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Friday, June 21, 2024
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Archie Versus the World

UB sprinter has had to beat the odds off the track

Drugs and violence can derail even the most talented of people. Falling in with the wrong crowd and succumbing to peer pressure is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

The Niagara Falls gang world was standing between Brian Archie and UB, but it turns out he is too fast for both his opponents on the track and on the street.

Archie is a jumper/sprinter for the track and field team at UB. He stands at five-foot-four in a sport that demands long, powerful limbs to get ahead of the competition. He is working his way back from a major tendon injury that has hindered him throughout his college career up to this point.

The injury isn't because he is weak. Archie, 19, is so determined to excel as a UB athlete that he often pushes his body past its limits. Because of his strong work ethic and natural physical ability, his name may be ringing out in future track meets.

Archie's path to UB veered off course when he entered elementary school. The glamour of the streets took a hold of a young boy trying to figure out who he was going to be in the world. It wasn't until the summer of 1999 that he figured it out.

With the third grade quickly approaching, most children were out playing hop scotch or riding their bikes; Archie found himself in the middle of a street feud between the east and west side gangs of Niagara Falls, N.Y. His mere association with the west side got him into numerous physical altercations with warring rivals. While he was able to hold his own in the fistfights, he found himself constantly being ambushed and going home all bruised up.

Archie has a hard time rehashing the incidents that took place that summer.

"It was one of the worst experiences of my life because I got involved in something I had nothing to do with," Archie said. "It was just a bunch of pointless fighting."

The constant fighting forced Archie to become the person his mother, Olympia Glasco, envisioned as she guided him through his childhood with a watchful eye.

"Like every mother, I didn't want him to fall [into gang violence]," Glasco said. "I didn't want him to go down the road with drugs...So I made sure he kept up with his schoolwork."

Since his decision to avoid the street life, Archie has focused his efforts on working his way out of the harsh neighborhood he grew up in.

In life, people are forced to make difficult decisions all the time. In the case of Archie, he had to choose between his future and his friends.

"[A lot of my friends] got caught up in trying to be that thug," Archie said. "I tried to help them out, but they just didn't want it. I miss them, but that's life."

The circumstances of his early childhood served to make Archie stronger as he made his transition from high school to college. Archie considers his strong relationship with his family as one of the main reasons for his success. Archie's choice to go to UB was due in large part to its location and the fact that members of his family had also attended.

While Archie is close with everyone in his family, the bond between mother and son is something that he cherishes. Over the years, the support his mother has given him is something that's helped him to where he is today, and he continues to be thankful for it.

"My mother always has my back," Archie said. "I even help her out when she needs something from me. She's like my best friend."

These days, Archie has an inspiration that is more important than anything that's motivated him in the past: his son, Jayden.

Jayden was born during Archie's senior year of high school. Although Archie was apprehensive about being a father at first, he became more invested in his new role quickly because of the absence of his own father. He is a proud father.

"Jayden is my life," Archie said. "I love him to death. I can't lie and say I don't regret having a child at such a young age, but I do what I got to do. He's just growing up in front of my eyes and I love it."

Archie and Jayden's mother work together to raise him even though the two are no longer in a relationship. Archie appreciates this because it allows him to focus more on his college career, something he tries his hardest at for Jayden's sake.

"Everything I do revolves around my son," Archie said. "I just try to excel in everything I can so that I could give him a better life. I just stay out of trouble, stay in school, get my degree just so I could give him the life that I didn't have when I grew up."

Archie wasn't always the track star that he is today. He started his athletic career by playing running back for Niagara Falls High School. He decided to try out the sprints during football's offseason to stay occupied.

The time investment proved to be for the best. Archie started earning acclaim during his junior year with his spectacular numbers in the long jump and sprint events. By the time he graduated, he set school outdoor records in the 55-meter dash, the 4x200-meter and 4x100-meter, long jump, and triple jump. Archie also holds the distinction of being his high school's first male indoor state champion.

Archie has been an important component for Buffalo since he joined the track and field team. In his two years as a Bull, he has established himself as one of the team's hardest-working members. When he's not competing, he is actively cheering for his teammates when they need him most.

Steve Esler, a track and field coach at UB, is especially appreciative of Archie's dedication.

"It was obvious early that [Archie] had straight goals," Esler said. "He already had all the motivation he needed to achieve them. We knew he was going to be special when he walked in. He's got an excellent [reputation] with the team."

That hard work has had detrimental effects. Archie's continuous training put a strain on his body, resulting in an IT band injury during last year's outdoor season. As a result, Archie has yet to put up spectacular numbers, but the sophomore views this season as a new beginning. He is determined to make a statement in the upcoming track meets. Archie had a promising start to this year's outdoor season with an eighth-place finish in the long jump at the Wake Forest Open.

While the result is a good confidence builder, Archie won't be satisfied until he makes it to elite status.

"I'm inspired to do track because I want to be the best," Archie said. "I want to showcase that even though I'm shorter than the other guys I still can jump as far. I don't want people to say ‘he's too short to do this or that' because I'm just as strong and fast. It's been a dream of mine to excel in track as much as I can."

These aspirations are definitely something Bulls fans can be proud of and something his family can take pride in.




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