Bulloch County will be well represented at the various state track meets being held throughout the state this week. The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets have a solid history of competing well in the state and will be looking to do so again this week in Albany.
The Yellow Jackets lead Bulloch County in the number of athletes to qualify for the state with 16. On the boy's side that includes Avery Jaynes in the 3,200 and 1,600 meter runs as well as the 4x800 meter relay. Ryan Sikes qualified in the 110 hurdles and the triple jump, Kamerhon Wadley in the long jump and the 4x400 relay, Holton Strickland in the 3,200 and the 4x800 relay, Davis O’Dowd in the 1,600 meter and the 4x800 relay, James Simpson int he 800 and the 4x800 relay, Enosh McMillan in the 400 and the 4x400 relay, Will Shaver in the 3,200, James Hodges in the pole vault and Jacob Durney in the 4x400 relay.
“I feel like we had some guys who were underdogs in some events who really dug deep and came through for us in sectional,” said coach Quin Latimer. “The top eight in each event medal and I feel like we have quite a few who can finish in the top eight when you look at other times statewide.”
On the girl’s side state qualifiers include Saniyah Woullard in the 400 and 800 meter runs and the 4x400 and 4x800 relays, Sam Yancey in the 3,200 as well as the 4x400 and 4x800 relays, Skyler Myers in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays, Hannah Clay in the pole vault and the 4x400 relay, and Mariana Puc and Lizbeth Villegas in the 4x800 relay.
“Considering how few girls we had on the track team to have this many make it to state shows the ones we had really vare,” said coach Meredith Belcher. “We know not to underestimate them so it will be interesting to see how they all do at state. We have a few young girls who will get a great experience and hopefully that will result in others joining us next year.”
Headlining the state meet will be Avery Jaynes who will go down as one of the most decorated male athletes in Southeast Bulloch history. He already owns the cross-country school record as well as the 3,200, 1,600 and is the anchor on the school record 4x800 relay team. This weekend he will try and add state champion to his accomplishments.
“Avery has meant so much to our program and has been a pleasure to be around,” said Latimer. “Young kids can learn so much from his work ethic and the way he not only sets goals, but the way he works and archives those goals.”
Last year the COVID pandemic ended spring sports and prevented Jaynes from seeing how he could do in state. This year he is just happy to have that chance before heading off to Augusta University to continue his running career.
“I really think I have my best chance in the mile,” said Jaynes. “There are a couple of us, and all our times are really close. It was hard last year when I trained so hard and then found out track season was cancelled with COVID. My time hear at Southeast Bulloch has been great and I just want to try and end my high school career by doing something special.”