Like nearly every sport in UIL competition, many of the top track and field teams in the state call Region I home — as does Harker Heights.
But the Knights and Lady Knights have already looked the best of that competition in the eye this season.
And many emerged victorious.
Now, after competing against many of the best the state has to offer in the area meet, the Heights girls and boys simply have to succeed against that competition one more time at the Region I meet this weekend in Lubbock.
“We’ve already seen the best competition in the state,” Heights girls coach Michelle Womack said. “The defending state champions are in our area, and we’ve already got that opportunity to run against them.
“And we know that they’re not that far ahead of us.”
The Lady Knights have one of the best times in the state in the 4x100 relay and one of the best throwers in Chyna Otis, who Womack said is No. 1 in the shot put and not far behind in the discus. The girls 4x200 team isn’t far behind either.
But Womack said plenty of Lady Knights are capable of surprising the field at the regional meet, including senior sprinter JoVanna Jones.
“I think we’re right there in every event,” Womack said.
Heights boys coach John Dulaney expressed confidence in his athletes as well, particularly UTEP signee Darius Mitchell, who won the district and area meets in the 200-meter dash.
“If he runs a clean race and gets out well I think he should be at the state track meet,” Dulaney said.
Mitchell was also part of the 4x400 relay team that won the area meet, and Dulaney said he has high expectations for it again at the regional.
But it certainly won’t be easy.
“I think we’re going to have to go out to Lubbock and the guys are going to have to perform well,” Dulaney said. “We’ve got to drop some time and run a race much like they ran at area. If they do that I like our chances of heading to state.”
Although the competition will be stiff at the regional, it isn’t anything the Knights and Lady Knights haven’t seen before.
And Womack and Dulaney each said they liked the way their athletes were embracing the upcoming challenge.
“I’m looking at them right now, how they’re working out, and they look like a bunch that’s on a mission to me,” Dulaney said. “I like their attitudes right now, putting in the work, and we’ll just have to go out there and see if we can get it done.”