Carlo Prandini, as a 9.7-second college sprinter in the 100-yard dash in the early 1970s, could run. Theresa Ray (now Prandini), as a 17-foot long jumper at Memorial during the same era, had some springs.
And that’s where it began for Jenna Prandini — The Bee’s girls track and field Athlete of the Year — who has blended parental genes with passion and comfort on the athletic stage to become one of the greatest prep track and field performers in central San Joaquin Valley history.
“I haven’t really thought about it that much,” the Clovis High sophomore said of a four-gold performance in the Central Section finals matched by only Madera’s Kim Young (1968) in the 93-year history of the meet. “I mean, it’s cool.”
Cool, but perhaps not shocking under the Prandini roof.
Mom recalls Jenna as a third-grader at Clovis Unified’s Mickey Cox Elementary School.
“She’s fiddling around [in track] and hanging with the older kids,” Theresa Prandini said. “And by the time she was in fifth grade, she was beating the sixth-graders, so we could tell she had natural ability.”
Jenna Prandini’s marks this season of 11.81 in the 100, 24.48 in the 200 and 39-9 in the triple jump rank, in order, No. 4, No. 9 and No. 4, in section history. And her season-best 19-1 3/4 in the long jump is third all-time for a section sophomore. The 100 and triple jump marks are No. 1 all-time for the section’s sophomore class. She placed sixth in the triple jump at the state meet. “I’ll try to do better at state,” she said. “That’s the next thing.” The reporter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 441-6336.
About Jenna Prandini
Vitals: Clovis, sophomore, 100/200/long jump/triple jump
She’s qualified because: In winning the 100 meters (11.84), 200 (24.56), long (18-7) and triple (38-10) jumps, she became only the second athlete — regardless of gender — to score four golds in the 93-year history of the Central Section championships while powering the Cougars to their second girls team title in school annals. Then she placed sixth in the state finals in the triple jump (39-9).
He said it: “To a casual observer, it’s just another event; but it’s difficult for an athlete to focus on four events, it’s a difficult thing to pull off. Even though she’s young, she’s very experienced as an athlete, and not just in track. She has played basketball and volleyball. She’s very comfortable — very comfortable — on the athletic field.” — Cougars co-coach Greg Friesen.