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Statesboro sweeps Plankenhorn
Swainsboro's Kawaskie Coleman, center, flanked by Southeast Bulloch's Gerald Williams, center left, and Statesboro High's Patrick Jenkins, center right, head for the finish line in the final leg of the 400-meter relay during Monday's Plankenhorn Invitational. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    BROOKLET — Although both the Statesboro boys’ and girls’ teams dominated the 5th annual Plankenhorn Invitational put on Tuesday by the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets, the Blue Devils knew why they were really there.
    “We kind of did it in honor of Derrick Plankenhorn,” said Statesboro coach Rico Campbell. “I saw him run as a junior. He was a good athlete, and he probably would have won state his senior year. We wanted to do it in honor of his family. We just wanted to come out and run a good meet.”
    Eight teams competed in the meet, which was postponed from Saturday due to rain, and six were forced to withdraw due to a conflict in schedule.
    The Blue Devils placed first, topping Swainsboro (114 points) and Claxton (85 points) with a final tally of 136, and the Lady Blue Devils got the gold, running away with the competition after racking up149 points. Host Southeast Bulloch (91 points) got the silver and Swainsboro (71 points) got the bronze.
    Mario Jackson paced the event, earning the High Point honor with 28 points, edging out Swainsboro’s Javontae Young and Portal’s Justin Raymond.
    “I just come out here and try to set an example for the rest (of the team),” said Jackson. “I just try to do my best.”
    Claxton’s Lacreasha Brewton came out on top individually on the girls’ end, totaling 27  points for her Lady Tigers.
    “I didn’t really think I was doing all that great, because I was feeling sick today,” said Brewton. “I had to push myself, and I did it. When I won the triple jump, I started feeling better.”
    Brewton won two gold medals and grabbed bronze in the 800-meter and the 1600m relay.
    A young Portal program also came to compete, and saw a breakout performance from Raymond. Panther coach Justin Chester is pleased that he can count on his athletes when so many other teams can field a larger squad, and sees a competitor like Raymond as an asset.
    “It’s very important to have that in any classification,” said Chester, “whether you’re (Class) AAAA like Statesboro or a single A school like us. Having someone that’s so talented like Justin Raymond at our school is really a blessing.”
    Raymond accounted for all of Portal’s medals and all of its 24 points.
    Because the meet had to be suspended for three days, it required a lot of cooperation from all of the participating schools, but SEB coach Jolie Britt feels like it went off without a hitch.
    “It was just a minor (headache),” said Britt at the conclusion of the meet. “I was happy that we had eight teams considering that it was rescheduled for the middle of the week. We had a great turnout (Saturday), but the weather just wasn’t going to work for us.
    Britt was also pleased with the level of competition.
    “I thought today went very well,” she said. “Statesboro’s very strong. They usually are, and I feel like we held our own. I’m hoping that we’ll still improves on times by region.”

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.