Denfeld News

May 31, 2009
Duluth News Tribune

Sophomores shine in Section 7AA track meet sprints
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 season.

“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 the season.”

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 state meet.

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