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Blue Devils win Region 2-AAAA meet
042410 HS TRACK 02 web
Statesboro High's Khlid Smith finished second in the 300 Meter Hurdles and qualified for State competition Saturday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

            One contest was a blowout and the other was decided by the slimmest of margins, but each ended with the same result.

            The track and field teams of both the boys and girls of Statesboro took home titles Saturday afternoon, winning the Region 2-AAAA meet at a soggy Womack Field.

            While the Lady Devils finished with a final score of 182 – 54 points ahead of second place Glynn Academy – the Statesboro boys secured first place by a single point over Brunswick.

            With the departure of multiple key members of last season’s team, Statesboro coach Rico Campbell wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this year’s boys team. The Devils struggled early in the season, but came together at just the right time.

            “I’m so proud of our guys,” said Campbell. “This team wasn’t very together in the beginning. We weren’t finishing all that well in a lot of our meets, but everyone started working hard over the past few weeks to give us a boost.”

            The Statesboro boys made their biggest mark in the shorter races.

            Khlid Smith took second place finishes in both the 110 meter and 300 meter hurdles while Joseph Mainer took second in the 400 meter dash.

            Mainer also teamed with Lamar Stimage, Aaron Lester and DeQuan Daniels to earn the top spot in the 4x100 relay.

            While these were the only boys results to qualify for the state meet, solid performances throughout the rest of the meet allowed Statesboro to keep racking up points.

            In the end, it was one misstep that put the Devils over the top.

            In the 300 meter hurdles, Brunswick’s Cedrick Carroll tripped over a hurdle and fell off of the track. Carroll finished the race, but was disqualified for leaving the track.

            The disqualification took away what would have been a seventh-place finish that could have vaulted the Pirates to a region title.

            For the Lady Devils, a championship was never in doubt.

            A total of 10 different girls qualified for the state championships in 12 events. Statesboro also earned both state qualifying spots in the high jump, 400 meter dash, 100 meter hurdles, 200 meter dash, and the 300 meter hurdles.

            In all, Lady Devils claimed 17 of the 32 available spots in the state meet.

            “I saw greatness everywhere from our girls today,” said Campbell. “We scored points in every event, so it makes it easy to contend for a team title when everyone is contributing.”

            Leading the way for the girls were Raven Thomas – the individual points leader – and Alisia Jenkins, who tied for second in individual points.

            Thomas took titles in both the 200 and 400 meters, and she anchored the region champion 4x100 and 4x400 teams.

            “I was very happy with the way I performed,” said Thomas. “I really think that my teammates gave me a big boost. I was a little sore after yesterday and not feeling my best, but everyone was encouraging me all day. The rain made things kind of difficult too, but I think it also made everyone focus more.”

            Jenkins was a teammate of Thomas’ in the 4x400 and also qualified with individual second place efforts in the triple jump and long jump, and a region championship in the high jump.

            “(Thomas and Jenkins) have been battling the whole year,” said Campbell. “They compete in some of the same events, so they push each other to keep improving. That goes for a lot of our girls. We had cuts before the season, so all year it’s been a very competitive atmosphere.”

            Statesboro now takes its show on the road for the state finals.

            The girls will compete May 6-8 in Albany while the boys will decide state champions the next week in Jefferson.

 

            Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.