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SEB crowns 2 region champs, sends 5 to GHSA state meet

            The track and field girls of Southeast Bulloch crowned two region champions and will send five to the GHSA state meet after an overall fourth place finish at the Region 3-AA championships Thursday.

            Swainsboro had great all-around performances by many of its girls, and the Lady Tigers scored 123 points – 30 more than second-place Bleckley County – to clinch the team region title.

            Swainsboro also had the individual points leader, as Deidra Jordan earned 30 points for the Tigers.

            While most of the day was a success for the Lady Yellow Jackets, it got off to a disastrous start.

            The 4x100 relay team – which had been dominant all season – dropped the baton headed into the second leg of the race and ended up in tenth place. SEB had the second fastest time in the preliminary rounds, but the dropped baton cost it a shot at state, and possibly a higher finish in the team standings.

            “I think that maybe the nerves caught up with them,” said SEB coach Jolie Britt. “You never want to see it, but sometimes those things happen. I thought we had a good chance in that race, but they kept their heads up and competed well after that. Most of this team is freshmen and sophomores, so we’ll have more chances down the road.”

            Disappointed, but not defeated, the Jackets kept plugging away and were able to turn in some impressive showings.

            Freshman Breanna Gates took the top spot in the long jump with a leap of 16-feet, 1-inch - besting Kourtnee Williams of Vidalia by two inches.

            Le’Keriya Hendrix also secured a region championship for the Jackets, taking first place in the 800-meter event with a time of 2:32.73.

            Dineshia Baker notched a final state birth in an individual event, holding off Swainsboro’s Aniya Moore by .33 seconds to clinch second place.

            “I’m extremely proud of our individual qualifiers,” said Britt. “Breanna has jumped well all season, and (Hendrix) did a great job getting to the front and staying ahead down the stretch in her race.”

            While the 4x100 team came up short, the 4x400 team came through for SEB.

            In third place through the first two legs of the race, Baker was able to chase down and pass Screven County’s Courtney Burns, and Gates held off the Lady Gamecocks’ anchor runner to keep second place and earn a spot at the state meet.

            Third place was a spot all too familiar for Screven.

            The Gamecocks finished third in the overall team standings despite only sending three girls to state – with both results due in large part to Screven’s multiple third place finishes.

            Brittany Lawton was the lone region winner for Screven, besting the field in the 200 meter dash with a time of 25.51 seconds.

            Cas Austin (1600m) and Nancy Price (100m hurdles) each grabbed second place finishes for the Gamecocks to qualify for state.

            Rounding out the team standings were Vidalia (74.5 points), Toombs County (45), Laney (33.5), Dodge County (31), Jefferson County (27), and Dublin (26).

            The state meet will be held May 4-5 in Albany.


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