be nervous
in the blocks,” he said. “But she can’t wait for
the gun to go off. She runs like a little kid playing tag.”
The former Denfeld coach says he tends to watch
his daughter more from a coach’s perspective than a parent,
but that doesn’t mean his words of wisdom are always accepted
“When I watch her run, I always think about
how she could strategically change. She always goes out so hard
in the 400, I think what if she backed off a little bit early to
see what that felt like,” he said. “But when you make
suggestions to your kid, all of a sudden you’re not a coach
anymore, you’re a father, and you get the eye-rolling.”
Besides, he said, there really isn’t much
“Nothing’s broke, so I don’t
know if it’s wise to fix anything.”