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Plankenhorn sees biggest turnout yet

    Superstition would have you believe the number 13 is unlucky. Nonetheless, the 13th Annual Derrick Plankenhorn Invitational held at Southeast Bulloch Wednesday afternoon was full of good fortune.
    The field featured a record-setting 22 teams. In the first year of the event, the field featured just nine teams.
    The Plankenhorn is in honor of Derrick Plankenhorn, a 17-year-old track athlete at SEB who collapsed and died during a track practice in 2003.
    With Derrick’s parents in attendance, the large field was something to remember.
    “The first year we did this it was in the afternoon and I think there were only three, four or five teams there. It wasn’t very many,” Billie Jean Plankenhorn, Derrick’s mother, said at the meet. “It’s humbling. It really is. For people to still place this much importance on it. Derrick will always be important to us, but to know other people remember him — it’s just humbling.”
    Derrick’s father, Don, said he was impressed with how the Invitational has grown over the years.
    “It’s huge. You realize people remember Derrick,” Don Plankenhorn said. “A lot of the kids, you don’t know what they will do until they get out here. A lot of these kids will end up going to college somewhere.”
    The Plankenhorn Invitational featured a competitive field. So competitive, the Invitational went well into the night.
    “You couldn’t ask for better. It’s their time to make their little light shine. We love coming out here and seeing the kids have fun,” Billie Jean Plankenhorn said. “Knowing that they’re having a good time makes us feel good.”
    Both of Derrick’s parents said they would love to see the annual event continue to expand and grow in size.
    The Statesboro Herald will have full results of the meet in Friday’s paper as well as online at

    Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.