Oakwood High sophomore Annie Rickard looks to hit CCS qualifying times in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events for the second year in a row.

What the Oakwood High swimming and track and field teams lack in facilities and numbers, they make up for with hard work and talent. One has to look no further than sophomore Annie Rickard, who is one of just two—yes, two—athletes that make up the swim team (freshman Brendon Tompkins is the other).
A year ago, Rickard qualified for the Central Coast Section Meet in the 200-yard freestyle and 500 free. The track and field team is also small relative to most of the programs in the CCS, but that hasn’t deterred it from producing strong performances. The Hawks’ best performers thus far include Maryam Moghaddami, Hannah Selby, Kate Marcotullio and Jeb Goldman, who has come on particularly strong this season.
The junior has established personal-records (PRs) in his three main events: the 800-meter run, 1600 and 3200. In those respective events, Goldman has times of 2:22.38, 4:57.77 and 11:20.61. Last year, Moghaddami advanced to the CCS Trials in the 100, 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. The junior is close to nailing PRs in both hurdles events and has also done well in the long jump, hitting 15 feet in a Mission Trail League Cluster Meet last Thursday.
Hawks coach Karen Arnold expressed pride when talking about the team, noting Moghaddami’s ability and determination.
“As the season progresses, she will be dropping her times,” Arnold said. “She is a very focused individual, knows what she wants and definitely works to get there in a positive way.”
Selby has been remarkably consistent this season, high jumping either 4-6 or 4-8 in all seven meets. Arnold said Selby is fine-tuning her technique, which will lead to bigger jumps as the season goes on.
“We only anticipate her getting higher from here,” Arnold said. “We’re small, but we feel mighty as a team.”
Arnold also expressed pride in the athletes’ achievements off the track, pointing out that Selby leads a creative writing class and Moghaddami is actively involved at her mosque. Oakwood’s swim team members also excel academically and are well-rounded in the endeavors they pursue.
Take Rickard, who is involved with five—count ‘em, five—clubs on campus. Rickard is the vice president of the school’s Interact Club, the projected president of the club for the next school year and started a new club on campus to help special-needs children. Her younger brother, Matthew, a seventh grader at Gilroy Prep, has Down’s syndrome.
Rickard’s close relationship with her brother can be a life lesson for others to get beyond the surface level and embrace the differences in others.
“He’s definitely helped me to really see that so many people simply ignore people who need help because they can’t see past the differences,” she said. “But once you do, it’s a pleasure to get to know and help people.”
Like most high level swimmers at the high school level, Rickard works out twice a day, the first starting at 5:30 a.m. and the second session in the afternoon after school. Rickard and her mom, Jackie, displayed dedication in helping to start Oakwood’s first-ever swim team last year.
Jackie Rickard’s reasoning for becoming the program’s first-ever swim coach was simple.
“I wouldn’t have done this if it wasn’t for her love for swimming and the camaraderie that comes with it,” she said. “When kids show dedication, you can’t deny it.”
Annie Rickard said it’s been great having Tompkins on the team.
“It’s nice to have someone who can watch the other and give feedback or tell how your form looked,” she said. “Last year was fun, but it’s really helpful to have a friend go with you to these meets.”
Since Oakwood doesn’t have a home pool, Rickard and Tompkins usually practice at the Morgan Hill Aquatic Center. In addition to having goals to make the CCS Meet again, Rickard wants to place in the top 15 in her events this season and advance to the CIF State Meet by her senior season. It’s a lofty goal, but Rickard has shown she’s willing to put in the long hours to reach it.
“Sometimes it’s hard to stay determined when you keep on practicing but don’t see improvement,” she said. “But after all these years, you realize if you stick with something long enough, you will get there.”

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