Prettyman a high jumping sensation

Pacific Point School senior Olivia Prettyman cleared 5 feet, 2 inches in the high jump to take fifth place in the CCS Finals. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Olivia Prettyman is already set to play basketball in the fall at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita. Even though basketball is her favorite sport, the Pacific Point School senior has enormous potential in the high jump, as evidenced by her impressive showing in last Friday’s Central Coast Section Championships at Gilroy High. 

Prettyman cleared 5 feet, 2 inches to finish in fifth place. The top three in each event advance to the CIF State Meet, and Prettyman was close to doing just that. The winner had a mark of 5-6, but the next seven placers all cleared 5-2. The total number of misses at the previous heights determined the placements. Prettyman had misses at 4-10 and 5 feet—each athlete gets three attempts to clear a height—but eventually cleared them and 5-2, the latter equaling her personal-record (PR) she set just six days earlier in the CCS Semifinals. 

“I am satisfied,” she said. “I wish I wouldn’t have missed before 5-4, but I jumped well and I thought it was a good season.”

Of that, there is no doubt. Prettyman was one of only four athletes on the Pacific Point School track and field team—she’s one of 14 students in the 2018-2019 graduating class—and despite not having a jumps coach, Prettyman managed to compete with the section’s best and was close to making state. Even more amazing, Prettyman has only been competing in the high jump for two years—the first as a sophomore in Nebraska and this season (Pacific Point didn’t have a team last year). 

With no home track and field facility, Pacific Point had to find a place to practice, and Gilroy High was gracious enough to allow the Pacific Point athletes to use its facility.

“We came here and practiced pretty much whenever we wanted, so that was very nice of them to allow us to use their facility,” she said. 

Prettyman, who averaged around 25 points per game during the basketball season in helping Pacific Point advance to the CCS playoffs, has developed a passion for high jumping. There’s no telling how high she could go if she continues the sport in college; however, Prettyman is not sure her basketball coach at The Master’s would give the OK for her to compete in track and field. 

The winner of last year’s Golden State Athletic Conference—the league in which The Master’s University is a member of—in the women’s high jump cleared 5-3, and it wouldn’t be a reach to think Prettyman could clear that mark or higher with a full season under the tutelage of college coaches. 

“It’s a hard decision, but basketball is No. 1,” she said. 

This season, Prettyman watched some Youtube videos and received some different advice from three different coaches who would all tell her slightly different things. 

“It was a little hard, but it all worked out,” she said. 

Among other local athletes, Christopher High junior Keola Sylva finished fifth in the triple jump with a mark of 44-11 ½. An obviously disappointed Sylva—he hit a PR of 46-9 six days earlier in the CCS Semis—knows what he has to work on in the off-season.”

“For me me it’s completely mental,” he said. “I have to stay positive and work on the mental game this summer so I can keep my mind at ease (during competition). I came into this meet kind of happy and let my emotions get the best of me. It kind of ruined everything.”

Sylva owns two of the top five marks in the CCS this season, with the other being a 46-2 ¼ coming at Arcadia. At around 6-foot-3, 6-4, Sylva has the ability and skills to be the very best in the section. Sylva will go into the off-season as determined as ever to improve himself, because that’s what he’s been doing ever since he started jumping. 

“I’m just disappointed in myself that I put in so much work not to jump as far as I wanted to today,” he said. “I’m going to take a couple of weeks off and get back at it.”