Italian American Runners Excel in West Coast Championships

Nov 19, 2023 613

BY: Silvio Laccetti

It is rare to see Italian Americans achieve high marks in the sport of Cross Country. But this year is a memorable exception. Our greater community has two high achieving stars, Matt Strangio and Robert Di Donato. Strangio (in the picture) is a student at the University of Portland (OR) and is a resident of Folsom, CA, just a short distance outside Sacramento, CA.

In high school, he was a 3 time All American and a 4 time State Champion. In the 2023 college season he got off to a slow start, having been laid up with a serious flu at the beginning of the season. But he battled back from disappointing performances, all the way to becoming the 10 k Champion of the West Coast Conference.

He followed that up with a silver medal in the NCAA West Regionals, finishing behind the reigning national 10k champion from Stanford. He won All-Regional All-Star honors in arguably one of the toughest NCAA regionals. In the final NCAA championship he finished in the top third of all competitors.

Robert Di Donato is a sophomore at Stanford University, where he was named last year as the top Freshman xc runner in the PAC 12 conference. This year, he came on strong in the conference championships and finished in 7th place in the NCAA Western Regionals, earning similar honors to Strangio's. He continued his strong performance in the Championship race, finishing 49th in the country, just 9 places below All American ranking.

Both Matt and Robert will be competing next year and we can expect even stronger performances from them.

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