Track and field hosts third annual Golden Grizzly Invite

Track and field hosted the third annual Golden Grizzly Invite April 14-15. The women’s team finished third with 116 points, and the men’s team finished second with 111 points.

“We have been so lucky and had really good weather at every meet we’ve hosted, and today is no exception,” said head coach Paul Rice in a GrizzVision interview. “It got really [windy] for a while, but it was sunny, it was warm. It was just nice to be outside, and the athletes, I think, were just excited to have a great day.”

The Golden Grizzlies recorded nine first-place finishes. Kendell Jefferson and Aaron Davis placed first in the 100m at 11.90 and 10.50, respectively.

“I found that, although I run for me, I also run to represent any and everyone that has ever believed in me, cheered for me, prayed for me,” Davis said. “All those people invested something in me, and I find that keeping that in perspective helps to get me through those hard practices and long meets.”

Bryce Stroede placed first in the 800m with a time of 1:52.01, while Lydia Stanley took first place in the 800m for the women with a time of 2:15.78.

. Rachel Levy placed first in the 1,500m (4:38.53), and Ashley Burr took first in the 5,000m (18:06.53).

Both the women’s and men’s 4×400 relay teams took first place with times of 3:53.49 and 3:24.10, respectively.

The women’s relay consisted of Stanley, Chanel Gardner, Sydney Sterling and Odette Ingall. Zach Joyce, Austin Dawn, Geoffrey Williston and Zach Stadnika made up the men’s relay team.

After the preliminaries, a ceremony was held to honor Oakland’s seniors in their last career home meet. The 2016 women’s cross country team members received rings for winning the league championship in the fall. Last season’s NCAA qualifiers — Stroede, Gino Vitella, Andrew Bowman and Nick Girodat — were also recognized.

Before the meet began, the seniors filled out a questionnaire that asked them to list their top-three achievements and greatest memory at Oakland. As the seniors embraced the coaches and track and field alumni, their answers to the questionnaire were announced over the loudspeaker.

Twins and teammates Aaron and Austin Davis both listed one another’s achievements on the questionnaire.

Aaron said graduating with Austin was one of his greatest achievements, while Austin said watching Aaron become progress as a great runner was one of his greatest memories at Oakland.

“We definitely push each other mentally,” Austin Davis said. “I haven’t had a great year, and I’ve been bummed a lot, but he’s definitely been there for me to lift my spirits up and vice versa.”

“I have something that a lot of people don’t in my twin brother,” Aaron Davis said. “There have been a lot of times where he’s believed in me more than I believed in myself. I know that, no matter what, Austin is there for me, in my corner when I need it and even when I think I don’t. Time and time again, he’s pulled me out of doubting myself and worrying before a championship run, and I’m thankful for that.”

Track and field will split to compete in three different meets on Friday, April 21. Golden Grizzlies will head to Atlanta, Georgia, to compete in the Georgia Tech Invite; Charlottesville, Virginia, for the Virginia Challenge; and Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the Jesse Owens Classic.