Odd as it may seem, the 10-school Oakland Section, aka, Oakland Athletic League (OAL), gets a seat at the big boy table in the 10-section California Interscholastic Federation, which includes the 600-school Southern Section. That means athletes from the OAL may find themselves shoulder to shoulder with the best of California. And on any given day in the track & field world, the Davids of the athletic landscape will confront the Goliaths and some just may prevail.
None of this is new to the OAL. And neither is representation at the CIF-State Championships.
So, on June 2 at Buchanan High in Clovis, OAL was represented in State Meet Finals by senior Henry Larkin (Oakland Technical) in the 400 meters, and junior Caroline Garrett (Oakland Technical) in the 3200 meters (Pat Rhames photo above).
Larkin, a four-time section champion at 400 and two-time State Meet qualifier, posted a personal record time in prelims and placed 7th in the Saturday night final.
Garrett, a two-time former section champion at 800m and 1600m who shifted focus toward the end of the season to the 3200, ran a PR at State in the eight-lap race to place 18th in a 29-runner field.
There weren't the only OAL reps at the State Meet, there were the only two to compete on the second day.
Here's a look at four other Oakland Section boys who excelled:
- Junior Akil Riley (Oakland Technical) won Oakland Section titles in the 100m (11.17/-0.3) and 200m (22.34/0.3) and competed at the State prelims in both.
- Junior Noah Mitchell (Skyline) won section titles in the 110 hurdles (16.77) and 300 hurdles (41.36). He competed in the 300 hurdles at the State prelims, running a PR of 40.60 for 20th.
- Senior Christian Garibay (Skyline) swept section titles in the throws, winning the shot put with a best of 44-8 and discus throw at 131-00. He PR'd in the discus throw at the State prelims (133-01).
- Senior Naseme Colvin (Skyline) won the section title in the triple jump (44-9) and went to the State Meet, where he jumped 45-1 for 17th in prelims. Colvin won the Clash of the Titans meet in April with a PR of 45-09.50. (Eric Taylor photo)
There were four girls who dominated top event group marks in the Oakland Section:
- Sophomore Ciearra Mathis (Envision) had the section's top times in the 100m (12.85) and 200m (26.21). Mathis posted that 200m PR at the State Meet prelims.
- Sophomore Eleanor Wikstrom (Skyline) had the section's best times overall in the 400 (1:01.65), 800 (2:21.68), and 1600 (5:05.28). Wikstrom won the section title in the 800m (2:25.50) and the 1600m (5:06.44). She went to State in the 1600 where she ran 5:09.93 for 24th in prelims.
- Freshman De'Saya Smith (Skyline) was the section's best in the 100m hurdles (15.60) and the 300 hurdles (48.41). Smith ran her 100 hurdles PR at the State Meet prelims, placing 25th. She ran her 300 hurdles PR in mid-April at the Northern California Frosh/Soph Championships.
- Senior Leilah Clark (Skyline) was the section's top thrower with bests of 102-5 in the discus and 32-0 in the shot.
Note that at the section final, junior Hailee Smith (Oakland Technical) beat Mathis in the 100m, running 13.06. Mathis was 2nd in 13.32. The placing was reversed in the 200 with Mathis winning 26.39 and Smith 2nd in 26.83.
In the 400, Mathis battled with sophomore Alycia Robinson-Gross (Skyline). Whereas both girls ran faster times at prelims, it was Robinson-Gross with the faster time (1:04.46) to Mathis' 1:06.14 in the final.