The Legendary Benjamin Banneker 2023 Track Team

The Benjamin Banneker Academic High School boys track and field team made history over the course of the season, truly engraving this group of young men and women into the annals of Banneker for years to come.

Starting out the season, no one could have expected the sheer level of success that would await the Benjamin Banneker track and field team.

“I was anticipating a good season,” says revered coach Christopher Verner, who has coached the team for over 6 years. “But nothing could have prepared me for what this team did,” he said. “I always believe in my athletes and know that they can do great things, however, what they were able to bring home was truly unprecedented.”

Two years ago, cross country season started in September, making a committed and regular track and field athlete at Banneker part of a year round activity. In 2021, the Bulldogs won their very first cross country award with a 3rd place at championships, and a broken 5k record. The record was broken by Aiden Pierre with a time of 19:43, beating the previous record of 19:44.

The season only improved from there.

With a halt to the indoor season due to the looming after effects of COVID-19, the team continued to train and improve over the winter without any competitions. Following all of that work and preparation, the 2022 outdoor track and field season promptly kicked off in April. Running at multiple invitationals, flexing their muscles at developmental meets, and placing at championships. The team won two first places with an unprecedented 4×800 team and Yohanes Alemayehu in the 3200m, plus a third place in the 800m from Dominic Rusciolelli, an all league award won by Aiden Pierre, two finalist placements in the 100m and 200m by Nevaeh Robinson, and a third place from Joel Walker in shot put. It was the best Banneker track and field has ever done in its history and it set the foundation for the future.

With the 2022 team already thinking that they did the best, could not had fathomed what awaited them the following year.

After a summer hiatus sprinkled with dedicated summer practices, and the tearful shedding off of seniors Isaiah Bowman and Garrison Graham, the track team was officially entering it’s 2023 season: The golden season of the Benjamin Banneker Academic High School track and field team.

Starting how all track seasons do, with a strenuous cross country season, more participation than ever was reached, and more history was forged. Yohanes Alemayehu became the first Banneker runner to reach a time below 19 minutes in the 5k and Aiden Pierre beat his previously held record bringing his time down to 19:07. This alongside a repeat third place placement in cross country overall, acted as a trampoline that sprung Banneker track forward into a wonderful indoor season.

Next came a grueling indoor season, with unfortunate delays alongside injuries and finicky practices, indoor season tested the track team’s resolve. Despite this, however, awards were still garnered at championships. Kidus Yohanes received the very first shot put medal in Banneker history getting third place, Paul Couts came second in the 800m with the fastest indoor 800m time in Banneker history, and  Aiden Pierre received another all league award for his indoor track and field season.

Benjamin Banneker track and field rounded out the year legendarily. With an unprecedented amount of points garnered, a plethora of personal records and school records broken, an all league award for Yohanes Alemayehu, and a total of 25 medals for the entire team, Banneker was able to do something that it has never done before — win a title at Track and Field Championships, and they did this in wonderful fashion.

History made, legacy forged, the 2023 Banneker track and field team has truly cemented themselves into the legacy of not only Banneker track and field, but also the history of Benjamin Banneker Athletics itself.