Oakland's Wikstrom Selected CIF Scholar Athlete of the Year

Eleanor Wikstrom (1609) was a distance star at Oakland Skyline HS headed to Harvard and someone who "inspires and challenges others to be better," her coach Sean Kohles said. (Credit: DeAnna Turner).


Eleanor Wikstrom, a record-setting distance runner from Skyline High School in the Oakland Section, has been selected as the girls recipient of the 2020 CIF Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.

Given out since 1982, the scholarship award identifies student-athletes who excel in the classroom, in athletics, and are strong contributors to their schools and communities. One boy and one girl are selected from each of the state's 10 sections as well as one overall winner per gender.

Barrett Nunley, a three-sport athlete at Tulare Union (CS), was selected as the state's boys overall winner.

Wikstrom and Nunley will each receive a $5,000 scholarship award. They were selected from a pool of 374 candidates representing 1,606 CIF member schools and more than 830,000 student-athletes statewide.

"Our CIF scholar-athletes embody the principles of education-based athletics," said CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti said in a release from the state office announcing the selections. "On behalf of the entire CIF family, I congratulate Eleanor, Barrett, and all of our scholar-athletes. They are certainly examples of all that is positive during these challenging times."

Additionally, 20 CIF Section-specific winners -- 11 representing cross country and/or track and field -- earned a $1,000 scholarship award. (Check out the complete list below.)

Wikstrom, a senior headed to Harvard, is a four-time CIF-State Cross Country Championships qualifier who placed 10th in the Division 3 final last fall after winning the Oakland Section overall title.

She is the Oakland Section record-holder on the track for 1500 meters (4:51.80), 1600m (5:00.33) and 3000m (10:11.96). She is a two-time Oakland Section champion for both 800m and 1600m and a two-time CIF-State Track and Field Championships qualifier for 1600m. 

Bio from the CIF State release 

Eleanor Wikstrom, Skyline (OK)

Wikstrom is a four-year member of the cross country and track teams at Skyline High School and is a National Merit semifinalist and National AP Scholar. She is involved in many extracurricular clubs throughout Skyline and is co-founder and President for the Oakland Students for Public Education, a student lobby group that advocates on behalf of K-12 public education in California. Additionally, Wikstrom won first place in the MLK Oratorical Festival four times and was the Oakland Youth Vice Poet Laureate in 2019.

"...My character is the product of multiple parts -- my family, my school, my city, and beyond," states Wikstrom. "I know that the deep gratitude which I hold for my community -- and the trustworthiness fairness, caring, respect, responsibility, and citizenship which it teaches me -- is something that will shape my actions forever."

"Eleanor is hardworking and diligent, community-driven and compassionate, as well as exceptionally intelligent and motivated," praised Skyline Assistant Principal Justin Anderson. "The word resiliency comes to mind when thinking of Eleanor, not just her resiliency for her own path, but supporting others to be resilient on theirs."

Sean Kohles, Skyline's head coach for cross country and track and field, is quoted in the release: "Eleanor is a very unique individual. She inspires and challenges others to be better. She is empathetic, uplifting, fair, stern, and able to see the big picture."

 GPA: 4.00

 College: Harvard

 Career Interest: United Nations (diplomacy, education policy, public health, medical research)

 College Major: Cognitive Science, International Relations

 Primary Sports: Cross Country and Track



2020 CIF Scholar-Athlete Section Winners

University of California-bound Cole Sawires Yager of Great Oak (578) is the boys recipient of the Southern Section Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award and one of 11 honored from the sport of cross country and/or track and field. (Credit: Patrick Corsinita)


Central Section

Jacqueline Maze, Tulare Union -- TF athlete in the pole vault, 1600m, 800m and 300m hurdles

Bryson Job, Boron

Central Coast Section

Alden Standley, Sacred Heart Cathedral

Evan Franco, Branham -- Distance runner and two-time cross country State Meet participant

Los Angeles City Section

Tracey Truong, Abraham Lincoln

Nathanael Davis, University Senior Charter

North Coast Section

Emma Casey, Las Lomas -- Distance runner as a freshman

Zavier Annis, St. Joseph Notre Dame -- Sprinter/jumper on the track who also ran cross country

Northern Section

Natalie Osborne, Fall River

Calvin Thackeray, Etna

Oakland Section

Carla Franco-Felix, Coliseum College Prep

David Robles, Coliseum College Prep -- Distance runner and 2019 OAL City finalist

Sac-Joaquin Section

Brooke Giorgi, Whitney -- Distance runner and two-time State Meet participant in cross country

John Kroeger, River Valley -- Stanford commit, long jumper who won the SJS Division and Masters title and placed third at the State Meet in 2019

San Diego Section

Emma Rens, Academy of Our Lady of Peace -- Distance runner and four-year member of both XC and TF teams

Logan Schmidt, Monte Vista -- Four-year sprinter and thrower on the track team

San Francisco Section

Elena Rodriguez, Mission

Adam Chirackal, Raoul Wallenberg

Southern Section

Ella Whitehouse, Woodcrest Christian -- Three-time Section Division qualifier on the track who also ran XC

Cole Sawires Yager, Great Oak -- Distance runner and member of XC Section and State team titles and consecutive runner-up finishes at nationals.


Additional photos by DeAnna Turner and James Leash