Denfeld News

May 13, 2009
Duluth News Tribune

Denfeld, Superior runners come up big in conference meet
By Rick Weegman

Duluth Denfeld’s Paige Stratioti cruised to Lake Superior Conference track and field titles in the 200- and 400-meter runs and ran the leadoff leg on the winning 400-meter relay Tuesday, but the scariest aspect for her competition is that the sophomore’s best event might be one she’s not running: the 800.

“We think that; she doesn’t necessarily agree with us,” Denfeld girls coach Joel Holman said. “She wants nothing to do with the 800. It’s hard to convince someone who’s running high 57s, low 58s in the 400.”

Stratioti breezed to victory in the 400 in a personal-best 58.14 seconds — a time that puts her in the top 10 in the state. She wasn’t threatened in the 200 (26.65) and, after struggling in the preliminaries, broke her own record with a leap of 34 feet, 9 inches to win the triple jump at Public Schools Stadium.

But she’s not about to take on the 800.

“No way — that’s a long way for me,” she said. “I really like the sprints.”

Holman said Stratioti attempted the 800 only once, as a freshman in the 3,200 relay.

“She ran one leg of our 4x800 last year in just one meet and ran our fastest 800 split in maybe five or six years,” Holman said. “It could be her best [event], but she loves the 400 and is beginning to love the 200.”

Stratioti hopes to run track in college.

“I love track,” she said. “I could run every event and be happy with it — except the 800.”

Despite Stratioti’s efforts, the Hunters couldn’t factor in the team race. Cloquet won the girls title with 136 points, 12 ahead of runner-up Hermantown. Superior was third with 113 and Denfeld edged Duluth Central for fourth.

In the boys meet, Denfeld junior Billy Phousongphouang set a meet record in the triple jump with a winning leap of 41-7½, and Denfeld sophomore C.J. Hamm set a conference mark in the shot put, throwing 48-7½ in the finals.

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