Striking gold: Stonewall’s Banks wins 3 titles at Shenandoah District T&F Championships
ELKTON – Athletes hit the track, jumping pits and throwing circles for the first time this postseason at the Shenandoah Boys Track and Field Championships at East Rockingham High School on Wednesday afternoon. None were busier – or claimed more individual gold – than Wade Banks.
The Stonewall Jackson senior won individual titles in the boys high jump, 110-meter high hurdles and 300 hurdles, was second in the triple jump and ran the second leg of the Generals’ fourth-place 4×400 relay team. Banks also missed all-district honors – reserved for the top six individuals – by one spot in the shot put, and he competed in the discus as well.
In all, Banks tallied 39 total points in the meet – over half of the Generals’ total of 63, which landed them in third place out of nine teams – and earned the district’s Boys Track and Field Player of the Year for his effort.
Banks bounced from event to event during the meet, which took place through a persistent light rain, but he’s grown accustomed to the workload after doing it all in the regular season.
“It’s gotten better as the year’s gone on, and I don’t really feel it during the events,” Banks said shortly after the championships. “It’s usually after. The bus ride home is when I feel it, tomorrow. But it’s fun. It’s worth it.”
Banks, last year’s VHSL Group 1A state runner-up in the 110 hurdles, cruised to his first gold in that same event at the Shenandoah District Championships on Wednesday. His time of 16.22 seconds was nearly a minute faster than runner-up Michael Holmes of Wilson Memorial.
Banks, who stands 6-foot-5, went straight from the first hurdle event back to the high jump to finish off his winning performance, in which he cleared six feet to beat East Rockingham’s Trenton Morrison.
“I actually didn’t expect that. I was a little surprised,” Banks said. “The kid from East Rock, he’s a freaking behemoth. He could probably pick me up and throw me through a wall, but I just got him a little bit with form at the end and that was a pleasant surprise.”
Banks’ third gold came in the 300 hurdles, his seemingly effortless stride powering him to a time of 44.87. He beat the rest of the field by more than a second.
“I did kind of have a slow start in the 110s but I was the fastest I’ve been all year in between the hurdles. I’m happy with my time,” Banks said. “The 300s, I probably should’ve gone a little quicker. My times haven’t been what I wanted them to be this year, so I’m hoping once we get to the region, start picking up a few more kids with closer times, it’ll start dropping before states. And I’ll have a little more time to practice before states.”
Banks was one of five Stonewall boys to earn individual all-district medals on Wednesday afternoon, doing so alongside sophomores Andrew Leon and Tristan Williams, junior Zachari Munoz and freshman John Garber.
Leon placed third in the 400-meter dash (53.34 seconds) and was fourth in the 800, clocking in at a time of 2:08.57. Leon was in sixth place after the first lap of the 800 and dropped to seventh at the 500-meter mark but made a push over the final 200 meters of the race. He tried to overtake Wilson’s Patrick Cash down the final stretch but crossed the finish line a hundredth of a second behind the Hornets’ senior.
Leon said his mark in the 800 was a state-qualifying time.
“I was trying to get that time to qualify for state, and I got it. I feel amazing,” said Leon, who also ran a leg of the fourth-place 4×400 relay team alongside Banks and teammates Nick Pabon and Zach Wine. “I wasn’t feeling that well. I was having headaches and stuff, but now I’m just focused on running. I don’t care if I’m hurt or something, I just go.”
Munoz and Williams finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 3,200 with times of 11:29.31 and 11:32.92. Garber was sixth in the 200 with a time of 24.92.
Stonewall’s 4×800 relay team – comprised of Pabon, Wine, Riley Gonzalez and Derek Rodriguez Cordero – placed third in a time of 9:17.57.
Wilson Memorial won the boys team title with 118 points, edging out East Rockingham by two points.
Stonewall hosts the Region 1B Championships on Monday.