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Devils primed to shine at state meet

    Seven Statesboro Blue Devils will compete in nine different events as the Class AAAA boys state track and field meet begins today in Jefferson.
    Field events will be held today, with running preliminaries and finals to be held Friday and Saturday, respectively.
    Statesboro has been making noise since the beginning of the season, routinely dominating meets and cruising to a Region 3-AAAA championship. The impressive showings didn’t stop there as three school records fell in Macon two weeks ago in sectionals while the Devils pushed their way into the state field.
    “We’re very excited for the opportunity to go up against the best in the state,” SHS coach Jake Collins said. “We feel like it’s where we belong. Our athletes have worked hard all season to get to this point and now they have the chance to really do something special.”
    With so many qualified athletes in different events, solid showings could easily vault Statesboro into top-10 contention — or possibly even higher.
    Statesboro’s shot at making a mark on the overall team standings stems from dominant performances in a handful of events.
    Rickey Lee enters the state competition in both the discus throw and the shot put. Andreas Ward and Demetrius Davis make up a formidable hurdling duo as both will run in the 110 meter and 300 meter events.
    Zaquavian Smith was responsible for most of the school records falling at sectionals. His individual efforts in the 200 and 400 meter races set new Blue Devil marks while he also anchored the new SHS record holders in the 4x100 meter relay race.
    “I think that Zaquavian has an outstanding chance to finish near the top in his events,” Collins said. “The same can be said for a lot of our events. It’s pretty special to have guys like (Lee) qualifying in two events and Andreas and Demetrius both making it all the way to state in both hurdling events.
    “We’ve got a talented team that can do well this year. We’re also well-balanced without too many seniors, and that gives us a chance to keep this up moving forward.”
    Regardless of team points or standings, the 4x100 relay will be a highlight of the Class AAAA competition.
    Five teams — including the Devils — out of the 16 finalists qualified for state with times of less than 42 seconds.
    “That’s really an amazing field,” Collins said. “It’s going to be a huge challenge, but it’s going to be a great show of some of the best runners at any classification.”
    Results from each day of competition can be tracked by logging on to the Georgia section of

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