Eyes on the prize for Archer
Year after year, Devontie Archer of Excelsior High School has come close to gold at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships. A determined performance in the Class One 400m hurdles at last week’s Corporate Area Championships suggests that his quest for gold might be fulfilled this year. The Excelsior Eagle held off a strong challenge to win in 51.56 seconds.
He was under pressure from Shantamoi Brown of Kingston College until the penultimate hurdle, when he pulled away to establish the fastest time of the season. Brown, the 2014 Class Three 400 and 800m winner, crossed the finish line in 52.29 seconds.
Despite the fine effort by Brown, Archer was composed throughout the race.
“I feel fine. I feel great. I feel like how I’m doing right now, great,” Archer said. “This race was mainly to come out here and win so that’s what I did, just win.”
The 2018 Carifta Under-17 champion pleased himself with his season-leading clocking.
“That’s a very nice performance for me,” said Archer, whose personal best of 51.20s came chasing Romel Plummer last year.
A pre-race talk with coach David Riley set the tone for the victory.
“Today, he told me to just go out there and deliver because he knows I can do it and I believe in him, and so I did,” he said.
Archer erred while leading the 2018 Class Two final, but the speedy hurdler feels his golden day is coming.
“This year is definitely for the change,” he said. “This year, I’m in it to win it,”
Archer won a Champs gold medal as part of a solid Excelsior 4x400m relay team and showed his flat speed with a 46.6 second leg for the Eagles on Saturday. He says a title defence is on the cards for March 28, the last day of Champs.
“That’s what we set out to do, and I think we can do it in the name of the Lord,” he said.
The Excelsior relay bid grew in strength after Archer’s win, as his teammate Demar Francis dominated the Class One 400m and won going away in 46.87 seconds.