Ex-Central High star Willie Alexander leaped to a runner-up finish Thursday in the men's long jump at the NCAA Track and Field Championships, where Day 2 highlights included Jenna Prandini's continued march on a triple medal weekend.
Alexander, a Long Beach State sophomore, recorded his top mark of 25 feet, 4½ inches on his first try at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., and it stood up through two more preliminary rounds in a field of 24 and three in the nine-man final. It was an inch off his personal best.
Florida junior Marquis Dendy was the winner, with his best of 26-3 coming on his final attempt, although he had been leading since the first round.
"We are extremely proud of Willie and this accomplishment," Long Beach State coach Andy Sythe was quoted on the school's athletics website. "He is the NCAA runner-up and only a sophomore. I am also thrilled with what Coach (Greg) Magee has done with our horizontal jumps program and preparing Willie to perform at this championship."
Alexander was an honorable mention All-American in 2013 and now the first 49ers' first-teamer since Chris Richardson in 2008. Alexander also recorded Long Beach State's best individual finish at the NCAA Outdoors since Borya Celentano was second in the men's pole vault in 1998.
Oregon and former Clovis High standout Prandini, meanwhile, continued her pursuit of a possible gold medal trifecta. Competing on her home track at the Ducks' Hayward Field, she advanced to the final in the 200-meter sprint with the best time of the three qualifying heats in 22.95 seconds.
Texas A&M's Kamaria Brown was second in 22.99.
Prandini won the women's long jump (21-6) and qualified for the finals in the 100 (a personal-best 11.11 seconds) on Wednesday.
The 100 final is set for 5:07 p.m. Friday, while the 200 final goes off at 2:49 p.m. Saturday.
Oregon's men led the team standings with 26 points, two more than Georgia. On the women's side, Oregon kept its lead with 19 points, ahead of a group with 10.