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Devils dominate Statesboro Relays at Womack
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Southeast Bulloch's Preston Smith won the high jump event with a leap of 6-feet, 4-inches during Monday's region Statesboro Relays at Womack Field. It was one of the few events not won by the Statesboro Blue Devils boys or girls. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Statesboro Relays Standings

Statesboro    149
Effingham County    112
Bradwell Institute    83
Richmond Hill    71
Southeast Bulloch    69
Claxton        53
Johnson        31
Windsor Forest    25
Jenkins County    16
Benedictine    13
Savannah    1

Statesboro    163
Southeast Bulloch    126.5
Bradwell Institute    104
Effingham County    58
Richmond Hill    53
Johnson        33
Windsor Forest    32.5
Portal        30
St. Vincent’s    4
Savannah    3

    Some shaky weather forecasts put the 46th Annual Statesboro Relays on hold last weekend, but the show went on Monday night at Womack Field.
    The home team defended its signature meet of the season in impressive fashion as Statesboro’s boys and girls squads ran away with big wins in the overall team standings.
    “We had outstanding weather,” SHS coach Jake Collins said. “We had some outstanding times and we even had some event records broken. I can’t say enough about the job our boys and girls did out there and we’re certainly happy with the outcome.”
    The boys easily ran away from their competition, amassing 149 points to the 112 of Effingham County, which competes a classification above the Blue Devils.
    Statesboro’s girls were every bit as impressive. The Lady Devils racked up 163 points as individual competitors dominated events across the board.
    Among the great individual performances for Statesboro were a pair of record setters and a high point award.
    Andreas Ward has held down both hurdling events for the Devils over the last two seasons and has been inching his way towards the all-time record books. Monday night, Ward’s time of 14.56 seconds in the 110 meter hurdles gave him the new school mark.
    Jaslyn Joseph added to the hurdling success as she broke the three year old record of 48.96 seconds in the 300 meter event.
    Zaquavian Smith was all over the leaderboards for Statesboro. His 30 points tied him with Effingham County’s Tyjon Williams for the boys’ individual high point award, named after former SHS track and football standout Levon Jones.
    The girls’ high point award will also be staying within county limits as Southeast Bulloch’s Philicia Batton took the honors for the Lady Yellow Jackets.
    SEB’s girls squad finished second to only the Devils and breezed past Johnson and Savannah High – two rivals that the Jackets will compete against in their region meet.
    With five schools from higher classifications in the meet, SEB made a loud statement.
    “We did well at some smaller home meets, but we really wanted to see how tonight would go,” SEB coach Jolie Britt said. “I thought everyone really responded and stepped it up. Now we need to just keep on striding forward going into region.”
    The Southeast Bulloch boys led the team competition after the field events — traditionally a strong suit for the Jackets. Justin Odum claimed first place in the discus throw and Preston Smith cleared 6-feet, 4-inches to win the high jump.
    A strong showing from the Jackets’ distance runners kept them in the top half of the standings and led to a fifth place showing at the end of the night.
    “I kind of wish we could have just called it after the field events,” SEB boys coach Jeremy Gantt. “That first place was looking good. But we’re excited with our track events. We have more guys competing for points and that’s what we need in these big events.”
    Other event winners for Statesboro included the boys’ 4x100 relay squad as well as both the boys and girls’ 4x400 relay teams. In addition to his new record in the 110 meter hurdles, Ward also won the 300 meter hurdles. Smith swept the 200 and 400 meter races before running on both winning relay squads. Genevieve Okafor claimed a win for the Lady Devils in the girls’ 400 meters.
    For Southeast Bulloch, Batton won the high jump and edged Statesboro’s Joseph in the 100 meter hurdles. Jasmine Roberts won both the triple jump and long jump while Naomi Cook claimed the shot put and discus throws.
    Statesboro will host two more home meets before heading to Augusta for the Region 3-AAAA championships beginning April 16.
    “I was very impressed with how we performed,” Collins said. “But we also don’t want to stop here. They have to keep their eyes on the goal and keep competing at regionals and sectionals.”

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