Oakland Section Season in Review

Caroline Garrett (872) ran at the CIF-State Meet for the fourth consecutive year. (Pat Rhames photo)

The story of the tiny Oakland Section over the last couple years has been the huge accomplishments of two girls, distance runners Caroline Garrett and Eleanor Wikstrom

Garrett, a senior at Oakland Technical, is a six-time section champion who has qualified for the State Meet all four years, twice in the 1600 and the last two years in the 3200. She is the section's all-time leader for 3200 (10:42.25). 

Wikstrom, a junior at Skyline, has qualified for the State Meet each of the last two years in the 1600, and event where she is the section's all-time leader (5:00.33) and is less than half a second short of being the first girl in Oakland history to cover those four laps in under five minutes. 

Wikstrom credits Garrett for both her personal inspiration specifically, and her overall impact on distance running among girls in the section in general. 

In what easily goes down as the Oakland Section race of the year, Wikstrom and Garrett pushed each other over 1600 meters at the Clash of the Titans (April 27 at Skyline HS), both with the goal of going under five minutes. While they crossed the line just fractions of a second beyond their goal, Wikstorm's winning time of 5:00.33 and Garrett's crossing at 5:00.53 are the two fastest 1600s ever run in OS history. 

Speaking with MileSplitCA's Logan Stanley after that race, Wikstrom said: "Obviously, at the end of the day, we're competing against each other. But even beyond that, we're just really good friends. In races like this, we're there to push each other."

While the Oakland Section did have 10 schools represented at the two-day section final in mid-May, not all 10 of those schools field a full team. Out of that, six individuals and one relay team representing four schools hit qualifying standards to earn a chance to compete at the State Meet. Skyline was the only school with more than one qualifier, sending sophomore Jonathan Simmons, sophomore De'Saya Smith and Wikstrom to Clovis. 

Garrett had the highest finish of Oakland Section qualifiers at State, placing 14th in the 3200, which does not hold a preliminary race. None of the others, running in Friday night preliminaries, earned a spot in the Saturday night finals.

Wikstrom placed 19th in qualifying of the 1600, running 5:02.20, missing the top 12 by 6.21 seconds.



At the section final, held at Laney College, Skyline swept the team titles, winning the boys title for the seventh year in a row and the girls title for the fourth year in a row. 

Among boys with a top finish in multiple events, the McClymonds duo of junior boys, Edwards Woods (11.44/-3.8) and Daniel Phoenix (11.88), went 1-2 in the 100m; Skyline sophomore Jonathan Simmons won the 400 (50.08) and ran second in the 200;  and 2-1 in the 200 (23.51/-1.8); Skyline junior William Boyd (4:37.09) and senior Leonardo Brennan (4:56.83) went 1-2 in the 1600 and Boyd came back to place third in the (10:20.67) 3200 behind senior teammate Jacob Hackett (10:14.49) and Oakland Tech junior Benjamin Nicholas (10:14.53); Skyline senior Xavier Patton and Noah Mitchell swapped places between the 110 hurdles, won by Patton (16.47/1.1), and the 300 hurdles, won by Mitchell (41.96). 

In the girls competition, Skyline senior Dominique Gaston and Envision Academy junior Cierra Mathis went 1-2 in both the 100 meters and 200 meters. Gaston crossed in 13.25 (-2.4) to win the straight sprint by .10, and won the 200 in 27.29 (-1.3), just .02 ahead of Mathis. Skyline junior Alicia Robinson-Gross won the 400 (1:03.02) and Wikstrom won the 800 (2:22.00) and the 1600 (5:06.11). Garrett ran 10:46.71 to win her second consecutive section 3200 meter title and sixth overall. Skyline sophomore De'saya Smith swept the hurdles, winning the 100s in 17.35 (-1.2) and the 300s in 49.47.


Garrett's 10:42.25 personal best for 3200 ranked 28th in California this season and her 5:00.53 PR for 1600 for second to Wikstrom at the Skyline High-hosted Clash of the Titans meet, ranked 50th in the CA. Wikstrom's winning time of 5:00.33 ranked 46th in the state. Those are the only marks from Oakland Section girls to rank among the top 50 across all of the standard events.

For the boys, the 10.77 (-0.9) posted by McClymonds sophomore Daniel Phoenix ranks tied for 47th in CA. It is the only mark in any event among Oakland Section boys to rank among the top 50.