Dickinson State Athlete of the Week - Paitton Herbst

As the Dickinson State women's indoor track and field team earned its first-ever North Star indoor conference championship, Blue Hawks fifth-year senior Paitton Herbst was named the women's track athlete of the meet.


As the Dickinson State women's indoor track and field team earned its first-ever North Star indoor conference championship, Blue Hawks fifth-year senior Paitton Herbst was named the women's track athlete of the meet.

Herbst won the 600-meter dash with a time of one minute, 37.74 seconds, and earned first in the 800 with a time of 2:27.63. Additionally, she finished fourth in the mile, clocking in at 5:46.89.

DP: Where are you from and why did you choose Dickinson State?

PH: "I'm from Baker, Mont. I chose Dickinson State because when I was a senior in high school, coming in, (assistant football coach) Jace Schillinger was still here; we're actually related, he's my second cousin. He had a big influence on coming here. When I was looking at going to bigger schools, I was only getting offered to play one or the other sport, but at Dickinson (State), I had the opportunity to play track and field and basketball, so he got me there. And I had a brand new niece, my sister had just had her first baby, so I was pretty obsessed with her and I figured, 'Yeah, I don't want to go too far from her.' So Dickinson was the best fit. I got a bunch of Baker guys here, (head football coach) Pete Stanton, (golf coach) Thadd O'Donnell, Jace Schillinger was here, a lot old alumni from Baker. It felt like a home away from home."

DP: How long have you been running track?


PH: "I have been running track, oh boy, I don't know. My Dad always told me ... once I could get up on my feet, I couldn't get off them. I was always running around, walking around, I always had a ball in my hand. I've been running track probably since like, I'd say, around the fourth, fifth grade competitively."

DP: What do you most enjoy about the sport?

PH: "What I most enjoy about track and field is probably the adrenaline rush. I'm a big adrenaline junkie. I don't get nervous before a race, I used to when I was little, but not anymore.
That feeling when the gun goes off and you start running, my adrenaline just is rushing and I love that feeling. The team aspect, I love team sports and running not just for myself, but for my team, so definitely those two things."

DP: What is your major?

PH: "I'm on the Universal Studies track, but I'm on the branch of coaching. I'll eventually get my masters in coaching. That's what I want to do for the rest of my life."

DP: Do you participate in anything on campus?

PH: "Campus activities, like if there's something going on on campus, I'll go to those."

DP: What is your favorite track event and your least favorite?


PH: "My least favorite track event, I don't know if I have a least favorite track event. My favorite track event ... for indoor, it's definitely the 600-meter dash. For outdoor, for field I love throwing javelin, and then on the track, either one of my relays, the 4x800 or the 4x400, and there's a love-hate relationship with steeplechase."

DP: What is your strategy for a middle-distance run?

PH: "With the 600, it feels like a sprint the whole time. It's a little slower than the 400, obviously, but when it comes down to the last 200 meters after you ran a 400, you literally just go as fast as you can and try to finish at the line with the best effort you can. Same as an 800, you pretty much split two 400's, but obviously a little slower than your average 400 would be. That's honestly how I think about, like, 'Okay, Paitton, we don't want to run as fast as we would in an open 400 or 4x400 relay, but you want to be a couple seconds behind. So it's not much different than a 400 meter dash. They're very interesting, different races than a long-distance race or a sprint like a 100-meter dash. It's just weird to calculate what you need to run."

DP: Where is the best place to eat in town?

PH: "I have Mexican in me, so I'd definitely say Mexican. I'd choose El Som(brero)."

DP: Do you have a go-to order?

PH: "Everyone in this town orders P5, but nope, not me. I'm a P3. I love enchiladas."

DP: If you could have a superpower what would it be?


PH: "If I could have a superpower, it probably would be able to fly because I love to travel, so if I could get to places a little bit faster than I could driving, that would be it. I love going to hot places, like Hawaii and Florida, but I also love cold places. I'd like to go to Alaska, and stuff like that."

DP: If you had to lose two of your senses, what would they be?

PH: "If I had to lose two senses, probably smell, as long as I can still taste, so smell and touch, I think."

DP: What is the best show or movie you watched recently?

PH: "I'm gonna have to go with the series on Netflix, 'You.' It was creepy, but so good. It was really creepy and I wanted to stop watching, but I couldn't and it ended up being really good."

DP: Who or what is your biggest inspiration to succeed?

PH: "Probably my Mom. She's definitely my biggest inspiration because she's been through a lot in her long life and she's fought through so much and prospered and inspired me since I was very little."

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