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Devonni Farrar: Triumphant Through Transition
Devonni Farrar: Triumphant Through Transition
By Kevin Wilson
Special to BASN
For the first 14 years of her life, Devonni Farrar lived with her mother, Robin Brawner in Charles County, Maryland. Suddenly, at the beginning of high school, she relocated to Prince George’s County with her father, Devin Farrar. The transition was a surprise and a blessing in disguise.
While watching television with his daughter one day, Devin Farrar asked her, “What are you going to do now?” He insisted that Devonni do more than just go to school, come home and sit in the house. Devonni had heard by word of mouth that Coach Darryl Hamilton was the best track coach in the county at Largo High School and she told her father that she agreed to run track. It was another blessing in disguise.
Farrar competed and excelled. Now she is considered one of the best track and field performers in the county, state and country. And, just think, she had no track experience prior to attending Largo High School- a 2A school known for winning county and state titles.
As a freshman, she represented the cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams, earned All-Gazette second team honors and after one year of high school track, Devonni participated on Coach Hamilton’s “Fast Track” summer team. “To run for Coach Hamilton is an honor,” Farrar said.
Farrar’s life is primarily centered on academics, track and quality time with her family. Being self-motivated, her homework is completed during study hall or at home. Her father keeps her on track with diet and rest.
With a slender frame that belies her toughness, Farrar shows a graceful stride with ample speed. In her sophomore season, she made the All-Gazette Track and Field first team.
When preparing for a race, she patiently waits for the sound of the gun and ignores trash talkers. “Most of the time I come up on top,” she says. The Penn Relays is both exciting and nerve wracking for Farrar. Still, she has competed at the Penn Relays for three consecutive years in the 4X400 and the 4×800. The Largo Lady Lions missed the 4X800 finals by one spot last year, an episode she’ll never forget.
Farrar and her supporting cast had a remarkable year, in 2013. In a category titled, “Athletes to Watch,” she terrorized her foes. Farrar won the 500 meters in 1:19.88 at the Maryland Class 2A West Indoor Track and Field Championship at the Howard Community College Athletic Complex.
In relay competition, normally the fastest person is first or last. The sole purpose for Devonni leading off is rather simple; the game plan is for her to open up the gap. “Once that gap is created,” she said, “that’s it, we have the victory.”
The Lady Lions earned a double treat, by winning the 4×200 and 4×400, tallying 75,3 overall team points, behind first place Liberty, 79,2. At the Prince George’s County Indoor Track and Field Championship on February 18, the Lion girls, with Devonni running lead, won the 2A title in the 4×200.
The fearsome four: Farrar, Cayla Coleman, Ces Coleman and Charmaine Sweeney, concluded the season by dominating the Maryland State Outdoor Track and Field Championship at Morgan State University in the 4×200, with a time of 1:43.79. Oakdale placed second (1:44.94) and Liberty third (1:45.98).
Later on that day, that same group, won the 4×400 title in 4:00.36, while Middletown and Liberty, placed second and third, respectively. “Making the 2013 All Gazette Honorable Mention list was sort of an understatement,” said a Largo fan. At the school’s sports banquet, Farrar was chosen Female Athlete of the Year by the athletic director.
Academically, Farrar is good student who enjoys math and other subjects – as her 3.9 GPA suggests; with the intention to major in finance and minor in accounting, next fall.
Largo staffer Jacqueline Slay praises the teen’s work ethic in the classroom. “Devonni is driven, she takes all AP level courses, she’s disciplined and I look forward to watching her run,” said Slay, Largo High’s Scheduler and Avid Coordinator.
With intense training and working hard, Devonni’s positive results show on the track. She’s a dedicated runner and recruiters from Memphis, Delaware, George Mason, Ole Miss, Rutgers and Baylor have her in their perspective future plans. Coach Hamilton also gives kudos for Devonni’s success to her father.
“Devonni works hard, but her father made sure she did all the right things,” said Hamilton, who won a state title in his first year at Largo, in 1996. “From August to mid-July, Devonni runs competitively – takes a brief break, and after the state competition, she conditions in the summer, three days a week at the school.
“She never misses practice; she enjoys meeting people and competing. Devonni refuses to experience what her parents have gone through.”
“Track helps me to push through my life,’’ she said.
Farrar lost in the 500 meters at the 2014 Virginia Tech High School Invitational she and her teammates bounced back in the 4X400 relay. At the 2014 county indoor championship meet, she won the 300 and 500 meters, hands down. She was selected the Female MVP for the county championship event.
“They’re (competition) good, but no one in the county challenges me; the clock is my opposition, and I am my own worst enemy,” she said. Not representing Largo at the New Balance Indoor Track Invitational in New York this year was a terrible blow. Farrar missed the 500 meters qualifying time by one second, the 4×200, by one second, and the 4×400, by three seconds. The three previous years she performed on the national stage in New York.
Farrar looks forward to competing against Sharon Dorsey of Western Tech in Baltimore County, Maryland. The two met February 17, in the 2014 Maryland State Indoor Track and Field Championship at the Prince George’s County Sportsplex. Both competed in the 300 and 500 meters. Both were side by side until the end. Dorsey gives Farrar a run for her money every time and she considers Sharon her only authentic opponent.
Ms. Dorsey, who is heading to George Mason University, ran a 40.96 (300 meters) to Devonni’s 41.07. In the 500 meters, Dorsey won with a time of 1:17.17 and Farrar second in 1:17.20 seconds.
“I look forward to competing against Devonni, she was right there on my heels; I wish her the best now, and during the college recruiting process, knowing that she’s one of the top runners in the state,” said Dorsey, who holds a 200 meter record.
Cayla Coleman, a junior phenom, has known Devonni since the 8th grade. “I look up to Devonni, we run together in practice, she helps me to run better and it’s amazing for her to be nominated 2014 Gazette Female Athlete of the Year,” said Coleman.
Ms. Farrar hopes to represent the USA in the 2016 Olympics in the open 400 and the 4×400.
“A great runner must work hard, put in the time and effort, never give up, push through the pain, fight through it, and you’ll end up on top, and you’ll be as great as your sport. It’s a life lesson, too,” she said.
As to her long term goals, Ms. Farrar hopes to own a home, have a family, return to Largo to support the track program and inspire others.