Fort Bend Marshall Buffalos Run To Sweep UIL 5A Titles

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When Fort Bend Thurgood Marshall High School was built and established in 2002, it was designated on land that had to be developed. The street the school is on had to be created and named. They named it Buffalos Run and the mascot was picked to be the Buffalos as in the Buffalo Soldiers.

The Buffalo Soldiers were an all-Black cavalry and infantry regiments who served on the Western Frontier in the 1800s to protect America, it's borders, and it's national parks. They also fought for the American Army in World War I, World War II, and even up until the Korean War.

So this weekend, the Marshall track and field teams were not only running to make history, but they were running for history and their namesake.

They had an outstanding UIL 5A Track and Field State Championships last week in Austin, Texas. 

Both the girls and boys teams captured the team titles at the meet's completion to add to the lore of the school's recent and past history.

The girls program won their second consecutive title going back to a tie for first place last year with the illustrious Lancaster program.

This year, the Lady Buffalos left no chance that they wouldn't secure another trophy and tote it back to Missouri City, Texas. The team returned their entire squad from the previous win; that experience paid off as they won comfortably won by 14 points over runner-up Mansfield Timberview.

The boys program won their fifth state title, but their first since 2019. If they look at the pattern they'll see a good sign for the future. The girls just won two in a row and previously the boys have won their four title by going back-to-back on two occasions; they won it all in 2015-2016 and 2018-2019.

The sprints, hurdles, and relays have always been kind to Marshall. The girls loaded up in these scoring events to generate a lead and maintain their advantage throughout the state meet.

Placing second in the 4x100 meter relay and the 4x200 meter relay earned them 32 points between the two events. They also added 12 points from the 4x400 meter relay when they finished in third place.

The hurdle events have been a gift in every single championship that the school has ever won, and this year was no different. Defending UIL 5A 100 meter hurdle champion Tairah Johnson won her second title Friday when she darted a 13.62 with teammate Desirae Roberts finishing fourth in 14.20 and adding four points.

Roberts returned later in the 300 meter hurdles to improve on her fourth place finish from last season as she moved up to a finish runner-up in 42.73 and added eight points to Marshall's point total.

The scoring barrage got started earlier in the afternoon as Johnson finished fifth in the long jump. She soared 19-2 to muster two points. Marshall added that when junior Genesis Griffin's soared 19--4.25 for third overall making it eight points on the board before the track events even began.

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The Marshall boys had to focus and stay on the course to get their win. Not afforded the ability to get double points in the 4x100 meter relay was a hit to the core of the program. 

They are literally the fastest school in America as they have been dominant in this event for the last 10 years. Including the 2020 COVID season, you'd have to go all of the way back to 2012 until you find a season that a Fort Bend Marshall boys team did not run under 41.0.

They did it this year as well, but the dropped the baton in the Region 3-5A finals on the last exchange when they were firmly in control of the race.

All they did in Austin was buckle down and score in just about every way they could.

They won both the 4x200 meter relay and the 4x400 meter relay for 40 points. With seniors Gerard Holmes and Jonathan Howard in the 200m, they scored four points when Holmes finished fourth overall.

From there, the scoring was wrapped in a bow in the events that keep on giving. Arveyon Davis and Chris Brinkley did for the Marshall boys what Johnson and Roberts did for the Marshall girls -- come up big in the hurdles.

Davis finished third in the 110 meter hurdles with in a time of 13.78 to get six points and Brinkley was right behind him in fourth place in 14.02 to provide the team with four points.

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The two would continue to put it down for the team as they doubled back an hour or so later to compete in the 300 meter hurdles; once again, they tallied 10 points. Brinkley would finish third this time around in 36.74 and Davis was fourth in a personal best 37.21.

Junior long jumper JyAdrian Wortham finished seventh for the Buffaloes.

Girls head coach Shahira Ehiemua summed up the meet when she said, "They were determined, they executed and did what needed to be done."

What Marshall did wasn't possible without hard work. It also takes some sort of collaboration and bond of putting in the work together.

Coach Lloyd Banks and Coach Alix may have said it best, "we're teachers first, we're nurturers first at the end of the day, it's way more than track and field," Banks said. Alix added, "we're family, that's all we preach, family."