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BA sweeps at Gator Relays
Gator Relays-John Harden in 110 Hurdles
Bulloch Academy's John Harden, right, takes the lead in the hurdles during Saturday's track meet. - photo by RAHN HUTCHISON/Special to the Herald

The Bulloch Academy boys and girls claimed the top trophies in the 12th annual Gator Relays track and field Saturday at the Georgia Southern University track and field complex.

"It was a great day," said BA head coach Clint Morgan. "The temperature was cool early for the 3200-meter runs and then heated up later in the day for the sprints. We couldn’t have picked a better day. The good Lord was looking out after us."

The Lady Gators won just two events but amassed 159.5 points by sheer numbers to claim the first-place trophy for the third year in a row while the Bulloch boys scored 159 points to dominate their meet. It was the first time since 2006 that both BA teams captured the Relays.

"Depth is always important, especially in a big meet like this one," said Morgan. "Our number twos really performed well today."

The Lady Gators won the 4x400-meter relay and senior Rachel Gilbert took the 200-meter dash in the 11-team meet. But the Bulloch had four seconds, six thirds and six fourths to earn the total needed to nip arch-rival Trinity Christian School of Dublin by a scant 9.5 points. Dominion Christian from Marietta was third (100), Mount de Sales from Macon was fourth (43.5) and Augusta Preparatory School was fifth.

Senior John Harden won his two signature events, the 110m and 300m hurdles, and the Gators pulled maximum points in the long jump to help withstanding the hard-charging Bethesda Day School Blazers. Bethesda was a strong second (114) while Mount de Sales took third (93). Augusta Prep was fourth (49) and St, Andrews from Savannah was fifth (39).

Ten Gator Relay records fell during the day-long meet, which was sponsored by Hendley Properties, Sheppard Lumber Company, The Sack Co. and SCM Inc., Statesboro Appliance Center and Blount, Burke, Wimberly and Hendricks Insurors.

The most impressive record-setting performance came from Trinity Christian School’s Sarah Howard. She threw the discus an amazing 143-0 to win and break her record from last year, which was 125-7. Dominion’s Shannon Rose Forde set three new records; running a 12.04 in the 100m dash, a 14.84 in the 100m hurdles and jumping 18-2 ½ in the long jump.

BA senior Rachel Gilbert broke the 200m dash record by running a 26.4 for the win and the 4x400m relay team of Gilbert, Mary Margaret Reeves, Taylor Collins and Anna Newton clocked a 4:13.50.

Gilbert was also second in the 400m dash, ran a leg on the second-place 4x100m relay team with Reeves, Newton, Pate Lomax and had a fourth in the long jump. Sally Marie Futch notched seconds in the discus and the shot. Third-place finishes went to Newton in the 100m dash and the 400m dash, Lomax in the 1600m run and the 800m run, Reeves in the 200m dash and Marianna Peebles in the pole vault. Fourth-place efforts went to Collins in the shot and discus, Newton in the high jump, Haley Burke in the 300m hurdles and the second 4x400 relay team (Page Spence, Emily Morgan, Haley Burke and Lomax).

The Bulloch boys had five first-place finishes, six seconds, three thirds and five seconds.

Harden had nearly perfect form in his overwhelming wins in the 110m hurdles (15.66) and the 300m hurdles (43.41). Junior Jaylen Evans won the long jump (19-0) and sophomore Ross Rainey took the high jump (5-11). The 4x400 relay team of Evans, Matt Sheppard, Ellis Lane and Harrison Averitt nipped Mount de Sales at the line for the victory.

Lane was second in the long jump and the triple jump as the senior helped BA pull down the maximum points (18) in the long jump. Other second-place finishes went to Blaine Lovett in the pole vault, Lestonz Lewis in the 100m dash, Averitt in the 400m dash and the 4x100m relay team of Lewis, Lane, Evans and Aaron Best.

Third-place efforts were turned in by Evans in the high jump and Lewis in the 200m dash. Fourth-place points were pulled by Daniel Hendrix in the pole vault, Matthew Collins in the discus, Lewis in the shot, Forest Spence in the 300m hurdles and the 4x400m relay team of Hendrix, Harden, Best and Will Johnson.

Bulloch travels to Martinez Wednesday to take part in a multi-team meet at Augusta Prep.