In 1992, Ardmore's boys track and field team ended up a close second to Duncan in Class 4A.
It was a year-by-year progression back to the top of 4A for the Tigers. After winning the state title in 1990, Duncan secured back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992, with Ardmore coming in third and second, respectively.
The Tigers finally had had enough in 1993.
Ardmore's boys defeated John Marshall 102-77 for their fourth state championship in eight years. And even with the dominant performance at state, the win wasn't a given headed into the event. Ardmore had placed third at its conference meet just weeks prior to the state meet at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
Many of the athletes on the track and field team were state title winners from Ardmore's basketball and football teams earlier in the year.
The boys track and field title was the cherry on top of one of the most dominant athletic years in Oklahoma high school history.
Success from sport to sport
Marcus Banks, senior sprinter/hurdler, Class of 1993: It did help. Not only did it help — you've seen success, that's No. 1 — but also you want to experience it again. Our junior year, we lost the state championship by three points. With that experience, being there our junior year, when we came back it really helped. We were determined not to have the same outcome.
Something else I think that's key — some of the older guys really set a standard. Rod Sanders, who went on to play football at Oklahoma State, was a hurdler at Ardmore. I wanted to be like Rod. That's something that helps. When you see success when you're younger, it gives you something to strive for.
Josh McGee, junior shot put/discus, Class of 1994: A lot of us guys had one thing in mind: to be champions. We took it upon ourselves to work out during the summer. As a group, coach didn't have to say much to us. We had a lot of people in the community that backed us and supported us. We went out as a team to try to bring a championship back to Ardmore and it went on throughout the year.
Memories of 1993
Banks: My senior year, I was pretty much the favorite going into every race. My junior year, I finished second in the 110 hurdles.
I false started at the University of Oklahoma earlier in the year. If I got out of the blocks clean, I knew I had a good chance of winning the state championship. When I looked at the results the next day in the paper (after state), I had a feeling of satisfaction, that I had finally achieved my goal.
My times were comparable with the best in the state in 5A as well. I had aspirations of running track at the University of Oklahoma. That was the key for me, to show them that I could run really at the next level. Other than winning the state championship as the team and individually, when the coach came and stopped me and Ricky Smith (at the state championships) and wanted to talk to us about running track at OU, after the entire meet was over, that was the highlight for me.
At state, Banks set a school record in the 110-meter hurdles.
Even when I was running, I wasn't running to break a record. When I saw that I'd broken some records, I didn't think it would last this long. I truely think records are meant to be broken.
McGee: I could have done better; I contributed but not as much as I wanted to. We had talent at pretty much every spot. Coach Minkley did a good job with us, and so did coach (Jim) Secrest with the girls. He and coach Minkley did and excellent job with us.
We had speed all around. A lot of us that played football and basketball or any other sports, we all came out for track as well. We just didn't want to stick with one sport, we all came out for track and there was plenty of males and females for the coaches to choose from.
Banks: Ricky (Smith) was the only man in all classes to win four gold medals. One thing about Ricky is he always had a cool head. He was all about business. He was the perfect example of what a good teammate should be. He was never too high, never too low.
Da'Wuan (Lawson), he was an all-around athlete. Whatever you needed him to do, he could do it. He was not a quarter-miler. We were already strong at some of the sprints. Coach Minkley saw where we could pick up points in the 400, he blossomed toward the end of the year and he brought that 400 home.
McGee: Ricky Smith ... he was just a different type of athlete. When it came to track, he was just above and beyond everyone else. He was world class. The dude could run. He'd get out there and everybody knew that he could get it. ... Da'Wuan Lawson, in track, him and Ricky together, he and the other guys, those guys were just smoking. Dewan was our last leg. He always brought it home for us. We just had so much talent on our team, coach (Minkley) could do whatever he needed to do to make us successful.
A special class
Banks: I'm sure everyone has their own opinion of that class, but we were closer coming up all the way through seventh grade through high school. Who you're with through the seventh grade, you're with pretty much through high school. You get six years with the same people, the core is the same. With that, in high school, a lot of us competed on varsity earlier.
Ardmore has always been good at athletics. We had sophomores who started on that state championship (football) team in 1990. That's something that helps. You can look at that in every sport. ... As a freshman in high school, I was one-hundreth of a second from qualifying from state. I think that showed us how good we could be with a little bit more work. I think it's contagious.
McGee: We had a group of guys, we loved sports. You see guys on the street now, but a majority of our guys were more into going to school and ball. A lot of our family members were successful in playing ball and lot of us wanted to follow in those footsteps or do better.