Region 3-AAAA Meet
Prelims were held Wednesday, region finals will be held all day Friday at Statesboro.
BROOKLET — Bumping up to Class AAA doesn’t seem to have slowed the Southeast Bulloch track and field squad one bit.
On Tuesday, the Lady Yellow Jackets claimed their third consecutive region title while the boys continued one of their best seasons of late with a second place finish.
Armed with a well-rounded squad, SEB girls coach Jolie Britt saw her team take an early lead and cruise to a 65 point win over second place Pierce County.
“I thought that we had one of our best showings of the year,” Britt said. “This is the time when you want everybody to turn in their best performances of the season.”
While normal strong spots for the Lady Jackets such as the sprints and relay teams turned in great performances, there was plenty of success to go around. The SEB girls took four of the field events and won 10 events overall.
The boys weren’t able to make it a region sweep, but still turned in a good performance..
Sophomore pole vaulter Charles James once again supplied the biggest highlight of the day for the Jackets. On April 1, James cleared the bar at 12-feet, 8-inches to break a school record that had stood since 1970. The new record lasted just 15 days as James vaulted 13 feet on Tuesday.
“It’s incredible to see how quickly he’s come along,” SEB boys coach Jeremy Gantt said. “We kind of had to talk him into it as a freshman last year. This season, it seems like he’s adding a few inches from one meet to the next.”
James has been a standout, but it’s the depth of the boys squad that is providing most of the success. Normally specializing in field events, the Jackets have found runners on the track to make overall showings much better.
“It really does a lot for our morale to get more guys to the final day of the region meet,” Gantt said. “When only a few are competing on the second day, things can get flat. With a lot of guys still in it, everyone was giving it their best effort.”
Many of the SEB boys are seeing success for the first time, but the Lady Jackets are stocked with veterans of the postseason.
Despite having just two seniors on the squad, many of the SEB girls that will compete at sectionals are doing so for the second or third time.
“It should definitely take away some of those jitters,” Britt said. “Even with our youngest girls, we know that they can get good advice from the girls who have been here before.”
SEB will host 31 other schools on April 27 in the sectionals to determine which individuals will advance to the state meet in their respective events. Preliminaries will trim the field down to 16 competitors in each event and the top eight finishers in the final will move on to the state finals.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.