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Gates takes state
Yellow Jackets finish 5th overall
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Southeast Bulloch's Breanna Gates leaps into the sand at the long jump competition at the GHSA Class AAA state championships in Albany last weekend. Gates won the state title in the event with a leap of 17-feet, 10.25 inches. - photo by Special to the Herald

    BROOKLET — The Lady Yellow Jackets of Southeast Bulloch burned up the track throughout the spring and proved that they were among the best in all of Georgia.
    Competing in the Class AAA state track and field championships last weekend in Albany, SEB finished in fifth place in the team competition thanks to some great performances from individuals and relay teams.
    Spurring SEB on were standout performances from a trio of Jackets in multiple events.
    Bre Gates notched the lone state title winning mark for SEB with a leap of 17-feet, 10.5-inches in the long jump. Gates followed that up with stellar showings in the 100 and 200 meter races as well as both relay races.
    Philicia Batton earned points for her team in both hurdles races and Jasmine Roberts raced on both relay teams while also claiming fourth place in the triple jump.
    Last weekend was just the latest step in what has been a steady accent for the Jackets over the last few years.
    The departure of three seniors will leave plenty of holes to fill on next year’s squad, but the Jackets are already looking forward to the challenge.
    “Our girls were a little disappointed,” Britt said. “We honestly thought that we could do a little better. But you look at how we improved and how we went up against those tough Atlanta schools. If we come back strong next season, we’ll have a lot to feel good about.”
    While the Jackets weren’t able to keep up with state champions Cedar Grove or second place Blessed Trinity – both of which nearly doubled the point totals of the rest of the field – they certainly held their own. True to form, the meet was dominated by schools from the northern part of the state and especially by teams calling the Atlanta area home.
    “We were hoping that we could have a high finish,” SEB coach Jolie Britt said. “If we would have still been in (Class) AA, I think we could have contended for a title. There were some really good schools in the competition, but I think we did pretty well for ourselves.”
    Southeast Bulloch stood out as the lone bright spot for the southern half of the state, registering one of only top-15 finishes — Peach County finished in 13th — for any school in the classification south of Macon.
    The Jackets finished just three points shy of bringing home a team trophy, but they were on top of their game.
    “Getting a few more points would have been great, but we did very well,” Britt said. “Almost everyone set a new personal best for themselves at the state meet. We turned in our best performances at state, and that’s all you can hope for.”

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