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Statesboro opens track season at home

    Statesboro began its track and field season under perfect conditions Saturday afternoon as the Blue Devils hosted their 6th annual Statesboro Invitational.
    Getting the boys and girls teams onto the track was a welcome sight. Not only was Saturday the first competition for the Devils after a long offseason, it also marked the return of the Invitational after all events were rained out last spring.
    A total of 10 teams —travelling from as far as the Augusta and Atlanta areas — competed in the event, with Statesboro placing third overall in the girls competition and the boys placing second.
    “It was tremendous weather and a great turnout,” SHS coach Jacob Collins said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day and I was very pleased with how we performed in our first meet.”
    Collins also commented that his squads produced solid improvements over last season and even notched some new personal records.
    Fresh off of his final season on the basketball court, Zaquavian Smith wasted no time in shining at his springtime athletic interests. Smith took first place in the 200 and 400 meters and closed the day strong, anchoring Statesboro’s first place 4x400 meter relay team.
    Statesboro’s girls saw a trio of first place performers.
    Iyana McKeever locked up the 100 meter dash with a time of 12.47 seconds and Genevieve Okafor broke the one-minute barrier in the 400 meters with a winning time of 59.8 seconds. Joselyn Joseph took first in the high jump, clearing an even five feet.
    Saturday’s meet was the first for the Devils with Collins as head coach. Collins replaces Rico Campbell, who saw big wins from both the boys and girls during his tenure. If the first meet was any indication, the program remains in good hands.
    “We’ve had five good weeks of practice, even despite some of those snow days,” Collins said. “I’m excited for what we can accomplish this season. We set some good marks today, which is what you want to see after practicing all offseason. Now we go to work on improving those marks.”
    Statesboro will stay at the friendly confines of home as it hosts meets on each of the next three Wednesdays.

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