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No track to call home for SHS
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    For the Statesboro track and field team, 2008 has been anything but a normal season.
    With the SHS campus getting a major facelift, every sport has been forced to either take their event off-campus, or trek spectators into alien parking lots and dark hallways.
    The track team was no exception, and when the winter rolled around, the Blue Devils were left trackless.    
    Coach Rico Campbell moved his athletes to the football practice field, directly behind the football stadium. The kids run on grass, around cones, and jump in a make-shift pit for the long jump and triple jump that was built about a month ago.
    “We have to go out there and measure every time it rains to make sure everything’s in the right spot,” said Campbell. “Whenever they come to cut the grass, things will be back out of wack. “
    The “new track” took some time getting used to, and Campbell said it’s had its ups and downs.
    “We haven’t been able to work on relays, but for the most part it’s saved our legs,” he said. “We’ve had less shin splints — but maybe have had a couple ankle injuries because of the field.  (The students) complained at first, and we had a couple of bad hand-offs at the first couple of meets, but once we got it going a little bit we haven’t had any problems or haven’t heard any more complaints.”
    Another indirect effect has been The Devils’ inability to bring a maximum number of participants to each race.
    Statesboro has been able to host a number of events in the past, allowing every runner and athlete to participate in their respective events. Without a track of their own, however, the Devils’ entire season has been on the road and at the mercy of the host school to decide who runs and who doesn’t. Most schools elect to take each teams’ ‘Top Two’.
    “(Schools) narrow it down because they have a lot of teams,” said Campbell. “They’ll want a quicker meet so they won’t let a lot of kids out there which hurts because a lot of kids practice all week long but don’t get a chance to compete. That’s been the tough part this year.”
    Despite the difficulties, SHS has still had a stellar season. They’ll head to Brooklet on Saturday for the annual Plankenhorn Invitational and Campbell said the team’s goal is to win the meet, then look toward the end of April for the Region 3-AAAA meet at Georgia Southern.
    “We usually have the big track meet in Bulloch County but the Plankenhorn has kind of taken over,” Campbell added. “Hopefully we’ll have the Statesboro Relays next year and maybe even three big track meets next year.”
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.