CLOVIS — A decision on his college football future comes Monday. The pre-celebration for Logan Saldate was becoming the most celebrated track and field athlete at Palma High.
Having already put himself in the school record books earlier this year, the junior became the highest finisher in Palma school history at the CIF State championships, placing second in the long jump Saturday at Buchanan High in Clovis.
“I’m celebrating this placement with my family,” Saldate said. “There is a sense of satisfaction. I wasn’t expecting much when I took up this sport because my main sport is football. But I made it work.”
Saldate, who will announce Monday where he plans on playing college in 2024, made his first jump of the evening count as he sailed 23 feet, 5 1/2 inches – the second longest jump of his career next to his school record mark of 24-feet 1/2.
“That first jump felt pretty good,” Saldate said. “That took some pressure off me. The focus level was locked in completely. I relied on the clapping from the crowd to get me amped up. I knew that first jump was good right off the board.”
The importance of a good early jump was critical as only nine of the 12 jumpers in the finals got three additional jumps after the first round. Saldate also only got three jumps in Friday’s trials.
“This had been the theme we had for him in that you have to get in one — in those first three jumps,” Palma coach Jason Smith said. “These past two days are the first time he’s gotten his best jump in his first three.”
Saldate, the Pacific Coast Athletic League Gabilan Division champion who finished fourth at the Central Coast Section finals last weekend, reached the state finals on Friday after sailing 23-4.
“He got a good jump in early and put the pressure on the rest of the field,” Smith said. “He was comfortable in the moment. He performed.”
The last Palma athletes to podium at the state meet came in 2014 when Chase Pacheco was fifth in the long jump and Devin Hinson placed sixth in the 300 intermediate hurdles.
“We reminded Logan that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed,” Smith said. “He could have won this. He just had a little bit of a reach on his next two jumps and wasn’t getting the pop. He’s jumping 23 feet and he had more.”
Udeh Chukwunonso of De La Salle won the state title with a mark of 23-9 3/4.
Saldate’s series was 23-5 1/2, 22-6 1/4, 23-4, 22-10, 22-9 1/2 and 23-feet
“What a series,” Smith said.
Saldate, who has run 10.85 seconds in the 100-meter dash, is currently No. 3 all-time in Monterey County with his school record mark of 24-1/4.
“This was an eye-opener for him to be on this stage,” Smith said. “And he proved he belonged. Logan has a different level of respect for track and field. The moment was not too big.”