Jenna Prandini's high school career at a glimpse (with event, section finish and state finish):
2008: 100 (2nd, 10th); long jump (1st, 4th); triple jump (2nd, DNE)
2009: 100 (1st, 10th); 200 (1st, DNE); long jump (1st, DNP); triple jump (1st, 6th)
2010: 100 (1st, 2nd); 200 (1st, DNE); long jump (1st, 1st); triple jump (1st, 1st)
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2011: 100 (1st, 1st); 200 (1st, 1st); long jump (1st, 1st); triple jump (1st, DNE)
DNP: did not place. DNE: did not enter
State record: Only athlete to win career gold medals combined in 100, 200, long jump and triple jump
Section records: Section career gold medals (13), section single-meet gold medals (4, 3x), state career gold medals (5), state single-meet gold medals (3), state career total medals (tie, 8)
Dad insists she's just "a normal girl," and that's where the challenge begins in trying to run down Jenna Prandini.
What in a national long jump champion, five-time state gold medalist, B'nai B'rith winner, Clovis High honor student, homecoming queen and student body president can truly be defined as "normal?"
What is "normal" about joining the pantheon of state-great females in track and field – from Marion Jones to Angela Williams, Janeene Vickers and Allyson Felix?
What is "normal" about matching Olympian Leamon King (Delano) as the only eight-time state medalist – regardless of gender – in Central Section history reaching to 1915?
Maybe this, and if it isn't normal, it's a kid thing: mom-prepared potatoes, splashed with ketchup and a side of Fruit Loops.
Every morning of every meet in three years for Prandini.
Potatoes and Fruit Loops.
"For good luck," says The Bee's Girls Athlete of the Year in track and field for the third consecutive season.
And there's more.
So dependent is Prandini also on her mother's lasagna the night before a meet, she recently declined to eat at a CIF awards dinner in favor of scarfing the pasta at home.
Carlo Prandini, then, apparently isn't just wrapping a facade around his golden girl.
His 18-year-old daughter, while graceful, explosive and seemingly flawless in technique, is normal enough to hang onto superstitions – gotta have that lasagna at night, morning potatoes and, by golly, don't forget the Fruit Loops.
Now the problem – surely a dietary roadblock in the Northwest.
Chances are they won't be serving that combination at the training table in Eugene, Ore. – aka "Track Town, USA" – where Prandini will compete for the Oregon Ducks: "I don't know, I might have to switch it a little bit."
Robert Johnson isn't concerned about the athlete who overcame a four-month hamstring problem to capture the 100, 200 and long jump at the June 4 state finals at Buchanan.
Oregon's associate head coach in charge of sprints and horizontal jumps welcomes arguably the nation's most versatile track and field prep female two years running in Prandini.
"If you look at what she's done there in her high school career," he says, "I would expect I'm getting a stud."
Johnson says he anticipates Prandini will concentrate on the long and triple jumps in college, but that the door remains open for sprints and relays as well.
"Who would have known she'd be that fast," he says of the section record-holder in the 100 (11.34), 200 (23.75) and triple jump (41-9.75) and third-best long jumper (20-4.25).
Prandini will have one last shot to break the section 40-year long jump record of 20-7 by Riverdale's Daralee Roberts in the Pan American Juniors Championships from July 22-24 in Miramar, Fla.
Johnson marvels at her potential in the long jump: "Few jumpers overall have that type of sprint speed coming down the runway."
The explanations for Prandini's ability are many:
- Dad could run (9.7 college sprinter in the early 1970s).
- Mom could jump (the then-Theresa Ray was a 17-foot long jumper at Memorial in the same era).
- Daughter can run, jump, is taller (5-9) than both and is a fighter.
That's hardly been seen in public for a person who's unfailingly polite, soft-spoken and generally shy around adults. But her will to win was displayed like never before when she roared from far behind to catch Bishop Amat-La Puente's Kylie Price at the wire to win the state 100.
Prandini, who had a horrible start, timed 11.69. Price, who had a terrific start, timed 11.72 in cool, wet conditions.
Price's start, Buchanan coach Brian Weaver says, "was the best start I've seen in high school. For Jenna to win was absolutely amazing, her focus, competitiveness and not stressing.
"How she handles herself athletically is very, very mature. Obviously, she has a lot of God-given ability and support across the board. But she's super, super competitive and coaches can't make that, it comes from within. And that's special."
Most special for Prandini was climbing atop the state medal stand after winning the 100.
Not beating boys 4 years older than her when she was only 8. Not the section runaway record 13 golds. Not being crowned homecoming queen.
Not even a bowl of Fruit Loops.
"I definitely didn't want to lose that race," says Prandini, the section's first 100 and 200 champion in the 38-year history of state competition for girls.
"I wanted to defend my title in the long jump and I wanted to do really good in the 200. But my goal was to win that 100 – that's what I wanted to win the most."