Nordonia siblings Daniel Banks and Faith Banks bring a friendly rivalry to each track and field meet in which they compete.
“We have a little competition where if I get first, he tries to get first, because girls usually run first [in a meet],” Faith said after the Division I regional meet at Austintown Fitch High School on Friday.
Both Daniel and Faith qualified for this weekend’s state meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the Ohio State University campus in the 400-meter dash, and Faith is also a member of the Knights’ girls 1,600 relay that will compete.
“It is fun going down to state with your teammates and going down to state with one of your siblings is a great experience,” said Daniel, a junior who also plays football.
“I ran the 400 first [as a freshman] and Faith did not want to run the 400 for the life of her. We finally convinced her to run it and now she is out here putting up these times.”
Faith, a sophomore who also plays volleyball, said she first ran a competitive 400 as a freshman because “the coaches put me in the event.”
Daniel Banks was second in the 400 at this year’s regional meet with a personal-best time of 48.85 seconds. Faith Banks took second in the 400 in a personal-best time of 55.41, and joined sophomores Carmen Licht, Katrina Eterovich and Aja DuVall to win the 1,600 relay in 3:53.43.
The Banks siblings were each first in the 400 the previous week at the Division I district meet at Nordonia when Daniel posted a time of 49.81 and Faith clocked a 55.64.
Neither Daniel nor Faith thought they would have a future in the 400, but now both like the event and continually work to improve.
“It was not appealing at all,” Daniel said. “We were at an invitational [two years ago] and they put me at anchor [of the 1,600 relay] and I popped out a 52 [second] split. The coaches were like ‘Wow, that freshman can move.’ Ever since then, I have been anchoring the 4x4 and they put me in the open 400, and I’ve been moving ever since.”
Nordonia coach Scott Barwidi said the 1,600 relay won that day two years ago at Willoughby South. His advice to Daniel that day was “Go be tough.”
The Banks siblings, which include seventh-grade twins Jonathan and Joy, hit the “genetic jackpot” according to Barwidi because their parents, Sonja and David Banks, were each standouts. Sonja, whose maiden name was Thomas, competed in volleyball and track and field at Cleveland Heights High School and played volleyball at the University of Tennessee. David was an athlete in track and field at Bedford High School.
“It is so neat to see their little competition between the two of them,” Barwidi said. “Like Faith said, ‘if I get first’ than Daniel is like ‘Oh, I gotta get first.’
“They are so close and they are such unique kids. They have a great family and a great upbringing. It is a lot of fun having these two around.”
This will be Daniel’s third trip to the state meet after running on Nordonia’s 1,600 relay as a freshman and the 800 relay as a sophomore. The 800 relay was eighth last year. Faith will be making her second appearance at state in the same two events. She helped the 1,600 relay team place fifth a year ago.
“We have to stay concentrated and focused on our race,” Daniel said.
In total, Nordonia will bring nine athletes to the state meet; the Banks siblings, Eterovich, DuVall, Licht (also in the girls 3,200 relay), sophomore Lizzy Gurko (girls 3,200 relay), senior Jaylah Sirca (girls 3,200 relay), freshman Mallory Tedor (girls 3,200 relay) and senior Tony Woods (boys 100, 200).
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.