A reduction in competition size may have helped Statesboro Saturday afternoon, but in the way the Blue Devils ran no team may have had a chance to beat them in 49th annual Statesboro Relays.
The boys and girls teams combined to win by a 328 point margin as Statesboro blew the doors off the competition at their hallmark event. Even as participation was down from the previous iterations of the Relays, head coach Josh Coleman was confident in saying he expects to have double the amount of teams for the 50th anniversary.
“The parents really did a great job volunteering and pitching in to make it a hospitable environment for the coaches,” Coleman said. “All the coaches were very receptive of what we were trying to do.”
According to Coleman Statesboro had the capabilities to host around 15 teams, but since the coaching carousel was still spinning in January the meet didn’t get posted on Georgia Milesplit until February. Coleman’s committed to bringing the meet back to it’s former glory and working to hold the Relays at Georgia Southern next year will help.
“We plan on having the meet posted on Milesplit this summer so everyone knows it’s happening,” Coleman said. “Our goal is to have at least 12 teams for next season.”
Even while the meet didn’t boast the talent in years past like Shannon Sharpe, Herschel Walker and Champ Bailey -- who still holds the high jump record for relay participants -- Statesboro had plenty of star worthy performances from their runners ahead of their region championships to be held in Ware County Tuesday and Thursday.
Between both boys and girls sides, Statesboro combined for ten individual winners and two relay team wins. The girls 4x100 and 4x400 teams both won by significant margins, with the 4x400 team putting a solid four seconds between them and second place.
Dayonna Henry, Iyana McKeever and Maggie Ponder were both apart of those teams, while Yana Lipsey and Jocelyn Woodsen made up the final legs on the 4x100 and the 4x400 respectively. The 4x100 team are the current favorite to win the region title on Thursday.
“We switched up the 4x100 team to try and tweak with some things before region,” Coleman said. “Considering we can only assign at most five events to one kid, we really want to make sure we have the right lineups come Tuesday.”
McKeever went on to win the 100 and the long jump as well, while Henry would win the 200 and the 400. Journey Kearns and Jordan Adams would win the girls high jump and 1600 respectively. Henry ran a season best 59.34 in the 400 and will be a favorite to win the region title. Kearns PR’ed in the high jump as well with a jump of five feet even, also a favorite to win region along with McKeever to be a favorite in the long jump.
As for the boys, Jalen Adams won the 100 and 200 -- the latter of which he’s projected to win the region title. Noah Caplinger won the 800 and the 1600 while Fred Brown, James Badger, Greyson Gawthorpe and Clayton Snyder won the 300 hurdles, high jump, 3200 and pole vault respectively. Snyder is the favorite to win the pole vault region title.
However if there was one upset on the afternoon it was the Statesboro boys relay teams being beaten by Camden County’s 4x100 and 4x400 teams.
“Camden County did give us a run, they’re a big 7A school so they’ll always be good competition,” Coleman said. “Better runners will always push us to run better.”
It was the 14th title for the boys at the relays and the ninth for the girls. Both teams will be back in action starting Tuesday when they compete in their region championships in Ware County on Tuesday and Thursday.