NORMAN — Mackenzie Wahpepah-Harris even surprised himself.
The Norman High senior missed most of the track season with injury, and returned to the track last week despite not being 100 percent.
But less than full strength was still plenty for Wahpepah-Harris at the Class 6A regional meet on Saturday, as he raced to a first-place finish in the two-mile run and finished just inches behind Edmond Memorial’s Alex Shook in the mile.
“I didn’t know what to expect today, and I surprised myself,” said Wahpepah-Harris, who has spent the last few months in the pool and working on the elliptical. “So to do as well as I did and keep up with Shook to the very end, I’m very happy with how I did. Now I have another week to prepare for state.”
Wahpepah-Harris was one of a number of Tigers and Timberwolves who placed highly at the meet and qualified for next week’s state competition.
The top three placers in each event Saturday automatically qualify for state, while those who finished outside the top three have a chance to qualify if their times turn out to be the best among the four best of the non automatic-qualifiers.
Norman High will send athletes to state for 18 events after both teams finished second, and North automatically qualified athletes for 15 events at state as both teams finished third overall.
Those numbers includes a number of athletes who had spectacular days at regionals by winning multiple events.
That includes North’s Haley Woodard, who won the 200 and 400, and NHS’ Imond Robinson, who accomplished the same feat by taking the 100 and 200-meter sprints in his last meet at Harve Collins Field.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “This is my home, and I’m going to miss it. But to go out my senior year like this with the teammates I have, that feels good.”
In addition to the automatic qualifiers, there are a number of Tigers and Timberwolves who still have a chance to make it to state.
That includes North’s Jordan Evans, who finished just one one-hundredth of a second behind teammate Corbin Cleveland in the 100, as well as NHS’ Tommy Uglean, who posted a fourth-place finish in the 800 with a time of 1:59.38, a significant improvement over his previous-best time this year.
Saturday’s meet was an opportunity for many of NHS and North’s top athletes to measure themselves against regional competition a week before state.
But for some, including Woodard, it was also a new experience.
For the first time this season, Woodard ran in five separate events and qualified in every one, a feat that will give her plenty of opportunities to medal at the state meet but also came with a drawback.
“I’m exhausted,” she said after completing her final run of the day. “I’ve never run this many events before, so it’s new to me.
This is also the first year I’ve run an entire track season, but I’m happy with how we ran today, and I’m excited for next week.”
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Class 6A regional track meet results
Edmond Memorial 246, Norman High 114, Norman North 102, Putnam City 96, US Grant 24.
Edmond Memorial 224, Norman High 142, Norman North 101, Lawton 86, Southmoore 49.
200: 1. Haley Woodard, Norman North, 24.73.
400: 1. Haley Woodard, Norman North, 56.85.
800: 2. Belle Wallace, Norman North, 2:21.45. 3. Hayley Redwine, Norman High 2:23.16.
1600: 1. Hayley Redwine, Norman High, 5:21.86. 2. Abbey Mace, Norman North, 5:23.67.
3200: 1. Hayley Redwine, Norman High, 11:45.79. 2. Abbey Mace, Norman North, 11:47.55.
100 hurdles: 1. Peyton Osborne, Norman High, 15.66.
400 relay: 2. Norman North, 49.69.
1600 relay: 2. Norman North, 4:08.25.
3200 relay: 2. Norman North, 10:54.44. 3. Norman High, 11:29.46.
Shot put: 1. Marisa Fleck, Norman High, 38-03.5.
Discus: 1. Marisa Fleck, Norman High, 117-05. 2. Caleigh Donaghe, Norman High, 117-04.
100: 1. Imond Robinson, Norman High, 11.07. 3. Corbin Cleveland, Norman North, 11.26.
200: 1. Imond Robinson, Norman High, 22.27. 3. Redford Jones, Norman North, 22.55.
400: 2. DJ Hicks, Norman North, 51.74.
1600: 2. Mackenzie Wahpepah-Harris, Norman High, 4:26.28.
3200: 1. Mackenzie Wahpepah-Harris, Norman High, 9:55.46. 2. Ben Barrett, Norman North, 9:59.93.
400 relay: 1. Norman North, 42.66.
800 relay: 1. Norman North, 1:30.07.
1600 relay: 2. Norman High, 3:28.81.
3200 relay: 2. Norman High, 8:23.52.
High jump: 1. Michael Piper, Norman High, 6-02.
Pole vault: 1. Colin Pasque, Norman High, 15. 2. Heath Stacy, Norman North, 14-06.
Long jump: 3. Celyan Bowler, Norman High, 20-10.75.
Shot put: 2. Cole Ridgway, Norman High, 50-05.
Discus: 3. Cole Ridgway, Norman High, 149-05.