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State teams come to Jefferson for annual relays
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JEFFERSON — A sporting tradition spanning four decades, the 45th annual Jefferson Relays, takes place beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at Dragons Stadium with more than 20 track teams from around the state participating. A trophy presentation will take place following the day’s final race.

Jefferson High Athletic Director Tim Corbett, who coaches the Dragons boys track team and is the lead organizer of the event, said the meet will give athletes a chance to compete on a larger stage than the average weekday track meet. He added that this may put a bit of pressure on teams but it is a good event to prepare for the season-ending Georgia Olympics, while also giving athletes who may not qualify, a chance to compete and improve.

With so many schools competing, including Mill Creek, Flowery Branch, North Forsyth, East Jackson and Commerce, along with Jefferson, there will be plenty of action for fans of track and field.

Group I will consist of schools from the upper three classifications, while Group II is made of Class AA and A schools.

“Our meet is different than most because we group the larger schools and smaller schools,” Corbett said. “In addition, when you take into account that we will have both boys and girls competing, you actually have four separate meets going on simultaneously.”

The Dragons’ boys finished second at last season’s event behind Athens Christian. The Lady Dragons placed fifth. Mill Creek’s girls placed fourth in Group I, while the Mill Creek boys did not place in top eight.

Hawks’ boys coach Rik Moore said his team is looking forward to returning to Jefferson for this year’s event.

“It’s a great opportunity to compete against teams from AAA to AAAAA in the Group I competition,” Moore said. “It’s a great venue and the great history of the event is good for our athletes to experience too. You can’t replicate the feel of the state meet, but it comes close.”

Less than two weeks removed from hosting the Gwinnett County meet, Moore said Saturday’s contest will serve as another litmus test for his team while also giving them a chance to become acclimated to a track they hope to return to at the end of the season.

“It’s a good check mark for some events and it gives us a great chance to compete at the site of the boys state meet,” Moore said. “Our county meet was very competitive and we used it as one of the check marks towards region. With our spring break going on now and a more relaxed training schedule, the Jefferson Relays is not as pressure filled for us, but a good way to end spring break and get us going down the final stretch of the season towards region and state.”

Jefferson sophomore Derrick Perkins, who competes in the hurdles, 4x100 relay and triple jump, said he’s also looking forward to this weekends event for multiple reasons.

“We’re working hard this week and have all year,” Perkins said. “We’ve got region coming up also so we’ve been trying to raise our level of competition each week. It’s also my birthday so I’m trying to step my game up for it.”

With multiple volunteers from within the Jefferson athletic department and from around the community, including former players and coaches, and barring any dramatic changes in weather, Corbett said he’s hoping for a great day of events at Dragons Stadium.

“It’s a personal tradition for a lot of people and we have some people who have been helping out since this event began,” Corbett said. “That’s one of the things that’s been instrumental in the success of the Jefferson Relays. We may not have as many schools as we’ve had in the past, but the people from the community have always been a constant and it should be a great event.”
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