Track and field opens outdoor season

Correction: The original version of this article erroneously stated that Rachel Levy ran the 5,000m in 6:54.28. Her actual time was 16:54:58.  

Track and field opened its outdoor season this past weekend by sending athletes to two separate meets. The Golden Grizzlies participated in a two-day meet on March 24 at Raleigh Relays at North Carolina State University as well as on March 25 at the Tennessee Rust Buster at the University of Tennessee.

Oakland had a successful weekend, with many student-athletes beating their personal records and others setting new school records. At the Raleigh Relays, senior Kailey Weingartz finished ninth in the 3,000m steeplechase and set a new school record with a time of 10:38.65. In addition, senior Bryce Stroede broke the school record in the 10,000m run with a time of 29:37.19 and placed 22nd. Stroede’s time in the 10,000m could land him a spot in the NCAA east preliminaries in Kentucky in May.

“Obviously, we have to play the season out and see where he ends up at, but I think that time’s going to get him in,” said Paul Rice, men’s and women’s track and field head coach, in a GrizzVision interview.

The Golden Grizzlies set five personal records in North Carolina. Sophomore Rachel Levy finished 21st and set a personal record in the 5,000m (16:54.58), senior Jacob Bowman finished 18th overall and set a personal-best time in the 5,000m (14:13.59), and senior Ashley Burr placed 11th and set a new personal-best time in the steeplechase (10:45.25). Redshirt senior Miranda Haas finished 44th and set a personal record in the 5,000m with an overall time of 17:16.80, and senior Michael Cox placed 58th and set a personal-best time in the 10,000m at 31:08.26.

In the Tennessee Rust Buster, two more school records were broken by the men’s 4x100m relay team of sophomore Corey Goodloe, senior Nicholas Girodat, senior Aaron Davis and freshman Sheldon Drake with a time of 40.47 and redshirt senior Gino Vitella in discus with a throw of 170 feet 4 inches.

“I had an incredible jump by 13 feet from last year, and I hit a huge milestone for myself,” Vitella said. “That throw sets me up perfectly, sitting as the farthest distance in the Horizon League thus far . . . Performing that strong at a huge school like Tennessee was definitely a career highlight.”

With the nonstop record breaking over the weekend, Oakland has set itself as a top contender in the Horizon League this season. According to Rice, the team has “a lot of great things to build on for the future.”

“The constant record breaking is a true testament to the team’s overall dedication to the task at hand,” Vitella said. “In my five years here, I don’t think we’ve had a hungrier team than this group of athletes. We do an excellent job of creating a competition-like atmosphere at practice, and it definitely translates meet after meet.”

The Golden Grizzlies will be back in action on Saturday, April 1 to compete in the Miami Duals in Miami, Ohio.