Champion LoStracco to run for Bradley University

GUELPH – Guelph running champion Tiana LoStracco figures Bradley University will be a perfect fit for her.

“It’s a really beautiful campus,” she said after a special ceremony to honour her agreeing to attend the university in Peoria, Ill., on both an academic and athletic scholarship. “It’s a smaller campus so I really like that I’ll be able to get around it really easily. I know there are a lot of big schools in the States and some of them are just massive. Their campuses on their own, I’d have difficulty just getting around them. I really like the small size and the updated buildings are really beautiful.”

A member of the Speed River Track and Field Club, LoStracco regularly practises and competes at the Alumni Stadium track at the University of Guelph and has seen that school’s campus numerous times.

“It’s a very similar size and that’s one of the things I really liked about it,” she said.

She also said Peoria is very similar to the Royal City.

“It is a bit bigger than Guelph, but it had a lot of parallels to Guelph so it did feel like home.”

LoStracco, a St. James high school student who usually gets marks in the 80s and 90s, has been given a Dean’s Scholarship for academic achievement and has been accepted into the Elementary Education with English as a Second Language endorsement program.

“Two of my aunts are teachers and I’ve always been interested in teaching kids,” LoStracco said. “It’s an interest of mine and I hope that it will work out.”

With an interest in going into teaching, has LoStracco been a good student or has she spent time in principal Mike MacPherson’s office.

“I’d like to think (I’ve been a good student). I guess you’d have to ask my teachers,” she said. “Mr. MacPherson and I know each other, but not because of that reason.”

One thing that student/athletes excel at, especially at the university level, is time management.

“I’m working on being better at time management because I know it will be helpful for the future,” she said. “I hope I’ll improve my time management, but I’m OK at it.”

If not for her mother’s intervention, LoStracco might never have got into competitive running in the first place.

“The first time I ever ran a race was in Grade 3. We had to do cross-country,” she said. “I was just going to throw away the cross-country form and not bother with it, but my Mom found it in my agenda book and she made both my brother and I do it. I just really enjoyed it and every year I would just do it throughout school.”

Since then she’s racked up the race wins. At St. James, where she’ll finish her high school track and field competitions this spring, she has won OFSAA provincial championships in the 800 metres three consecutive years from 2016 to 2018 and in the 400m in 2016 and 2017. She was a CWOSSA cross-country champion three consecutive years from 2015 to 2017.

LoStracco has also represented Canada in the Commonwealth Youth Games at Nassau, Bahamas, in 2017 and in last summer’s Jamaican U18 Invitational meet where she won gold in the 800m.

“It’s just a passion and I’m supported by a great community like my teammates, coaches and family,” she said. “And my faith has really helped me.”

She also hopes to follow in the tracks of some of the older Speed River Club members and compete in the Olympics.

“That’s the ultimate dream,” she said, adding that she gets plenty of inspiration from the Speed River Club members who are Olympians.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “When I walk into the University of Guelph, I run into Olympians. I’ll be there for training, I’ll walk in the door and I’ll run into (Olympic steeplechaser) Gen Lalonde who is an amazing athlete. So many of them are so inspirational. You see them working on the track and all their hard work and you see it paying off for them.”

When she gets to Bradley, she’ll likely check out the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise that is just off campus or maybe go for a little longer hike to the highly-rated Carl’s Bakery and Restaurant that’s about five miles off campus.

“Donuts are my favourite post-race treat,” she said. “After a hard race, a hard season, that’s just one of the rewards.”

 

  • Guelph Sports Journal