Clovis High Alum Reaches Olympic Semifinals in Tokyo

Jenna Prandini, who graduated from Clovis High in 2011, ran two events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It was her second time competing in the Olympics. (Courtesy of Kevin Morris)

The three words were painted on storefronts in Old Town Clovis and printed on signs staked in front lawns around town.

“Go, Jenna, Go!”

With her hometown fully showing its support for her, Jenna Prandini competed 5,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean, running in the women’s 100-meter and 200-meter sprint events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Clovis High alum qualified for the 200m dash at the U.S Olympic Track & Field Trials last month, finishing second in the final with a time of 21.89 seconds. She later learned that she also qualified in the 100m dash after Trials first-place finisher Sha’Carri Richardson was pulled due to testing positive for a banned substance.

Prandini ran her first round 100m heat on Thursday, July 29, and finished third with a time of 11.11. She qualified for the Saturday morning semifinal, but did not advance to the final, running another 11.11 to finish 14th out of 23 semifinalists.

Her Olympics did not end there, however.

A day later, Prandini ran away with first place in the opening round of the 200m dash, her main event. Running in Lane 2, she made up for the staggered start in the first 100 meters and kept her lead over the last 100.

She coasted the final 10 meters and finished with a time of 22.56, placing her in the semifinal round that took place only eight hours later.

Prandini competed in the 200m semifinal at 3:25 a.m. PDT Monday morning. She started strong, holding second over the first 150 meters of the race. Yet she faded in the final 50 and finished fifth in her heat, even though her time (22.57) was only a millisecond slower than her first round first-place finish.

Finishing 13th out of 25 semifinalists, Prandini did not qualify for the 200m final, bringing her individual events to an end.

TrackTown USA, where Prandini competed during her collegiate career at the University of Oregon, tweeted after Prandini’s last race: “Proud of our duck.”

Clovis showed its pride too throughout Prandini’s time at the Olympics, especially during her highlight moment in Tokyo.

After Prandini’s first round 200m victory, the NBC broadcast showed video of a watch party in Clovis, with Jenna’s parents, Carlo and Theresa, celebrating with a joyful group of onlookers.

“That’s terrific,” the race broadcaster noted. “That might be the most packed friends and family scene that we have seen of any of the athletes here in track and field.”

Every shirt visible in the Clovis crowd had three words: “Go, Jenna, Go!”

Gabriel Camarillo has written for the Clovis Roundup since August 2019 and follows high school athletics, Fresno State football and former Clovis Unified student-athletes. Gabe also writes for The Collegian as a staff sports writer and works at One Putt Broadcasting as a board op for 940 ESPN radio.