BERKELEY -- James Logan High's Jeffrey Prothro Jr. had clinched the win in the boys triple jump Friday at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions when he started down the runway for his final attempt.
But what transpired on that attempt has made Prothro quite possibly the favorite in the event at the California Interscholastic Federation state championships next weekend.
Prothro soared 50 feet, 4 inches (wind-legal) to break the meet record of 50-2 set by Logan's Nkosinza Balumbu in 2005. Entering this weekend, no high school athlete in the state had jumped farther than 50-0 1/2 this season under any conditions according to PrepCalTrack.com.
"Now I have the confidence that I can jump 50. Now I have to duplicate it (at the state championships)," said the Texas A & M-bound Prothro. "I felt like I got all of the board. I felt like I was really patient, in terms of my phases."
The defending champion Prothro grabbed hold of the lead on his third attempt with a mark of 49-8 1/4 (wind-aided). Castro Valley's Nate Moore, who has the 50-0 1/2 mark mentioned above, placed second with a leap of 49-2 1/2.
Prothro's meet record highlighted the boys field event finals Friday at Cal's Edwards Stadium. The final day of the meet is Saturday, with field event finals starting at 9 a.m. and track finals beginning at 1:30 p.m. The top three placers in each event automatically qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation state championships.
Unlike many high jumpers, Las Lomas' Edwin Matthews doesn't measure his approach before he competes in a meet.
"Every meet, I walk out there, look at the pit and put a piece of tape down where it feels right and looks right," he said.
Matthews' intuition has certainly worked the past two weeks. After clearing 6-8 last weekend at the NCS Tri-Valley Area Championships, Matthews matched that personal record with a winning leap of 6-8 on Friday. American's David Chukwu was second with a personal record of 6-7.
Something unusual for the NCS happened in the event -- seven competitors met or surpassed the CIF at-large mark, which is 6-5. Therefore, all seven competitors qualified for the state championships.
"The pressure was getting over that 6-5 jump," Matthews said. "I knew I was going to make it to state once I did that."
Amador Valley's Matt Esparza took the lead in the boys discus on his first attempt with a mark of 169-10, and that mark turned out to be the event winner.
"I opened up where I would like to, but unforunately couldn't settle in today," said the Cal-bound Esparza, who defended his title. "There were some technique things I was happy with."
Northgate's Max Moore was second with a mark of 166-9.
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