New last name, same old speed for Joah Banks

Boys track & field: Prairie hurdler wins 2 events at MVC Indoor

Cedar Rapids Prairie's Joah Banks clears a hurdle on his way to winning the 60-meter hurdles during the Mississippi Valley Conference boys' indoor track and field meet Monday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie's Joah Banks clears a hurdle on his way to winning the 60-meter hurdles during the Mississippi Valley Conference boys' indoor track and field meet Monday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR FALLS — Since last track season, Joah Wallace became Joah Banks.

“It was just a bunch of confusion, so I changed it,” he said. “To get my license and stuff, I had to change it.”

Either way and either name, he’s an elite hurdler.

Banks brought Prairie from behind in the shuttle hurdle relay, then ran away from the field in the 60-meter hurdles at the Mississippi Valley Conference boys’ indoor track and field meet Monday night at the UNI-Dome.

“It felt really good out there today,” he said. “I felt faster.

“I’ve gotten taller since last year, so I’m stepping over the hurdles now instead of jumping.”

Team scores were not kept, but this was a balanced meet in which eight different schools won at least one event. Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Dubuque Wahlert and Waterloo West each won three.

Prairie is the defending Class 4A state champion. Stars like Jalen Rima and Tysen VanDraska have moved on to college, so Banks becomes a key figure in the Hawks’ bid to repeat.

Banks was the 4A state champion in the 110-meter hurdles last year. He put 15 pounds on during football season, and now he has shed them, bringing him back down to the 150s on his 5-foot-10 frame. He was clocked in 7.81 seconds in the 60 hurdles.

“I didn’t want to lose that much (weight),” he said. “I need to bulk back up a little.”


Banks is a senior and uncommitted for college. His dream school is Arizona State, but his more realistic target is here at UNI.

“I really want to come here,” he said. “My buddies, like Jalen, they’re here.”

Prairie also captured the 800 relay, in 1:35.78.

With virtually every MVC school on spring break this week, most teams competed with a skeleton crew. Washington still got a lot of mileage out of its middle-distance and distance corps, getting titles from Maliek Vance (400, 53.77), Max Locher (800, 2:08.26) and Lewis Kleman (1,600, 4:41.86).

Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Jackson Coker is the reigning 4A discus champion. They don’t throw the discus indoors, but Coker let a beauty fly in the shot put — 58 feet, 8 inches.

A 2:02 opening leg by sophomore Daniel Brown put Iowa City High in front for good in the 3,200-meter relay, and the Little Hawks breezed to the win in 8:38.51.

Jared Sams-Merriwether of Iowa City West cleared 6-4 to claim the high jump crown.


At Cedar Falls (UNI-Dome)

No Team Scoring

Shot put — 1. Jackson Coker (CRK), 58-8; 2. Nick Joens (WW), 50-11; 3. Jackson Lestikow (CF), 48-1; High jump — 1. Jared Sams-Merriwether (ICW), 6-4; 2. J. Clark (WE), 6-2; 3. M. Abbas (CF), 5-8; Long jump — 1. Todd (WW), 20-5l 2. Danny McDermott (DW), 20-2; 3. C. Eagan (CF), 19-9.

3,200 — 1. Adam Mueller (DH), 10:11.72; 2. Addison Kalb (DH), 10:23.15; 3. Caleb Burjes (CF), 10:25.57; 3,200 relay — 1. Iowa City High, 8:38.51; 2. Iowa City West, 8:52.44; 3. C.R. Prairie, 8:52.47; Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. C.R. Prairie, 35.90; 2. Dubuque Wahlert, 37.28; 3. Dubuque Hempstead, 37.76; 60 — 1. Alden Kuntz (DW), 6.88; 2. Matt Timmer (CF), 6.89; 3. Cairon Hendred (CRK), 7.00; 400 — 1. Maliek Vance (CRW), 53.77; 2. Angelo Romagna (DS), 54.08; 3. Brayden Wright (CRW), 54.53; 800 relay — 1. C.R. Prairie, 1:35.78; 2. Dubuque Hempstead, 1:36.60; 3. Waterloo East, 1:36.72; 1,600 — Lewis Kleman (CRW), 4:41.86; 2. Max Laue (CRP), 4:43.06; 3. Ben Hermiston (DH), 4:46.53; 60 hurdles — 1. Joah Banks (CRP), 7.81; 2. Ryan Rogers (DW), 8.25; 3. Trent Davis (LM), 8.67; 200 — 1. Carlton Todd (WW), 22.96; 2. Brayden Wright (CRW), 23.41; 3. Blake Jones (CRK), 23.61; 1,600 medley relay — 1. Dubuque Wahlert, 3:50.86; 2. Dubuque Senior, 3:55.78; 3. C.R. Jefferson, 3:58.85; 800 — 1. Max Locher (CRW), 2:08.26; 2. Louis Kleman (CRW), 2:09.12; 3. Caden Turnbough (ICH), 2:10.94; 600 — 1. Isaiah Arndorfer (WW), 1:25.31; 2. Jeff Garbutt (ICW), 1:26.24; 3. Edwin Gehy (CRP), 1:27.97; 400 relay — 1. Dubuque Hempstead, 45.17; 2. Dubuque Senior, 45.95; 3. C.R. Prairie, 45.99; 1,600 relay — 1. Dubuque Wahlert, 3:42.18; 2. Linn-Mar, 3. C.R. Jefferson, 3:44.97.

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