Clovis News: Sports

Clovis' Prandini secures 2 state golds

Jenna Prandini hopped off the medal stand, another gold piled into her treasury, and acknowledged rousing applause from family, friends and an army of new fans at the CIF State Track and Field Championships on Saturday night.

"A legend in these parts, you've now moved it up a notch," said Dixon Farmer, whose on-field interviews with winners were carried live over the public address system at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium.

And with that, Prandini's day was complete, a performance that ranks among the finest in the 37-year history of girls competition on the state level.

The Clovis junior won the long (20-53/4) and triple (42-71/4) jumps and placed second in the 100 meters (11.42 seconds) while scoring all of her team's 28 points, which placed second to Long Beach Poly's 51.33 for the girls' team title.

"It was amazing, I'm just really excited," Prandini said. "I never expected this to happen, and I'm just really happy it did. I've been working really, really hard, and it's paying off."

Prandini's versatility -- among the best in the United States, given her national top 10 marks in all three events -- set the standard for a Central Section that displayed plenty of it.

The section delivered speed, jumping ability and, above all, muscle in the throws while landing 19 medals, including five golds.

The section, which had swept the boys and girls shot put and discus the past two years, nearly pulled the trick again.

Defending champion Matt Darr of Frontier (63-93/4) and Clovis East's Willy Irwin (207-8) won the shot and discus in the boys competition, and Stockdale's Alex Collatz (170-9) placed first in the girls discus.

All it took to deny Prandini a golden hat trick was a nation-leading 11.17 by St. Elizabeth-Oakland's Ashton Purvis in the 100 -- second only to Marion Jones' 11.14 in state history.

"I felt a little nervous in the finals," Miami-bound Purvis said after jumping in last year's preliminaries. "But I was more motivated to run fast -- and [Prandini] helped."

The much-anticipated race occurred after Purvis (11.22) and Prandini (11.34) smoked the nation's best times with barely wind-legal efforts in the prelims.

Later Saturday, Purvis -- with another hardly wind-legal (1.8 meters per second) -- dash, obliterated the field with a nation-leading 22.90 in the 200.

And such excellence wasn't uncommon in the second running of the nation's premier prep track and field event at Buchanan, drawing 9,572 fans Saturday and a total of 17,358 for the two days.

Clovis West's Alyssa Monteverde, another junior who has combined with Prandini to win 16 golds in the Central Section finals, ran into part of the remarkable competition.

All she did was scorch a 42.00 in the 300 low hurdles -- No. 1 in section history -- only to place third to the nation's top times of the season by Claremont's Kori Carter (40.44) and James Logan-Union City's Thandi Stewart (40.45).

"I'm so excited with third place and happy to be here," said Monteverde, whose twin sister, Anginae, placed sixth in the pole vault.

Buchanan's Holly Waseloff tied for third in the event to medal for the second straight year.

Alyssa Monteverde also just missed another medal (top six) by placing seventh in the 100 high hurdles (13.96).

Carter, coached by former Fresno State conference hurdling champion Richard Holmes, also charged late to win the 100 hurdles (13.33) for her fifth career gold medal. Only these two carried special meaning, given a recent bout with mononucleosis that kept her out of practice for two weeks and nearly prevented her from qualifying for the state.

"I didn't want the mono to be an excuse," said Carter, who's headed for Stanford. "I said, 'This isn't in my hands; I'm over it, so I might as well go for it.' That was my mentality."

In the girls 400, Serra-Gardena freshman Chimere Ezumah clocked 52.97 to upset Deer Valley-Antioch's Chizoba (53.42), who was ranked third nationally entering the race in 53.06. Ezumah's time is No. 2 in the nation this season and No. 1 all-time for a freshman in the state.

Then to follow was the boys 400 matching the nation's leaders in Don Lugo-Chino's Josh Mance and Serra-Gardena's Robert Woods. Mance improved his national standard to 45.90 as Woods (46.21) charged too late to settle for the silver.

-- Valencia-Placentia's Sean Krinik, who had recently lost his national lead in the 800, snagged it right back by blowing past Burbank's Greg Dotson with 300 meters to go to win in 1:48.20. That was also tied for No. 5 all-time in state history. Dotson's 1:49.40 is No. 3 in the U.S. this year.

-- Buchanan senior Heath Reedy placed seventh in the boys 3,200 (8:59.58) with the eighth-best time in section history.

-- Long Beach Poly girls 1,600 relay team won in a nation-leading 3:39.15.