LOS ANGELES — Professional track and field athletes from as far as Korea and India mixed with collegiate athletes from every level and all parts of the country at the 2014 Oxy Invite at Bill Henry Track in Jack Kemp Stadium on Saturday.
Among the headliners was 800-meter specialist and former United States National Team member Maggie Vessey, who ran the 400 in 52.82 seconds, finishing first in the fastest section.
But it was two throwers who stole the show with a pair of Oxy Invite Meet records.
Whitney Ashley, a former NCAA Champion at San Diego State, broke the women's discus record, throwing 206-01 to top Seilala Sue's 2001 meet record of 203-03.
In the men's shot put, Joe Kovacs, a Penn. St. graduate, won the competition for the second year in a row with a mark of 69-08.25. John Godina held the previous best of 68-04.25 since 2001.
Itohan Aikhonbare, an Eagle Rock resident, also won the shot put for a second consecutive year in the women's competition (52–04.75).
One of the most exciting races was the fastest section of the men's 800. Robby Andrews, the 2011 NCAA Division I 800 champion, showed off his closing speed, passing a handful of runners who all have lifetime bests in the 1:44-range to win (1:46.35).
SCIAC star distance runner Melissa Skiba of Cal Lutheran ran her seasonal best in the 5,000, jumping up to No. 2 on the current NCAA Division III list with 16:26.60.
Kinnaird posted Oxy's third best women's 5,000 in school history, running the fast section of the race in 17:35.04.
"We went out and instantly it felt like magic," said Kinnaird, adding that she got an extra boost from coaches, teammates and alums cheering her on at each turn. "I had teammates cheering me on so once it really started hurting I was just thinking look to my teammates."
It is extra special for Kinnaird with nearly half of her career lost to injury. She didn't run much in her freshman and junior seasons and has even missed some time with the cross country team.
"In one of my last races as captain I wanted to set an example," Kinnaird said.
On the men's side, Johnson, a standout freshman, won the third section of the men's 400 (49.76) followed not far behind by teammate Gregory Capra (51.65).
Two-time SCIAC champion and star Oxy sprinter Jonathan Padron ran the 100 in 10.94.
Raoul Friedemann finished the 800 in 1:59.82.
Two Oxy field athletes took part in the competition. Fresh off of his second-place finish at the SCIAC Championships last weekend, Stephen Nemeth competed in the pole vault. Kimberly Orpinela was the other field athlete involved in the meet, throwing 137-06 in the hammer.
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