Banman puts the ‘Go’ in Goessel

BanmanCraig444.jpg
BanmanCraig444.jpg

Goessel?s Craig Banman holds two handfuls of state medals?the six gold and fpour silver medals he won during his career as a Bluebird. He plans to run track at KSU next year.

Goessel High School sprinter Craig Banman made his mark in one of the last races he would run in a Bluebirds uniform.

In addition to helping lift his team into second place at the Class 1A level, Banman put his name on a slice of history by trimming more than four-tenths of a second from a 30-year-old state record in the 400 meter dash.

The record run is a fitting capstone for the foundation he laid with practice. As a freshman, Banman placed seventh in both pole vault and 4×100 relay.

He anchored the 4×100 relay as a sophomore, lifting it and the Bluebirds 4×400 to silver. He took silver in the 300 meter hurdles, and fourth in pole vault.

He continued to progress in 2008, anchoring a first place 4×400 crew and winning individual gold in the 200, 300 hurdles. He took bronze in the pole vault.

As a senior, he came within a few millimeters of winning gold in four events. Ashland?s Bobby Krahn won the 100-meter dash by 0.03 of a second.

?I had a slow start in the 100. but that stuff happens,? Banman said.

But ?that stuff? did not happen again. He beat Krahn by 0.34 in the 200 and finished a full second ahead of silver in the record-setting 400.

?I had sort of tweaked my (hamstring) in the 100, so for the 400, I had it wrapped,? he said. ?But before the race I took it off because I didn?t feel like I could get very much movement. I didn?t feel like I had run a fast time at all, but I knew I won.?

For an encore, Banman anchored the victorious 4×400?a win that lifted Goessel into second and dropped Ashland into third.

He credited coaching for his improvement in the 400.

?We did a workout this year where we?d go 200-meter sprints as fast as we could, then a minute rest, and again,? he said. ?We?d do four of those. I think it helped us a lot, especially the 400 runners.?

Behind his reputation as a man of few words and slightly hidden by his soft-spoken style, Banman is as competitive as he is gifted.

He ran the point for two state-qualifying basketball teams, and his blazing speed was rarely matched on the football field. He said he is especially proud of being named a first team all-state running back his junior and senior seasons.

The Goessel football team went 10-1 in 2008, undefeated until an 42-34 loss to Madison in regionals. He doesn?t mention that in the narrow win over Pretty Prairie two weeks earlier, he scored three touchdowns?one on a 70-yard kick return. But he mentions the eight-point margin of defeat in the season-ender.

Banman noted the opportunity to compete with and alongside family: ?Favorite memories? Probably just of practices. Both my cousins?Garrett Hiebert, graduated two years ago, and Weston Hiebert, he?s a junior now?that?s been fun. My mom?s been track coach, Competed with them for a long time.?

This fall, Banman will step out on his own, opting to run track at Kansas State University, where he plans to major in agriculture.

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