Student-athletes from 16 independent schools will converge at the Georgia Southern University track and field complex this morning for the 16th annual Gator Relays.
Hosted by Bulloch Academy, the all-classification meet will boast some of the best runners, jumpers, throwers and leapers in the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA).
“The track surface at Georgia Southern is so comparable to what we run on at state (Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany),” said Bulloch Academy track and field coach Barbara Conner. “It makes people want to run there to prepare.”
An estimated 200 student-athletes will participate in the meet, which begins at approximately 10 a.m. Admission is $5 per person for the day-long event and full concessions will be available.
“It has become such a fun thing,” said Conner. “It’s gotten to be so popular that I’ve got coaches calling at the beginning of the school year wanting to know the date.”
The major sponsors of the 2015 Gator Relays are Action Signs, Statesboro Appliance Center, Video Warehouse, Cope Eye Clinic, Howard Lumber and Hardware, C. Merrill Construction and Hendley Properties.
Hendley Properties has sponsored the event since its humble beginnings in 2000 at Gator Alley. All first-place winners will receive souvenir t-shirts, compliments of the sponsors, with additional t-shirts available for purchase.
Rain is not supposed to be an issue for today’s meet.
“This will be the first time in many years that we may not have to deal with rain,” Conner said with a laugh. But it is supposed to be cold. We’ve got kids coming from all over such as Atlanta, Augusta, Valdosta, St. Simons Island and Douglas.”
Last year, the Bulloch Academy girls’ and boys’ won the first-place trophies and many from those squads will battle again today. Due to many schools being on Spring Break, Conner expects to see the top-flight participants who are gearing up the region and state meets.
“It’s almost what they call a specialty meet,” said Conner. “For instance, John Milledge will be bringing their two guys (Cam O’Neal and Ridge Chambers) who have jumped six foot in the high jump. Ashley Burke from Bulloch and Jamie Holodak from Augusta Prep will square off in the girls’ 3200m run and will be joined by Riley O’Linn in the 1600m. Thomas Jefferson’s Sammons is one of the stronger all-around, five-event girls in the meet. McKenzie Brunel from Citizens Christian and Kristin Kingery from Bulloch will meet in the hurdles.”
Other top BA performers will be Pate Lomax (high, long and triple jumps), Mattie Wynn Hendrix (distance), Atys Cope (hurdles), Dylan Stuckey (hurdles) and Jack Fortune (sprints).