Running with the best: Girodat and Davis book it in Florida

 Nicholas Girodat broke the Oakland outdoor 200m record with a time of  21.37 and finished sixth, while Aaron Davis finished 13th with a time of 21.52 on April 9 at the Miami Alumni Invitational in Coral Gables, Fla. Davis posted a personal best in the 100m with 10.71 and finished 14th.

“Nick is one of my best friends,” Davis wrote in an email. “We’ve been training alongside each other since our freshman year, pushing each other to be our very best. We’re able to relax a little and find the fun in the seriousness that revolves around our sport, which is sometimes necessary.”

While it was below freezing in Rochester, it was warm and sunny in Coral Gables. Both Davis and Girodat wrote that the weather was beneficial. Girodat explained that “the heat makes it easier to warm up and get loose.”

The meet involved more competition than the two athletes were used to. Walter Dix, an Olympic bronze medalist in the 200m and 100m who ran the second-fastest 200m in U.S. history, competed against Girodat and Davis in both of their events.

“The competition was about as good as it gets,” Girodat wrote in an email. “Competing against these large schools and unfamiliar athletes might seem intimidating, but you are where you’re meant to be. Competing with some of the best just means we are on the right path athletically.”

Girodat and Davis focused on their block start at the beginning of the race and maintaining their form throughout the sprint.

“There’s always some visualization of my entire race from my block start to crossing the finish line a little before the starter calls us up to our lanes,” Davis wrote. “Afterward, the focus is on how I felt during the race and how it correlates to the time that I ran. Then it’s time to take what needs to be worked on and carry that over into the next practice.”

Girodat focused more on the fast competition and trying to stay with them.

“I was placed in an outside lane for the 200 and thought to myself: Just don’t let anyone pass you,” Girodat wrote. “Coming around the curve, I seemed to have the lead and kept my form through the last 100 meter straight away. I ended up running a great time of 21.37 and was happy with how I ran the race. Looking up at the scoreboard and seeing my time, I smiled and thought to myself just how blessed I am.”

Davis and Girodat hope to run fast enough to qualify for the NCAA regional meet. For now, the two athletes are pushing themselves at practice, focusing on one rep at a time and getting ready for the Horizon League Championship.

“After a good meet down in Miami, I plan to take it in stride and finish the rest of the season strong,” Girodat wrote. “I will continue to train hard and see where it takes me.”

Oakland runs the Golden Grizzlies Duals all day April 16 at the Oakland Track and field.