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Devils, SEB, Portal head to state meet

    When the GHSA state girls’ track meet gets underway this morning in Albany, there will be plenty of representatives from Bulloch County on hand to go up against the best that Georgia has to offer.
    Statesboro High, Southeast Bulloch and Portal all had great showings two weeks ago in the state sectionals and will send a total of 18 girls to compete in 31 events starting today and going through Saturday afternoon.
    Statesboro — which clinched its fifth consecutive girls’ region championship in April — has its typical group of strong sprinters. Lakeeba Redfield will compete in the 100 meter sprint while Keiyonna Gusby takes on the 100 meter hurdles. Genevieve Okafor is the only Lady Blue Devil competing in multiple events as she will run in the 200 meter and 400 meter races. Preliminaries for those races will be run Friday.
    Simone Kirkland is the only SHS athlete in a field event and will take on the pole vault today.
    With plenty of events scheduled to begin early this morning, Southeast Bulloch headed out of Brooklet Wednesday night and did so with big dreams of bringing back a state championship in the AAA classification.
    “We know that we’ve gotten ourselves into a good spot,” SEB coach Jolie Britt said. “We have a lot of girls that qualified and that gives us a chance to score plenty of points. We have experience competing at the state level, so I think we have a team full of girls who believe that they can do very well.”
    The Lady Yellow Jackets have a full slate of action in today’s field events.
    Bre Gates and Jasmine Roberts are both in the field for the long jump.
    Roberts will also compete in the triple jump while Philicia Batton goes after the high jump and Rebecca Mackelprang takes on the pole vault.
    “We need a good showing out of our field events,” Britt said. “If we can score a bunch of points on that first day, we’ll have a lot of confidence and a great shot once the track events start.”
    The Jackets might have a title within their reach on Friday as three relay teams and five individual events run their preliminaries in hopes of advancing to Saturday’s finals.
    In Class A, the Portal Panthers bring a much smaller squad, but are just as excited to compete against the best in the state.
    Shacamry Daniels (triple jump), Tia Hagins (100 and 200 meters) and Uniqua Mosely (100 meter hurdles) will join the Panthers’ 4x400 relay team in the competition.
    “Last year was the first time these girls made it to sectionals and it’s great to see them take the next step this season,” Portal coach Steve Smith said. “We don’t have a ton of girls, but I feel like we can compete in all of our events.”
    Results can be found at as updates are added throughout the day.

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