May 31, 2009
Sophomores shine in Section 7AA track
By Kevin Pates
The Battle of the Sophomore Stars played out on
a windswept track Saturday afternoon as Lindsy Mattson of Grand
Rapids and Paige Stratioti of Duluth Denfeld provided scintillating
finishes at 200 and 400 meters in the Section 7AA high school meet
at Minnesota Duluth.
The girls sprint titles went to Mattson, by slim
margins, as both advanced to the Minnesota Class AA meet Friday
and Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Mattson and Stratioti were meeting for just the second time this
“I knew this was going to be tough,”
Mattson said after defending her 400 championship. “She was
favored to win and was behind me [on the staggered start]. She was
doing the chasing and I told myself ‘Stay relaxed, stay calm’
because she’s a great runner.”
In the only previous meeting, Mattson beat Stratioti
at 200 meters. It was Stratioti’s only 2009 loss in either
event before Saturday, and she relished the rematch and a chance
to advance to her first state meet.
“I like competitive races, so I was excited.
These were going to be death races,” said Stratioti, also
fifth in the triple jump. “I wanted to just hold my focus
and to remember that I have been running stronger at the end of
Mattson won the 200 in 26.64 and Stratioti was
next in 26.75, fighting off northwest headwinds gusting to 31 mph
on the final straightaway. In the 400, Mattson set a Section 7AA
record in 56.64 (which leads Minnesota) and Stratioti ran 58.21
(fifth-best in Class AA).
A year ago, Mattson finished sixth in the state
meet 400. Stratioti has made significant strides since placing sixth
in the 2008 Section 7AA 400 and not placing in the 200.
The top two placers in individual events, winning
relay teams and those bettering event standards advanced to the