Splitting up swimming into two separate sessions is a great idea for fans and the schools. It makes for an incredibly long weekend for media members and the workers at OCCC.
So sometimes, yea, I admit to being a little tired during that second session. But I woke right back up during the 5A boys battle between Harrah and Altus.
The Panthers ultimately came out on top to earn their first championship. How close was it? Let’s go event-by-event with a breakdown:
Event No. 1 – 200 Medley Relay
Less than .5 separated the first from third-place teams. Fort Gibson ended up with the win, followed by Harrah and Altus. Altus came in with best qualifying time so this was a bonus for Harrah. Points: Harrah 34-32.
Event No. 2 – 200 Freestyle
Obviously there is no touching Chickasha’s Isaac McKnight. He was dominant as he’s been all four of his years with the Chicks. Altus’s Brandon Alcorta was fourth. Points: Harrah 63-56.
Event No. 3 – 200 IM
Great performance by Heritage Hall’s Matt Veneklasen in this one as he earned his first individual championship. Harrah’s Matt Reaves placed third. Points: Harrah 85-81.
Event No. 4 – 50 Free
This is where the tide went toward Altus. Harrah Braden Hobaugh came in with the top qualifying time, but it was Altus’ Brady George who got the win. That’s a six-point swing right there. By .06 George edged out Hobaugh. Points: Altus 112-109.
Event No. 5 – 100 Butterfly
Miami’s Khyle Hill had a banner day, including winning the 100 fly. Huge points for Altus as Harrah didn’t have one person qualify in this event. Michael Rogers placed third. Points: Altus 139-109.
Event No. 6 – 100 Freestyle
Once again it was McKnight of Chickasha carrying the day. Hobaugh bounced back to place fifth to edge the Panthers a little bit closer. Points: Altus 155.5-136.
Event No. 7 – 500 Freestyle
Bishop Kelley’s Brendan Dolan picked up the win here as Harrah got even closer. Riley Bunyard finished fourth for the Panthers. Points: Altus 169.5-163.
Event No. 8 – 200 Free Relay
And here is where Harrah starts to take control. This is the only event Harrah won, but it was huge. Harrah’s Caleb McCord, Daniel Fijalka, Hobaugh and Reaves were impressive in winning this one. Altus was third. Points: Harrah 203-201.5.
Here was a 15-minute break where I spoke with Harrah coach Guy Worth. He said it would be tight, but he had a lot of swimmers in the 100 back and breaststroke that should give his club the advantage. He was right.
Event No. 9 – 100 Backstroke
Hill was dominant again in easily winning this one. Harrah’s William Fifield finished third as Harrah had two placers to Altus’ one. Points: Harrah 230-210.5.
Event No. 10 – 100 Breaststroke
Kingfisher’s Mason York earned his first title, beating Veneklasen after Veneklasen beat York in the 200 IM. Alcorta placed third, but it was strength in numbers again. Harrah had four placers and Altus had three. Points: Harrah 268-242.5. In other words, as long as Harrah didn’t get DQ’d, it would win.
Event No. 11 – 400 Free Relay
Worth’s message to his team before this one was to not get greedy. Just race your race, and we’ll win. Harrah posted a season-best time in placing second. Altus won the event, but the Bulldogs only gained six points with the victory. Final points: Harrah 302-282.5.
For my story on Harrah’s championship, go here.