Sabina Stroia: It ‘Runs’ in The Family


Logan Hale, Staff Writer

Erie is known for its immensely successful athletic programs, and the impressive student-athletes within them, such as football, basketball, baseball, cheerleading, track and field, and many more. While many students do these sports, only a select few really standout and excel. Whether this is due to an age gap, performing extremely well, or just being an amazing athlete, each student has their own background story to tell. One story in particular is about a young freshman cross country runner, Sabina Stroia. 


Unlike most successful young athletes her age, Stroia has only just begun her journey, and has only been really competing for just over a year. Many student-athletes have special background stories, and as the only freshman on the varsity team, Stroia undoubtedly deserves to have her’s told. Each story has a start somewhere, whether that is in childhood, in teenage years, or even past high school, but for Sabina, her story starts before she was even born. 


Sabinas aunt, Lidia Simon has had great success throughout her impressive career, on a highly competitive level. Simon competed in the 2000 olympics and not only that, but did outstandingly well, winning a silver medal for the country of Romania. Lidia had been a runner her whole life, working day and night for that kind of result. Only a year later, in 2001, Simon competed in the women’s track world championships, where she won gold. 


However, this family talent doesn’t just stop there, as both of Stroia’s parents are high-achieving runners as well. “It runs in the family I guess,” says Stroia with a chuckle. All of her family, including both parents, come from the European country of Romania. While running may not be the most popular sport in that region, it certainly is within the Stroia family, a “tradition” she calls it. 


Both of her parents grew up running and eventually went on to be competitive, as they both competed on a highly competitive level, on competitive teams and in national races. Similar to Sabina’s situation, Alina Stroia, her mother grew up training with and competing mostly against the boys, and was most of the time able to beat them. Sabina says she uses this as motivation to, “… to be faster than the boys,” following in her mothers footsteps.


The Stroia family moved to the US shortly after, in 2001. Regardless of the Stroia family background in Romania, it was time to move on. The US was just a better option at that time for Radu and Alina Stroia, along with the new Olympic medalist, Lidia Simon who decided to move with them as well. 


“The US was simply a better chance of a good life,” says Radu. Originally, they resided in Portland, Oregon, until Sabina was born in 2007. Then they moved to Colorado a year later, following Simon who lived in Boulder. They lived in Thornton for most of her youth and later moved to Erie in 2020. “Erie was a nice town with a good school which we wanted to be closer to, plus my aunt lived in Boulder so we wanted to be closer to her.” Sabina says. 


Running was always something Sabina was always involved in, but was something she only recently focused on, “Running was always on the  back of my mind, but not something I had really focused on yet. So I just tried out to see what I would do and made varsity.” She says. For supposedly going out on a limb, when it comes to even getting into cross country this season, it makes getting onto varsity that much more impressive.


It is no shocker she has had this success already. Considering her family history, Stroia was bound for success. Having a family with as many high achievements, and such undeniable success as the Stroia’s, there was  undoubtedly  pressure involved. However, Sabina says, “Even though things can get stressful, my parents push me as an individual athlete, regardless of the expectations based on what they’ve done and my family history… They are always on the bleachers supporting me however I do, good or bad, which I really appreciate.”


This support has always been a constant theme within the Stroia household, as her parents have supported her in anything she does. During her first varsity high school season, Sabina not only made the team, but was able to compete at that high level with girls twice her size, and years older than her. Sabina says “my parents were always there pushing me on and teaching me throughout the whole season no matter how well I finished.”


With every success story there comes triumphs, but struggles along the way as well. In Sabina’s case this occurred later in the Highschool season, when an unfortunate hip injury took place. “It started hurting after a meet, I don’t know what happened but it definitely affected me… it affected the way I ran, and slowed me down, I wasn’t happy”. However, regardless of this, Sabina has pretty much “moved on” and is already focusing on the next season.


Like most motivated and high-achieving athletes, Sabina hopes to greatly improve throughout highschool, and plans to use the experiences she has already had, on varsity to her advantage. Her coach, Brandon Havard sees this in her as well. “Whatever you ask her to do she will do it, and do it to the best of her ability no matter if it’s a super hard workout or going to voluntary off season workouts she will do it, and do it at a high level.  She sets goals and takes all of the steps needed to hit those goals.”


Overall, this young athlete has a number of great talents and gifts going for her, which will undoubtedly take her far throughout the rest of her highschool career, and most likely after highschool. Brandon Havard, the Erie Highschool track and field coach says, “I think Sabina can be one of the best runners to come through Erie High school. Her hard work, determination, and great attitude will no doubt help her reach any goal she sets for herself.  No matter what she decides to do with her future I know she will be successful.”