By Kyle LoJacono
It didn’t end with a state title, but Wesley Chapel senior Courtney Prengaman snapped out of a major slump during the Class 2A state track and field meet at the University of North Florida April 27.
The defending 2A state champ cleared 5-feet, 6-inches to finish as the runner-up in the high jump. Prengaman had only posted 5-2 at districts and regionals, the two meets leading up to states.
“I’m really pleased actually,” Prengaman said. “Coming out of only jumping 5-2, it was a really good day. I jumped clean, and I didn’t give up on myself. Overall it was a really good meet to end on, and I’m not at all disappointed that I didn’t win.”
Prengaman broke her own program record this year by jumping 5-8 during a meet at Sunlake, but had trouble with her technique at districts and regionals, where she placed second and third, respectively.
“It was a lack of form and finishing off my jump, because I can get significantly over the bar,” Prengaman said.
The Samford University signee said she put in a lot of training the week of states to correct the problem, but was still nervous entering her last high school meet.
“I was actually really scared a couple days before,” Prengaman said. “I was really upset about the two meets before when I left crying, but I just kind of had to remember how to high jump and went back to the basics.
“The night before I called me coach at Samford, and he just said get back in my rhythm because at 6-foot-2 I should be clearing 5-6/5-8 no problem,” she added. “That put things into perspective to me and showed me I was thinking too much. I just had to go out and do it.”
Prengaman said she felt no pressure at states, where she was the 10th seed. Her 5-6 is the same height she won with last year and tied her with Suwannee’s Logan Boss, who won the state title because she had one less attempt during the event.
“I didn’t want it to end on a low point,” Prengaman said. “It’s my last meet of high school. I feel like there was a lot of pressure to defend my title, but once I calmed down and didn’t think about how high I wanted to jump or how much I wanted to win, I think that’s what let me perform well. I took the pressure off.”
The performance earned Prengaman her second state medal in her third trip to states.
She gave special thanks to Wesley Chapel coach Brad Allen, who took the time to learn the high jump to give her the instruction needed to rise up the state rankings: “I know I wouldn’t be jumping in college without him.”
—Follow Kyle LoJacono on Twitter: @Kyle_Laker