OAKLAND, Calif. - A senior from Skyline High School in Oakland has been named the female winner of the California Interscholastic Federation's Scholar-Athlete of the Year, becoming the first-ever student from the Oakland Unified School District to receive the honor.
Skyline High School senior Eleanor Wikstrom has been named one of the California Interscholastic Federation's two Scholar-Athletes of the Year for 2020.
Eleanor Wikstrom, who has set records as the captain of Skyline's track and field and cross-country teams, was one of two athletes to receive the CIF award for 2020 on Monday. Every year, the honor goes to one female and one male student athlete. Along with Wikstrom, Barrett Nunley, a three-sport athlete in football, golf, and wrestling from Tulare Union High School was also honored this year. Wikstrom and Nunley were chosen out of 830,000 student-athletes across the state.
"This prestigious program recognizes two student-athletes based on excellence in athletics, academics, and character," the California Interscholastic Federation said on its website.
Wikstrom's athletic accomplishments include being the 2019 Oakland Section Champion and a state medalist in Division 3 for cross country. She also holds the Oakland Section record in the 3 mile, finishing in the top 70 in the nation in 2018 and 2019. In track and field, she holds the Oakland Section record in three events: the 1500m, the 1600m, and the 3000m. In addition, Wikstrom was the 2018 and 2019 Oakland Section champion in the 800m, 1600m and 4x400m (along with three of her teammates).
Off the field, Wikstrom is a stand-out student, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She plans to attend Harvard University later this year.
“I am excited by this award because I know that it represents something bigger than myself,” said Wikstrom. “I think that this honor reflects a lot of what I have tried to do throughout my career - to represent our historically-overlooked city at championship meets around the state, to set cross country and track records that give current and future Oakland athletes a new understanding of what is possible, and to model excellence in academics in a public school system that has faced challenges with resources and that outsiders often look down upon," the teen said. "Everything I am is a result of the community that surrounds me. Everything I do is in hopes of exalting the community that has shaped my life.”
Skyline High School senior Eleanor Wikstrom has been named one of the California Interscholastic Federation's two Scholar-Athletes of the Year for 2020. (Oakland Unified School Dist.)
Wikstrom has also come in first place four times in the Oakland Unified School District's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Festival and was the city of Oakland's vice youth poet laureate for 2019.
"The purpose of all of the hard work, the discomfort, and the sacrifice was the pursuit of excellence, which never really ends," Wikstrom said. "In this way, it is perhaps because I never considered an award like this to be the end goal that I ultimately ended up winning it."
Wikstrom said she plans to join the cross country and track and field teams at Harvard, where she said "hopefully in person," she planned to study government and English on a pre-med track. Her goal is to eventually work for the United Nations or as a member of Congress, focusing on education policy and humanitarian aid.
"Not only does she set a remarkable example for her classmates and the students coming up behind her, Ms. Wikstrom is also a vivid reflection of Oakland, the community she credits with making her who she is," Oakland Unified Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said.
Wikstrom will receive a $5,000 scholarship for being named the CIF's top student-athlete. Another 20 student-athletes, including Carla Franco-Felix and David Robles from Coliseum College Preparatory Academy in Oakland were also honored as student-athletes and earned $1,000 scholarships.
“Our CIF scholar-athletes embody the principles of education-based athletics,” said CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti said congratulating the 2020 CIF Scholar-Athletes of the Year. “They are certainly examples of all that is positive during these challenging times.”
Bay City News contributed to this report.