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11 teams come to SEB for Plankenhorn
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    Today at 10 a.m., Southeast Bulloch will invite 11 area high schools to compete in the fourth annual Plankenhorn Invitational track meet, an exhibition tournament put on to honor former SEB track star Derrick Plankenhorn. Plankenhorn was a student-athlete for the Yellow Jackets who tragically passed away during a workout in 2003.
    Competing teams include South Effingham, Portal, Claxton (defending Plankenhorn champion), West Laurens, Effingham County, Jenkins County, McIntosh County Academy, St. Vincent’s, Benedictine, Metter and Turner County.
    The event has grown over the last four years, and teams from all classes are invited to show what they can do.
    “This event is only getting bigger every year,” said SEB coach Jolie Britt. “We do not charge the teams — it is all about donations from sponsors, family and friends — things like that. It doesn’t count for anything. It is pretty much teams of all different levels that show up and just basically bring their talent to see what they have. (It) does size up our competition so we will get to see where we stand in an event like this.”
    The death of Plankenhorn has had a large impact on the surrounding community and the school, and the event is one way for students and friends to remember their fallen classmate. The event is especially important to Yellow Jacket pole-vaulter Dustin Plankenhorn —Derrick’s younger brother —who, as a senior, is competing in his final year of track and field at Southeast Bulloch.
    “I did not coach Derrick, I taught Derrick,” said Britt. “Derrick was a great kid. He loved track. He loved sports. He loved life. His brother… does pole vault for us, and he also runs the four by 400-meter relay. This means a lot to all the kids. Everybody knew Derrick, everybody knows Dustin, and everybody loves the Plankenhorns.”

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.