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Lady Devils win 5th straight title

Lady Devils win 5th straight title

Lady Devils win 5th straight title

    Statesboro High capped an impressive week for Bulloch County in track and field in the Region 3-AAAA meet held Wednesday at Womack Field.
    The Lady Blue Devils took home the region title for the fifth consecutive season while the boys turned in a strong second place showing.
    Two relay teams — the boys’ 400 meter and the girls’ 1600 meter squads — were disqualified despite running times well enough to earn points and advance past the region level.
    Those competitors had to live with the disappointment, but several other Devils exceeded their expectations.
    “We had quite a few for the boys and girls that really surprised me,” SHS coach Rico Campbell said. “With some, it was a matter of getting a first or second place. With others it was just qualifying for sectionals or putting up a season best. Overall, I think that we definitely should be proud of how we competed.”
    Statesboro has long held a strong reputation in track and field, but five consecutive region championships is something that even dynasties don’t accomplish. Since the streak began in 2009, region alignments have changed several times to shake things up. During that span, 16 different schools have taken on the Lady Devils in region meets, but none have been able to prevail.
    “We’ve been getting a lot of quality girls who are willing to work hard each year.,” Campbell said. “Right before this streak started, we had five in a row with the boys.
    “This year, I was really impressed with our girls. So many seniors left last year that a few weeks before the season, we weren’t sure how much of a team we would have. We found a lot of young girls that have really held their own.”
    Aside from the strong team showings, plenty of individuals turned in great performances.
    Genevieve Okafor dominated on the track and in the field, taking the top spot in the long jump before winning both the 200 and 400 meter sprints. Andreas Ward won multiple events for the boys, taking down the 110 and 300 meter hurdles.
    Statesboro swept the pole vault, with Simone Kirkland and Josh McCoy —  who cleared a season high 12-feet, 6-inches — launching over their respective competition.
    The Devils’ final event winners were Okafor, Mahagony Lanier, Lakeeba Redfield and Keiyonna Gusby, who combined to top the field in the 4x100 meter relay.
    Aside from those individual champions, 16 other Blue Devils turned in performances good enough to qualify for sectionals — the final step before the state meet.
    Despite a season that has been abbreviated by some uncooperative weather, Statesboro seems to be hitting its stride and posting some of its best results.
    “We had about two weeks from the Statesboro Relays until the region meet,” Campbell said. “Without any meets in between, we were able to focus more on training. I also think that it helped to keep us a little fresher.”
    With just over a week to go before sectionals, Campbell hopes that the same schedule of training and rest will lead to even better times, heights and distances.
    The Blue Devils will enjoy the home field advantage once again in the sectionals as Statesboro will welcome in 36 other schools on April 27.
    Competition is slated to begin at 10:30 p.m.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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