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Devils run away with it
Statesboro track claims region championship
bw shs track 5 col
Statesboro’s Paul Welle, center, laps his competitors during the 3200-meter race in the Region 3-AAAA track and field championship Monday at Georgia Southern. - photo by GRAYSON HOFFMAN/Herald Correspondent
    The Statesboro boys track team won four events Monday, then compiled enough points to pull away from Greenbrier and win the Region 3-AAAA track and field championship at Georgia Southern University.
    Seniors Tyrone McCoy and Paul Welle stole the show for the Blue Devils, who totaled 114 points to Greenbrier’s 90.5 and Ware County’s 88. McCoy took home titles in the 800-meter and 400m race while Welle blew away his competitors in the 3200m. Both helped SHS win the 1600m relay.
    “It feels really good,” said McCoy after winning his two individual events. “Last year I was just the 800 champ and the year before I was just the 400 champ, so I was hoping to come back this year and win them both.”
    Win them both he did. With a time of 2 minutes, 1.56 seconds in the 800m and 49.76 in the 400m, McCoy, who will sign a letter of intent to run at Savannah State later this week, used bursts of speed down the homestretches of both races to earn his titles.
    “We’ve been working a lot harder this season than we have in the past,” McCoy added. The Blue Devils will now prepare for state. “We have to work a whole lot harder — twice as much  as before. It’s going to be a big, big challenge.”
    It’s the second straight region championship for SHS, but the Blue Devils trailed Ware County by 16 points coming into Monday. The region’s field events and 1600m race were held on Saturday.
    “It feels great,” said SHS coach Rico Campbell after the points had been tallied a final time. “It was a tough day, we had a lot of guys getting sick (with the heat), but they just held together.”
    Welle, not an original member of the 1600m relay team, was called to action at the last second when his teammates began to cramp under a hot, late-April sun.
    “Our guys were having a little bit of trouble and the heat was getting to some of them,” said Welle, a future MIT student. “It’s nice though because you don’t really have time to think about it (when that happens). You just run out to the starting line and go.”
    Welle won his first event, the 3200m, with a time of 10:06.33. Welle said he has had better times in the event, but once he got out in front he just held his position to become region champ.
    Patrick Jenkins also qualified for the state championship meet, beginning Thursday, May 10 in Jefferson. Jenkins finished second in the 400m.
    Campbell said his team will get some well-deserved rest in the coming days.
    “The guys need some rest,” he said. “We’ve been traveling the whole year and have not had any home meets. I think that kind of took us over the top of everybody else, too (Monday). That heat definitely played a factor.”

 Saturday’s results
    The following Blue Devils have also qualified for the state meet during Saturday’s competitions: Sherrod Natson (high jump); Jenkins (triple jump, region champion); Welle (1600m, region champion).