REVIEW 10 Things from Smallest CIF Sections

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Highlights from a limited 2021 outdoor season for the CA's three smallest CIF sections - Northern, Oakland, and San Francisco.

Items are listed alphabetically.

1. Kiana Emerson - The senior at West Valley (NS) unleashed a 150-2 discus throw at the Central Coast Micro Meet in Salinas, a PR that ranks CA No. 8, the highest event ranking of any individual from these three sections.

2. Scott Fairley - Kudos to the coach at West Valley High (NS) in Cottonwood wasn't able to put on a section championship for the second season in a row, but he was able to play host to a series of invitationals that gave NS athletes multiple opportunties to compete, including the Eagle Classic Relays, North Region Small School Championships, and the West Valley Invitational. 

3. Mario Giannini - Giannini, a junior at Chico (NS) and one of the top distance runners in the state in the 2022 class, didn't begin his season until the end of April, but in seven meets through the end of June, he ran PRs for 800m (2:03.57), 1600m (4:24.38), and 3200m (9:10.38).  All three are Northern Section-bests for 2021. 

4. Sean Kohles - Shout-out to the Skyline (OK) coach for making the annual Clash of the Titans Invitational happen. The meet catered to 26 schools from the Central Coast Section, North Coast Section, Oakland Section, and Sac-Joaquin Section. Athletes produced 12 meet records, including three by Skyline athletes, two by senior Jonathan Simmons (200m, 400m) and a record-tying high jump by senior Jane Heida. Skyline and Kohles also played host to the OAL Region meet.

5. Northern Section - Restrictions resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic made normal competition in the vast and geographically diverse Northern Section exceptionally challenging if not impossible. The NS made the decision in January to abandon section championships for Season 2 sports like track and field. 

6. Oakland Section Finals - Not only did the OKS find a way to make a section finals meet happen for the first time since 2019, it is one of four CIF sections that held a sectionwide event for both genders at the same meet (CS, CCS, SD). At that meet, a handful of athletes won multiple event titles in addition to the aforementioned Simmons. Athletes winning multiple CIF-OKS titles were Skyline sophomore Andy Ixtabalan Argueta (1600m, 3200m) and Skyline freshman Teo Cepero (110mH, 300mH) among boys, and Oakland Technical sophomore Inelaboh Ajayi (100m, 200m), and a trio of Skyline seniors Greta Glueck (1600m, 3200m), De'saya Smith (100mH, 300mH) and Jane Heida (HJ, TJ).

7. San Francisco Section - The SFS was one of four of CA's 10 sections to opt out of post-season competition for spring sports. Competition on the peninsula was limited to just a few meets and no true invitationals. The Lincoln Tri meet on April 30, which accommodated five teams, produced nine SFS No. 1 marks, and the Lowell High meet on May 21, also with five teams, produced seven section-leading marks. Between those two meets, Lincoln junior Zayar Myint ran section-best times in the 100m (11.21), 200m (22.89), and 400m (53.37). 

8. Jenna Satovsky - The junior distance runner at Lowell (SF) was the CIF-SFS All-City champion in the 1600m and 3200m as a freshman in 2019, and competed at the CIF-State Meet in the eight-lap event. Despite a 2021 outdoor season limited to three meets, she still put up section-best times in her specialty events - 5:23.42 (1600m) and 11:49.10 (3200m). 

9. Jonathan Simmons - The senior at Skyline (OK) wrapped up his stellar prep career with three championships at the CIF-Oakland Section Finals. Simmons won the 200m (23.50), the 400m (48.96) and the long jump (with a 19-1 PR). He ran PRs and section-best times of 23.39 (200m) and 48.75 (400m) at Clash of the Titans. During the spring, Simmons showed off his range by also running PRs for 100m, 800m, 3200m, and 300m hurdles. 

10. Repeat Champions - Two years removed from section finals left a very short list of athletes statewide who were able to repeat as CIF section champions. The Oakland Section added to the list as Johnathan Simmons won a second 400m title, De'saya Smith defended titles in both hurdles, and Jane Heida did as well in the high jump. Smith, it appears, is on an extremely short list of athletes who won overall section titles for the third time in four years. Among the sections that held overall championships this year, only Aysha Shaheed (Madison/SD) in the 100m, and Kennedy Jennings (Edison/CS) in the 800m, and Smith in both hurdles stand as three-time overall section champions. Hearty congratulations to this special trio!

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Photos by John Houston, Eric Morford, Raymond Tran, Dan Tyree