By Bill McCaughey
Marshall High School earned its second consecutive 5A boys track and field state championship last week, powered by its 4×100-meter and 4×200-meter relay teams. Marshall finished with 52 points, outdistancing second place Waxahachie by 16 points.
After their relay teams qualified for state at the regional meet, coach Lloyd Banks said, “I thought we had a good chance to win the championship.”
The 4×100-meter relay team got Marshall on the board with 20 points as they won comfortably in 40.13 seconds.
“Cederian Lynch ran first and put us in the lead, Shamon Ehiemua then extended the lead, Jarmaiz Whitaker maintained it, and John Isom brought us home,” Banks said.
The 4×200 meter relay was much closer with Marshall winning by 0.08 seconds and adding another 20 points to their total. Lynch again ran the first leg, followed by Jeremy Smith, Whitaker and Ehiemua.
Whitaker, a senior, is planning on attending the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, majoring in design.
Banks, who was the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Texas Coach of the year in 2015, said, “I was absolutely blessed with this squad. They are like family.”
Banks has coached track and field for 15 years, the last six years at Marshall. In his younger days, he ran track and played football at Southern Methodist University.
Shamon Ehiemua, a junior, contributed another 10 points by winning the 200-meter dash. According to Banks,
“Shamon is an awesome runner and an awesome student,” Banks said.
When he is not running, Shamon plays several musical instruments and records his own songs.
Senior John Isom added the final two points by finishing sixth in the 400-meter dash. Isom is planning on running for the University of Houston track team next year.
With Ehiemua and Lynch returning next year, Banks feels they have the opportunity to be good.
“I like to talk to the team about reloading, not rebuilding,” he said.
This year Marshall had 63 boys on its varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams. “Even our state champion relay teams were being pushed by their teammates in practice. Our practices are very competitive,” said Banks.
Banks likes to keep his runners fresh by giving them a day off each week during the season. He also stresses mental toughness.
“I tell my team that the other team may look tough but they will have to beat us, and we are mentally tougher,” he said.