The fastest time in the world. That was what Oregon redshirt sophomore sprinter Jenna Prandini was told after she crossed the finish line at the Aztec Invitational.
“I was surprised. I didn’t have any idea what I ran when I crossed the finish line,” Prandini said. “My family was all there and my little cousins were cheering so loud, so it was cool that I was able to do it there.”
Prandini’s official time in the 200-meter dash was 22.98, which was not only the fastest time in the world this year, but a meet record and a personal best.
“I had no anticipation of setting any times or anything like that,” Oregon head coach Robert Johnson said. “The purpose of going down there was to train. For some of those kids to perform the way that they did is definitely shocking.”
For Prandini, the Aztec Invitational set the tone for what she hopes will be a strong season. With the momentum she gained in San Diego, Prandini headed into the Oregon Pepsi Dual meet Saturday. While she didn’t set any more world record times, Prandini continued to build upon what she hopes will be a strong season.
At the dual meet, she competed in the long jump, 100-meter dash and the 4×100 meter relay.
The closest race of the day for Prandini came in the 100-meter as she barely outkicked teammate Jasmine Todd to win the race with a time of 11.42. Todd finished only .04 seconds behind her.
“The start wasn’t very good, but I just had to run a good race,” Prandini said.
The battle between Todd and Prandini continued as both had strong showings in the long jump. This time, Prandini dropped the event to Todd, finishing second with a jump of 6.19 meters.
The final event she competed in was the 4×100, with Prandini running the third leg in a group featuring Marybeth Sant, Phyllis Francis and Todd. While the Ducks got off to a fast start, the team faltered in the handoff between Prandini and Todd. They couldn’t get the baton passed within the zone — resulting in their disqualification.
“We were both at long jump and didn’t really have that much time to practice beforehand,” Prandini said. “We have a lot of work to do in that race. There is a lot of room for improvement, which is really exciting.”
Despite the finish at the dual meet, the 4×100 relay is another event in which Prandini could set records for the Ducks.
“The 4×100 has a lot of hope this season,” Prandini said. “As long as we can get our passes and our handoffs right I think we should be able to run a really fast time.”
Johnson also believes that with all the talented newcomers on the relay team, it should post strong times this season.
“For the first time ever I think we have pieces,” Johnson said. “We’ve been fortunate, we’ve been blessed. Those kids are really doing a good job.”
The dual meet was just one more step in what should be a record-setting season for Prandini.
Follow Chris Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur