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.”