In a practical approach becoming popular at high school track and field meets, they provided sweat shirts, T-shirts and medal keychains to the top placers Saturday in the West Coast Relays at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The WCR-emblazoned sweat shirts went to winners from the invitational sections involving the best of the 1,300 athletes in the meet, resulting in a garment giveaway for Jenna Prandini.
The Clovis sophomore, in a grand slam performance, won the 100 meters (12.24), 200 (24.68), long jump (18-103/4) and triple jump (39-31/2), receiving a sweat shirt one by one, and then distributing them to teammates.
Central's Brendon Bigelow, another Central Section super soph, has two new sweat shirts to wear or share after winning the 200 (22.07) and 400 (48.74).
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The pair's marks were solid, yet somewhat shackled, on a marvelous 68-degree day when 1 to 3 mph headwinds -- while actually comforting for any outdoor function excluding track and field -- proved unfriendly in virtually every event.
Times and distances on April 4, however, hardly matter to Prandini and Bigelow, but this does: They're healthy.
For Prandini, she's competing without discomfort after a 2008 season restricted by a torn labrum in her hip. Still, she placed fourth in the state in the long jump, and first in the section in the long jump and second in the 100 and triple jump.
This season, she leads the section in the 100 (11.94), 200 (24.68), and triple (39-3 1/2) and long (19-0) jumps. And, in the state, she's first in the triple, third in the 200 and long jump, and fourth in the 100.
"I feel in a lot better shape because of my hip," she said. "I never really trained last year except for the league and Valley. I feel feel good; I'm really happy with what I did today."
Even more relieved is Bigelow, who exploded upon the state scene last year by placing second in the 200 (21.43) after sweeping the 100 (10.62) and 200 (21.29) in the section. But, a month ago, he collapsed on the Buchanan Olympic-class track when his hip gave way while anchoring a 400 relay: "I thought my season was over. My hip flexor was completely gone."
Yet Saturday's performance, while admittedly running a big "scared," signaled good health.
"I took a chance," he said, "but I'm recovering pretty good."
Hasay out with ailment
Jordan Hasay, the 2008 Gatorade Girls National Cross Country Runner of the Year from Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo, scratched from the 800 because of an illness.
The Oregon-bound senior, a four-time state cross country champion, three-time state track and field queen in the 3,200 and sure marquee entrant here in June's state finals, was scheduled to run the 800 Saturday for speed work.
She's rarely competed in the event, yet ranks third in section history at 2:09.92.
*Mater Dei-Santa Ana's state-leading Michael Woepse cleared 15-3 in the pole vault to edge Clovis East's Michael Peterson (14-9) on a day they didn't challenge their personal bests in part, no doubt, to approaches into headwinds. Woepse entered with a best of 16-4; Peterson, a section-leading 15-7. "Disappointing," Peterson said. "I was mentally pumped for today."
*Central senior Lasasha Aldredge won the girls 400 in 56.28 -- best in the section and No. 4 in the state this season. She placed third in the section last year at 58.12.
*Clovis junior Saylah Barsarian, last year's section 1,600 champion, won the 3,200 in a personal record and section season best 10:56.15.
*Buchanan's boys dominated the distances with section season bests as Jonathan Sanchez clocked 4:15.12 in the 1,600 and Heath Reedy 9:15.12 in the 3,200. In state rankings, that elevated Sanchez to No. 3 and Reedy to No. 8.
*The competitors and fans were treated to a new $140,000 scoreboard that stood 14 feet, 9 inches in height, 25-9 in width, and -- in bright red numbering on a black background -- displayed results instantaneously as linked to electronic timing on the facility's southeast end.
*The meet closed with a mix of unsportsmanlike conduct and class when Ridgeview coach Adam Setser disqualified his 1,600 relay team after its anchor runner, while racing the Wolfpack to victory, grandstanded down the stretch. Typically, the behavior draws a warning from meet officials, but Setser insisted on the DQ, which was accepted while elevating Buchanan to first place.
Rival events snarl parking
Parking was a problem in part because of the softball games being played adjacent to the stadium for the Clovis Easter Classic.
This forced many track and softball fans to line their cars down Nees and Minnewawa avenues.
The issue will be alleviated during the state meet when the school's soccer fields will be converted into parking lots, accommodating 2,500 cars.