With the first three rounds of the UIL track and field postseason in the rearview mirror, all that remains is the state meet.
The top runners, throwers and jumpers in Texas will descend on Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas at Austin on Thursday-Saturday for the latest round of the UIL state track championships.
Qualifiers in Class 4A will compete on Thursday, with 5A athletes following up on Friday and programs from 6A closing the show on Saturday.
There will be plenty of local representation in Austin, including nearby with athletes from McKinney and McKinney North all punching their tickets to the final round of the postseason.
Here's a look at who's making the trip south in a few days.
Mike A. Myers Stadium may as well be a home away from home for the North track and field teams at this time of year. The program has placed either its boys or girls team in the top eight of the 5A standings each of the past seven postseasons, highlighted by back-to-back state titles won by the Lady Bulldogs in 2016-17.
The North boys took fourth at last year's state meet, while the girls finished eighth, and both teams will have healthy representation in Austin later this week.
Senior Alexandra Harber will be particularly busy in her final high school meet, qualifying in three events. The two-time reigning 5A state champion in the pole vault will defend her title once again following a second-place finish at regionals.
Coincidentally enough, that's right on schedule for Harber, who claimed a silver medal at regionals in 2021 and 2022 prior to capturing gold at state. She vaulted 10-9 at regionals but her personalrecord in the event is 13-0 — a height she has cleared in each of her two previous trips to state.
Harber will also compete in both hurdles events after taking third in the 100s and 300s at regionals on respective times of 14.23 and 44.15. She won a bronze medal in the 100 hurdles at last year's state meet with a 14.17 but has dipped that time below the 14-second mark on two occasions earlier in the postseason.
Whereas Harber is making her third trip to state, this week marks the first time her younger brother, Matthew, will compete on that stage after earning a runner-up finish at regionals as just a sophomore with a PR of 14-3.
Senior David Walker, meanwhile, has a busy Friday ahead after qualifying in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and as a leg in the 4x400 relay. He PR'ed in the 300s at regionals with a 37.25, good for first place overall and the third-fastest seed time among the state qualifiers.
Walker also anchored North's mile relay, which not only placed first overall at regionals with a 3:18.35 but helped the Bulldogs distance from the field to earn the Region II-5A team title as well. He was joined on that relay by junior Taylor Briggs, sophomore Dakalon Tyler and sophomore Christopher Smallwood to post the second-fastest seed time among qualifiers.
Senior Korbin Hendrix will also be in action after qualifying in the 100, winning a regional title off a closely contested 10.43.
In addition to Alexandra Harber's trio of events, the Lady Bulldogs will compete in the 4x200 relay with seniors Gabrielle McPherson, Whitney Hickman, Caitlin Coffie and sophomore Ryhan Balous looking to build off a second-place finish at regionals at 1:39.53.
Freshman Teah Walker made the cut with the top third-place finish across the four 5A regions to earn the ninth and final qualifying spot in the high jump. She cleared 5-6, a PR that's good for the fifth-best seed mark entering Friday.
After finishing 10th at regionals as a junior last year, Lionettes senior Ivana Odonkor broke through in a big way on Saturday by taking second in the 400 to qualify for state.
Odonkor competed in three events at regionals, also running a leg on the McKinney girls' 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Those two races bookended one of Odonkor's better times all year in the 400, registering a 54.90.
That marked the second time this year that Odonkor has dipped her time in the 400 below the 55-second mark — she ran a PR of 54.38 on March 25 at Jesuit-Sheaner Relays — and doing so again at state could bode well. Odonkor's time at regionals was the third-fastest seed mark among qualifiers and her PR ranks fourth in all of 6A, per Athletic.net.
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