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Lady Devils finish second at region meet
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    Going into Monday’s final event at the Region 3-AAAA girls’ track and field championship at Georgia Southern, Statesboro was smack in the middle of the pack and clinging to hopes of a second place finish.
    After finishing in fourth a year ago, the Lady Blue Devils had already secured a better finish this time around with 57 points and sat in third place with the 1600-meter relay left to go.
    From the pop of the gun to the final leg, there was barely any doubt SHS would be anything less than region champs, running the event in 4:07.26 to win. The much-needed 10 points gave the Devils 67 points and a share of region runner-up with Glynn Academy. Greenbrier took home the title trophy with a commanding 111 points.
    “Glynn Academy was fighting to get second — we were fighting to get second — it just happened that at the end of the meet we both happened to get second,” said SHS coach Rico Campbell. “(The 1600m relay team) really stepped up.”
    Susanna McKee started the pivotal race by bursting out to a sizeable margin. Kate Brunson took it from there, holding a steady lead, followed by Queta Davis in the third leg. Davis passed the baton to freshman Raven Thomas who closed the deal, peeking over her shoulder on the final leg to make sure she had plenty of room to spare in the win.
    “Way better than last year,” said Campbell of his team’s finish. “We had a lot of new people come out this year and we had a pretty good season.”
    Thomas, who has earned the nickname ‘Rocket’, also qualified for the Class AAAA state meet in the 400m with a second-place finish and a time of 57.68. She led most of the way but faltered in the home stretch and was overtaken by Gabrielle Houston of Effingham County.
    “I think I started off too, too hard,” said Thomas. “When I did cut back I think that’s what messed me up. I should have just kept my stride.”
    During Saturday’s field events, Gwennetta Jones won the shot put with a throw of 37-8 for SHS, also qualifying for state.
    Jones, Thomas, McKee, Brunson and Davis will all travel to Albany on May 1-3.