By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
Members of the Marshall High School boys track team know what coach Lloyd Banks means by Go Time.
“Go Time is when the spotlight is on you and it’s time for you to perform,” Banks said. “Go Time can be at the state championship, at a weekly meet, at practice or even in the class room when you are taking a test. It is your time to perform to the best of your ability.”
The last few years Marshall has performed well at Go Time. They have won the 5A state championship the last two years, and finished second the two years before that. “A lot of teams have great talent, but it’s what happens at Go Time,” Banks said.
Banks is excited about this season.
“We have a senior heavy team who are very talented, and are serving as leaders for our younger team members,” Banks said. “We have a very tough group, and we will compete against anyone.”
His team has already surprised the track community by clocking a 40.6 time in the 4X100 relay in their first meet in February. The time is the second best in the country this year, only a Florida team, with a 40.59, is better. Most schools are lucky to have one sprinter that can run 100 meters in 10 seconds, Marshall has four on one relay team.
“The 40.6 was a bit of a shock, but we thought we could do it, and we went out and executed,” Banks said. “It was Go Time, and we went.”
Banks, who has been involved in track for 38 years, has his own methods of coaching.
“Our practice looks a little chaotic at times, but we do have a method to our madness,” Banks said. “I like to have the freshmen and sophomores work together so they learn how to practice. The upper classmen will tend to work on their own, as they know what they need to do.
I also like our sprinters to run all three sprints, the 100, 200 and 400 meters, instead of just concentrating on one distance. It makes them stronger. We also take one day off each week to keep fresh.”
Tyrell Valentine prefers the 400-meter race.
“My goal is to win the 400 at state,” Valentine said. “I am shooting for 45.9 seconds. So far I have done 47.6. The 400-meter race is an energy distribution race. I try to conserve a little energy and then use it for a big finish. In the 100-meter race, you have to get up to top speed right at the start.”
Valentine started running when he was six years old.
“I played other sports but I have focused on track in high school,” Valentine said.
He is a senior and he is committed to Texas State University where he plans to study computer engineering.
Cedarein Lynch runs the 100, 200 and 400.
“My favorite is the 4X400 relay because it is very intense. It is the last race of the meet and may decide who wins,” Lynch said.
Lynch runs the first leg on the 4X100 relay team.
“40.6 was crazy. Everyone executed their leg perfectly,” Lynch said. “My goal on the first leg is to get a lead. If I can hand off the stick with a lead, we can win.”
Lynch loves the competition.
“In practice, the seniors compete against each other, and the freshman are always pushing us,” Lynch said. “I just love the sport and my teammates.”
Lynch is aware of the pressure of going for back-to-back state championships.
“Having won two state championships, we know we have a target on our backs,” Lynch said. “We have to run with a chip on our shoulder. We have to keep working. You can never stop learning and getting better.”
Lynch watches film of his races to make sure he holds his form, and he is always asking his teammates if they have spotted something he is doing different.
“I used to run ugly,” Lynch said. “But Coach taught me the proper techniques. He is always stressing how important it is to hold form, even when you are hurting out there.”
Shamon Ehiemua started running when he was six years old. He played other sports but decided to focus on track when he entered high school. He is a senior and is committed to Florida State University where he wants to study pre-med.
“When I visited Tallahassee, the entire track team was at the airport to meet me. They really made me feel like family,” Ehiemua said.
He also plays several musical instruments and records his own songs. Ehiemua’s favorite race is the 200 meters, and he loads up on carbohydrates the night before a race.
“I eat pasta and bread, and a lot of protein the night before a race,” Ehiemua said. “I also drink a lot of coconut water the night before and during a meet. It has a lot of electrolytes and keeps my muscles from cramping.”
Ehiemua wants to see the winning tradition continue at Marshall after he leaves.
“Success is growing the program at Marshall,” Ehiemua said. “The seniors are training the freshmen to be leaders, and to continue the winning tradition. If you put in your work, you will be a winner.”