By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
STATESBORO — Every second counts, says Effingham County’s 800-meter runner Megan Hilton.
The senior continues to shave off seconds and continues to break records in the Rebels’ track and field record book.
Hilton etched her name at the top of the 800-meter list by bettering her own mark with a time of 2:22.23 at Savannah Country Day on March 31.
Three weeks earlier, she recorded a 2:25.21 to pass Rayne Cartwright’s time of 2:28.41 for the school record set in 2013.
On March 25, Hilton ran a 2:24.25 at the Mustang Madness, hosted by South Effingham.
“I’ve been trying to break (the school record) ever since 10th grade. That’s when I started running it,” Hilton said on Saturday at the Statesboro Relays.
Now she can’t stop breaking records. According to a program given out at the Statesboro Relays on Saturday, Hilton’s winning 800 time of 2:25.29 was the fastest in the meet’s 51-year history.
In less than a month, she has posted the top five 800 times ever at Effingham County.
“She’s very competitive and puts in the work to get better and it’s showing up in the meets,” Rebels boys and girls track coach Mark Smith said.
Hilton ran cross country in the fall and placed 87th at the Class AAAAAA state meet.
“I guess (the 800) is more my speed,” she said. “I like the competition and the race in general. I think it’s fun because sometimes I don’t like running long distances.”
Hilton won’t be going long distances from home to go to college. She recently signed to run cross country and indoor and outdoor track at Emmanuel College, an NCAA Division II school located in Franklin Springs, about 30 miles northeast of Athens.
She said she wants to major in a pre-veterinary program.
In other top local performances at the 14-team Statesboro Relays on Saturday, ECHS’ Candace Kieffer also topped an existing meet mark in the 3200, but finished second with a time of 11:44.22. Kieffer won the 1600 with a time of 5:35.42.
Other Rebel first-place finishers were Abby McDonald with a throw of 36-7 in the shot put and Roneisha Goss with a personal season-best 26.22 in the 200.
McDonald placed second in the 100 with a 12.64 with Goss nearby in third at 12.65.
Enna Lackey ran a 16.85 to take second in the 100 hurdles.
Garnering third-place finishes for ECHS were Lackey (in the 300 hurdles, 53.26), Hilton (1600, 6:01.70) and McDonald (pole vault, 8-0)
For South Effingham, on the girls side, Cheyenne Ryan was second in the 1600 at 5:52.26.
For the Mustang boys, Cailan Howard was a double winner in the 3200 and 1600 runs. Howard posted a 4:46.50 in the 1600 and 10:07.37 in the 3200. Teammate Jacob Mitchell was less than a second behind in the 3200 at 10:07.91.
Mitchell captured another second in the 800 at 2:07.09.
In the field events, Cameron Edwards won the triple jump with a leap of 42-9 and placed second in the high jump (6-0) and long jump (21-10).
Jake Kerns won the discus with a throw of 135-4.
Third-place Mustang finishers were Ryan (800, 2:31.81), Lily McDonald (3200, 13:09.82), Alex Brown (high jump, 5-0), Larry Scott (100, 11.3), Tyler Phillips (1600, 4:53.30 and 3200, 10:25.50), Victavious Smith (300 hurdles, 43.67), Corey Renfroe (high jump, 5-10), Thomas Fernandez (pole, 7-6) and Wesley Dixon (discus, 111-3).