The March-like conditions -- temperatures plunging 25 degrees below average and into the 60s with intermittent rain throughout -- left it up to the great to survive Saturday in the 93rd edition of the CIF State Track and Field Championships.
Clovis West High senior Anginae Monteverde, stirring the crowd as much as anyone in the two-day event at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium, won the girls pole vault at 13 feet, 6 inches -- No. 2 all-time in the Central Section, No. 5 all-time in the United States and No. 3 in the nation this season.
Trabuco Hills-Mission Viejo's Jantzen Oshier, in the 1,600-meter run (4 minutes, 0.83 seconds), and Vista Murrieta's Jovonte Slater, in the long jump (24-101/2), delivered nation-leading marks for the season.
Amy Weissenbach of Harvard Westlake-Los Angeles did better, scorching a National Federation High School all-time record 2:02.04 in the 800.
So good was her time, it beats the best posted this year by U.S. collegians.
And then there was Jenna Prandini.
For one last extraordinary time.
Closing her career like no one has in Central Section history, the Clovis senior won three gold medals.
And if that wasn't enough, it was how she won them that had her huge hometown following -- to say nothing of a growing army of out-of-area admirers -- leaping off the chilled aluminum bleachers.
In the long jump, defending champion Prandini fouled on her first attempt before unloading a 19-113/4 in the rain on her second attempt. The nation's fourth-leading leap this season would easily hold up for the gold.
A few minutes later, recovering from "one of the worst starts of my career," she overcame a 3-meter deficit and eventually chased down Kylie Price of Bishop Amat-La Puente at the wire to win the 100 in 11.69.
And finally in the 200, Prandini's rocket start begged one of the nation's finest, Akawkaw Ndipagbor of Long Beach Poly, to catch her. But the USC-bound senior and prohibitive favorite in the race couldn't as Prandini won in 23.81.
The legacy was complete.
"I feel great after this day," Prandini said. "I don't know if it will sink in [today]. I'm just really happy with the performance; I couldn't ask for more."
History will record these numbers:
- The three golds in a single state meet is a section record and tied for second in state annals.
And to think it all unfolded in her own backyard in a meet her father -- Clovis North area superintendent Carlo Prandini -- played an influential role in bringing to Clovis.
"Awesome," his Oregon-bound daughter said. "Just looking up in the stands and seeing all my family and friends cheering me on really helped me out and pushed me. I did it for them -- my family, my friends and the crowd all rooting me on. It's just an awesome feeling."
Many others from the section left feeling accomplished as well, if just not as golden.
After two consecutive years of totaling 18 medals (top six), the section finished with 17.
Included was a third-place finish by Buchanan's boys in the 400 relay.
The quartet of junior Jared Cape, senior Chris Brusenback, sophomore Billy East and junior Tyler Wonnell clocked 41.64 for the section's best finish in the event since Bakersfield placed second in 1995.
"They're all fast, so fast, I just wanted to hold on," Bears anchor Wonnell said a day after they timed 41.37 in the preliminaries, the eighth-best time in section history.
The slightly slower time was typical Saturday for all events 400 meters or shorter. The weather put a damper on many performances.
But it didn't hurt as bad as expected at the gate. Meet co-director Roger Oraze was tickled by a finals crowd of 7,115 -- albeit more than 2,000 fewer than the first two years at Buchanan.
"I'm amazed," he said. "I think it's a great tribute to people in the Valley and a lot of fans out of the area who are committed to supporting track and appreciate the quality of the meet."
Testament to the quality of the nation's premier prep meet, the section -- even without medaling -- posted some of the area's best marks all time.
Bullard's Ali Teliha, a sophomore, finished eighth in the 1,600 at 4:49.73 -- No. 3 in section history. Only Mission Prep's Jordan Hasay (4:39.13, 2007) and North's Linda Goen (4:44.8, 1979) have done better.
Exeter's Katie Fry was seventh in the 800 at 2:09.78 -- No. 4 behind Goen (2:05.43, 1977), Central's Kristie Johnston (2:08.64, 1994) and Hasay (2:09.64, 2009).