Fri | Apr 16, 2021

Miller could threaten 48-second barrier

Published:Thursday | April 8, 2021 | 12:16 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
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In the long history of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs), only former Calabar High School captain Christopher Taylor has bettered 48 seconds over 400m in his first year in Class Two. Mark Anthony Miller of...

In the long history of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs), only former Calabar High School captain Christopher Taylor has bettered 48 seconds over 400m in his first year in Class Two. Mark Anthony Miller of Jamaica College (JC) could be next.

Miller clocked 48.08 seconds to win at the Corporate Area Championships last month and his coach, Neil Harrison, said, “I enjoy coaching athletes with range, and he is one such athlete with a very good range, you know, from one to four; but I think as he goes along, he tends to be enjoying the event just now.”

Harrison thinks Miller can make the breakthrough.

“He already ran sub-48, just unfortunate to not receive the time,” he said. “At the meet at JC, I think the clock malfunctioned. I had him at 47.5.”

The official result at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association Qualifying Trial meet on February 27 was 48.31.

“I think the right moment will speak for itself.” Harrison said.

If Miller is successful, he won’t be the first JC boy to do it.

Thirty years ago at Champs, JC’s Edward Clarke became the first Class Two boy to breach the 48-second barrier. His record, 47.49s, stood until 2007. JC’s Sekou Clarke blazed a winning time of 47.57s in 2000, and in 2013, Devaughn Baker, also of JC, won the Champs’ first sub-47 race in 46.64s.

Taylor zipped under 48 in his first year in Class Two with times of 47.25s and 47.04s in 2015.

If the nation’s campaign against COVID-19 allows for Champs to be held, Miller will run 200m as well.

“Based on the composition of the team, it will more likely be the 200m and the 400m,” Harrison said.

Miller won both events at the Corporate Area Championships.

Harrison hopes Miller, his season-leading 4x400m team, and the rest of his imposing squad will have the chance to compete at Champs.

“I just want COVID to behave itself and give us an opportunity to display the kind of quality that we have,” he said.

Xavier Brown, Tariq Dacres, Malique Smith-Band, and Javier Brown won the Corporate Area 4x400m final in 3:10.79 minutes, with splits of 47.4s, 48.5s, 48.5s, and 46.3s.

“Quite honestly, I have more in store, and the element of surprise will present itself,” Harrison said with a chuckle.

The victory was achieved without Guyana’s Revon Williams, who was third in the Class One 400m with a time of 47.52s.

“I’m just hoping that there is a Champs,” Harrison said. “The boys, they have worked hard, they want to display their talent, they have their own aims and objectives, and I think something nice is in the making with this group of boys.”

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