Mentor High School's long-jump standout Paige Floriea is unstoppable

Mentor Schools September
Paige Floriea won the Division 1 State Championship in Columbus for long-jump.

By Mimi Vanderhaven

To win a state championship in track and field, it takes raw talent, tireless training and the uncanny ability to perform under high-stakes pressure. A little superstition doesn’t hurt, either.

Last May at the 2019 OHSAA Division 1 State Championship in Columbus, Mentor High School long-jump standout Paige Floriea followed her superstition for away meets of dropping a tiny bit of sand from her hometown pit into the one there.

“It just makes me feel more relaxed to have a little bit of home with me,” she says.

The effort paid off. Not only did Paige win the championship, but, on her last jump, she broke the Jesse Owens Stadium Record, by jumping 19-9.75.

(Did I mention it’s the biggest stadium in Ohio?)

“When I hit the board and flew into the air, it felt like time stopped,” she says. “And having my older brothers there going crazy meant everything to me.”

Just as impressive, also at states, she came in third in the 100-meter dash with 12.13 seconds, and second in the 200-meter dash with a race of 24.29 seconds. Then she ran the second leg of Mentor’s 4x400 relay, in which finished second with a 3:49.48.

All in one day.

Paige has been running since she was in first grade and started long-jumping in second grade. Since then, she’s been working with different coaches and trainers at MHS and SPIRE Institute.

“I’d like to thank Coaches Bob Berwald, Alex Ardo and Jen Butterfield for all their support and encouragement, and pushing me to work hard over the years,” she says.

Looking into her crystal ball for the spring season, Paige predicts Mentor High School has a potential state championship team in the making, with “all the right people hitting their peak across many events, all at the right time.”

As for her own future, she’s already been speaking with D1 colleges about joining their programs. She also dreams of one day competing in the Olympics and then professional track, such as the IAAF Diamond League in Europe, or here in the United States.

Looks like she’ll be grabbing some extra sand from that home pit before graduating in 2021.

The Mentor School system educates 7,660 students from pre-K to 12th grade in eight elementary schools, three middle schools, one high school and one school for students with autism. For updates, visit