We love sports not just for the action and the competition. We love sports for the narrative. For the story. The ability to inspire.
So we’ve been mesmerized by the journey of Jannell Hadnot, the Tokay High senior who endured a horrible disappointment at last year’s state meet.
Hadnot, by all accounts, is bouyant and smart and down-to-earth. She’s a hard worker, a caring teammate and quick to flash a bright smile.
She’s also a mega-talented athlete who went to the state CIF track and field meet last year as one of the favorites in the triple jump, an event that demands a gazelle-like blend of speed, power and balance.
Alas, Jannell fouled all three of her first jumps and did not advance. She would later say she just felt numb.
She came back this year determined to prevail. She set new records during the regular season and was awarded a scholarship to the University of New Mexico.
Still, the state meet loomed, a remarkable confluence of athletic skill drawn from San Diego to the Siskiyous. Just qualifying for the event is a high honor.
But Hadnot, with one of the best marks in California this season, did not want a repeat of last year.
She wanted a medal.
Last Saturday, in the finals, Jannell had one more jump. She streaked down the runway at Buchanan Field in Clovis. She slapped the take-off board, bounded high and landed deep in the sand pit.
The measurement: 40 feet, 3 and a half inches.
Her feat was good enough for the silver medal.
Talk about redemption.
Her performance is believed to be the best finish at the state meet of any athlete in Tokay history.
That’s a happy ending.
Congrats, Jannell, and best of luck in New Mexico.