Pride on full display: Oakland parade for 2 state champion girls basketball teams
OAKLAND, Calif. (BCN) - It was pride on full display in Oakland Friday as two championship girls basketball teams from Oakland high schools wound their way through the streets on trollies for their victory parade.
"It's an accomplishment for me. I've never done this before. I just played basketball for the sport and the fun of it. I never thought it would ever go this far," said star Oakland Tech player, Stephanie Okowi.
The parade wound its way through dozens of neighborhoods.
Players from the state champion Oakland High School Wildcats and Oakland Technical High School Bulldogs received a police escort as they rode in the open-air, cheer teams and state dignitaries were on hand to celebrate.
Oakland Tech won the state trophy in the girls' division four by defeating a school from Southern California last month.%INLINE%
The celebration on wheels kicked off at Oakland Tech at 12:30 p.m. before it slowly cruised past 10 other schools before taking a turn through downtown Oakland and ending up at city hall at about 2 p.m.
The rolling celebration kicked off at Oakland Tech at 12:30 p.m. and will slowly cruise past 10 other schools before taking a turn though downtown Oakland and ending up at city hall about 2 p.m. for a banquet and rally that begins at 4 p.m.%INLINE%
"We love celebrating these girls," Oakland Unified School District spokesman John Sasaki said. "These are remarkable student athletes. Anytime you win a state championship, that's a huge thing. When you win two, that's historic."%INLINE%
Never before have two girls basketball teams from Oakland held state championship laurels at the same time, Sasaki said.
The Wildcats took home their first state title ever on March 8 when they won the California Division 3 Championship, besting a team from Kern County. The Bulldogs won their first title in 14 years after coming out on top in the Division 4 Championship game on March 9, according to Sasaki. %INLINE%
"This will be a perfect celebration for our girls," Sasaki said. "It's all about making sure that they know how valued they are in the city of Oakland and at OUSD."
In addition to the 10 minute stops at their respective home schools, the champions visited Lincoln, Franklin, Cleveland, and Bella Vista elementary schools, in addition to La Escuelita and MetWest High, Dewey and Street academies, and Westlake and Edna Brewer middle schools.
The girls served as an inspiration to younger students.%INLINE%
"Seeing these girls and winning championships. It is really encouraging," Ayah Veinelavdin, an eighth grader from Edna Brewer Middle School.
"We are winners in Oakland. And it says a lot about who we are as people," said Rasia Thornton from Oakland Tech.%INLINE%
Joining them on their journey around the city were state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Alameda.
Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA player Ruthie Bolton also attended the city hall rally.%INLINE%
The two teams are scheduled to travel to Sacramento later this month were they will be honored by state lawmakers at the capital.
KTVU's Rob Roth contributed to this report. %INLINE%