She peeled off her blue sweats, then a pair of blue tights, and then another.
Three layers in all – never too many to warm a delicate hamstring muscle that's thrown a couple of minor tantrums, leaving in jeopardy the end of the senior season for the most accomplished female track and field competitor in Central Section history.
Then the moment of truth just before 4 p.m. Thursday for Clovis All-American Jenna Prandini in the triple jump at the Tri-River Athletic Conference Championships at Clovis East: the approach, the hop, the skip and the jump.
It measured 39 feet, 43/4 inches in her first attempt of the season.
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The mark happens to be fifth-best in the state this season – extraordinary considering it was her first try.
But that was inconsequential.
Her smile as she walked away from the pit represented not the distance, but the length of an apparent successful rehabilitation that returned her to competition for the first time in a month following a second tightness of the right hamstring this season.
"I was nervous," she said, "just nervous about what if something happened? The triple jump made me feel a little more confident and helped me get through the day."
A day geared for accomplishing nothing more than qualifying for next week's North Area meet in the 200, long and triple jumps (she had already qualified in the 100) turned out to be a ringing statement throughout the state.
Prandini won four gold medals while establishing a state season best for all conditions in the 100 (wind-aided 11.72 seconds); blowing away the previous state best with a legal 200 (23.99) that narrowly missed a Central Section record; and delivering a state season sixth best in the long jump (18-111/4).
"I'm pretty happy with it," she said.
The performance left her coach, Greg Friesen, in awe.
"I don't know if I could have written a better script," he said. "It just shows what she does when she turns it on on game day."
Bears boys, CW girls roll
Buchanan's boys and Clovis West girls ran away with the team titles as expected.
The Bears boys did so by unveiling speed to match their signature strength in middle and distance races as senior Chris Brusenback won the 100 (10.80) and 200 (wind-aided 21.59) and contributed legs to winning 400 (school-record 41.90) and 1,600 (3:24.52) relays.
Two sets of sisters powered the Golden Eagles girls.
Alyssa Monteverde won the 100 (14.13) and 300 (44.56) hurdles and placed second in the 100 (12.49). And twin Anginae won the pole vault (12-0), placed second in the 100 hurdles (14.86) and third in the long jump (16-71/4).
Senior Nonny Okwelogu won the shot put (41-31/4) and took second in the discus (136-4), and sophomore Nikki Okwelogu won the discus (143-7) and placed second in the shot (40-8).
- Central's B.J. Kelley won the boys' 400 in 47.95 – No. 1 in the section and No. 6 in the state this season.