Tokay’s Jannell Hadnot bounds into her first state meet in the triple jump

Joelle Milholm/News-Sentinel

CIF State track and field championships

When: Friday and Saturday.

Where: Buchanan High School’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Clovis.

Who: Tokay High sophomore Jannell Hadnot will be competing in the long jump. Lodi High sophomore Cassidy Daley will be running in the 3,200-meter run.

Admission: Friday — $10 for adults and $7 for children, seniors and students with high school IDs. Saturday — $12 for adults and $8 for children, seniors and students with high school IDs.

Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 11:58 am, Thu Jun 2, 2011.

By Joelle Milholm News-Sentinel Staff Writer | 0 comments

Competing in the triple jump is complex, requires concentration and demands grace and fluidity.

It takes time to learn the technique and athleticism to pull off being able to cover 35-plus feet in three consecutive bounds.

For Tokay High School’s Jannell Hadnot, the triple jump came naturally. Despite her sophomore status, Hadnot, the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters triple jump champion, is headed to the CIF State Track and Field Championships in Clovis to compete in the event on Friday and Saturday.

Hadnot only stands at 5-foot-4, but where she lacks in being younger and shorter, she makes up for with her athleticism and willingness to take direction and learn. And she can dance — a talent that helped her learn how to triple jump.

“It looks complicated, but I dance so once someone tells me how to do it and the moves and the rhythm of it, I have got it,” Hadnot said. “I learned how to triple jump in like 15 minutes.”

Hadnot proved that with her 37-11 1/2 mark she put up to win the Masters meet last week in Sacramento. The jump earned Hadnot her first state meet invitation, which was the goal for her sophomore season after breaking onto the field scene as a freshman last year at taking 10th at Masters in the triple jump and tying for sixth in the high jump.

“We talked quite a bit last year at Masters about going to state and setting state as a goal for this year,” Tokay head coach Chad Dragoo said. “That is what we were training for and going for and making sure she was going to peak at right time and we got there.”

While Hadnot’s track and field career in soaring in the triple jump right now, it all started with the long jump — an event she took fourth in at Masters and just missed a state qualifying bid in. The Berkeley native started competing in track and field when she was about 6 years old while living in Oakland. Even then she showed her gravity-defying ability by qualifying for the Junior Olympics and winning the long jump in her age division.

Track and field runs through her blood, as Hadnot’s mother and grandparents were athletes, and her older brother, Steven, is also a jumper at Tokay. Hadnot grew up jumping and competing with Steven. Then when Hadnot was in fifth grade, the Hadnots moved to Lodi to live with their grandfather on his 10-acre plot of land — complete with goats — in Lodi

Hadnot then drifted from the track to the court and played basketball in middle school and even her freshman year at Tokay. Then she joined her brother, who she also says is her best friend, on the Tiger track and field team.

“At first our main sport was basketball and then track got our attention,” Hadnot said. “Over the years, we fell in love in track and now basketball is just a hobby.”

This year, Hadnot qualified for Masters in the long, triple and high jump. After taking fourth in the long jump at the first day of Masters, Hadnot opted to focus solely on the triple jump on the second day and forgo the high jump. Dragoo agreed with her decision.

“She has the greatest potential in the triple jump. There is still a lot of technique that we are working on, but once she gets that down, you are just going to see her jump farther and farther,” he said. “It takes a lot of coordination and it is a tough event to get down at such a young age. She started out and was very impressive instinctually.”

Hadnot enters the state meet as the 16th seed out of 27 jumpers. James Logan’s Ciarra Brewer comes in with a jump of 43-03 1/4 — almost 2 1/2 feet longer than anyone else’s qualifying mark.

Hadnot’s personal-best mark came at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I meet on May 20 when she jumped 38-03 1/2. Now she is aiming for 39 feet, which she hopes would put her in the top nine so she can move advance to the finals on Saturday.

This week, Dragoo and Hadnot have been fine tuning her technique. Dragoo is also trying to mentally prepare her for the big crowd and hyped-up atmosphere of state. As always, Hadnot is soaking up his advice.

“She is an amazing athlete and she is incredibly coachable,” he said. “What ever you tell her to do, she will try her best and accomplish it. She is very easy and very fun to coach.”

Contact reporter Joelle Milholm at joellem@lodinews.com.