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Subway Spotlight: SEB's Preston Smith and Statesboro's Tori Thompson

    Not content with simply qualifying for the state track and field meet, Southeast Bulloch’s Preston Smith closed out last week’s sectional meet in style.
    Already into the state meet in the high jump, Smith set a new school record in the triple jump. Smith launched himself an astounding 44-feet, 10.5-inches to easily qualify for the state finals.
    “I felt really good on that jump,” Smith said. “It’s great to know that I broke a record. I’ve been working hard and everything kind of built up to that jump.”
    A participant in last year’s state meet, Smith said that he’s comfortable competing against the best that Georgia has to offer. Smith’s triple jump distance was among the best turned in at the two sectional meets and he has high hopes of contending at state.
    Smith’s performance highlighted what has been a resurgent year for the SEB boys’ squad. The Jackets took second place at the Region 1-AAA meet and will send four competitors to the state meet, which begins today in Jefferson.
    “Placing that well in region is definitely something we haven’t done in a while,” Smith said. “I think that we had a good season on the boys’ side. Hopefully, we can keep that going.”

    Despite being Statesboro’s biggest offensive threat for all four years of her high school career, there was one thing that Tori Thompson hadn’t managed to accomplish.
    On Tuesday, she finally crossed that final item off of her list.
    Thompson found the net twice to lead the Lady Blue Devils to a 3-0 win over Rutland – the first state playoff victory of Thompson’s career.
    “It’s just a great feeling,” Thompson said following the win. “I’ve never been to the Sweet Sixteen before. It’s cool to see the progress we’ve made over the last few years.”
    Statesboro controlled the game from the opening whistle and Thompson made sure that her team would tack at least one more game onto its season. Thompson narrowly missed goals on a pair of shots early in the game, but kept plugging away and finally broke through.
    She beat the Rutland goalkeeper to give the Devils a lead just before halftime, then made it 2-0 with a perfectly placed free kick midway through the second half.
    “I thought that we all played a great game,” Thompson said. “I was happy to score a couple of goals, but both of those came from a lot of great passes and good plays from my teammates.”
    Thompson will try to keep the momentum going as Statesboro travels to Locust Grove next week.