, Port Arthur, Texas


April 30, 2013

Memorial's Peeples leaps his way to state meet

Humble —  HUMBLE — Meet Port Arthur’s newest high school athletic hero, Jammil Peeples. Love made it all worth while. Love for track and field, that is.

  The 18-year-old Memorial senior begins workouts today for the 102nd annual University Interscholastic League state track and field championships in Austin.

  Peeples is the only boy and one of two Golden Triangle athletes to bring home regional gold medals in two separate individual events this week. The other one, Beaumont Ozen senior Nekia Jones, won the shot put and discus throws at the 4A regionals in Huntsville. But Jammil did it in Class 5A, excelling in two separate disciplines — jumps and hurdles.

  Peeples leaped a season-best 23-2 late Saturday morning to win the 5A regional boys long jump just before lightning and seven inches of rain made it to the Greater Houston area. Postponements prevented Jammil and the Titans from competing in three Saturday afternoon races, which had to be rescheduled for Monday.

  Jammil saved the best for last, winning the 300-meter hurdles in a Golden Triangle-best 37.54 and finally defeating Alief Elsik junior Ishmael Zamora for the first time in three tries. Peeples never had beaten Zamora in a race before Monday afternoon’s regional finals. So if you can’t beat someone, you keep trying and figuring out a way to outsmart him.

  Memorial track coach Darrell Granger called it “playing possum” and Jammil said he was “taking a break” but here’s what happened. Peeples took it easy on the curve of the 300-meter race from his lane 5 position, allowing Zamora in lane 4 to slightly be in front of him as the two reached the final straightaway. That tiny strategy adjustment enabled Jammil to measure his competitors just right.

  Ten years of work in the Port Arthur Track Club, countless hours of practice and dozens of summer Junior Olympics races all paid off with owning a slight lead on Zamora as the runners reached the final hurdle. Perhaps Jammil was a tad fresher, too, than in previous losses against Zamora. He opted to scratch out of Memorial’s regional bid in the boys 800-meter relay because the relay arrived on the schedule shortly before the intermediate hurdles.

  “When he came off the  turn, he hit another gear,” his coach, Granger said. “He had the guy from Elsik measured and he was waiting to make his move. The guy ran him down Friday night at the end (in the prelims) so he changed his approach.”

  Bring out the Double Gold for Jammil.

  “He (Zamora) told me, ‘good job’ and I congratulated him too,” Peeples said. “It felt good to beat him. He had beaten me last year at regionals in the 110s.”

  It was a weekend Peeples will never forget and it may open new doors for a young man with a future in track and field. Arkansas State University has offered Jammil a track scholarship. Perhaps others will show an interest now that his skills will be showcased on the big stage at Mike Myers Stadium in the east corner of the University of Texas campus.

  Peeples was timed at 37.54. Elsik’s Zamora and Kris Brander of Katy Seven Lakes were clocked 2nd and 3rd at 37.55. The same sort of millimeters proved precious in Saturday morning’s long jump. Peeples was 23-2 while North Shore’s Jomal Wiltz was 23-1 and Zamora was 23-0.5. The winning edge for Jammil in that event may have been that his 23-2 came on his very first attempt.

  “It was mostly cloudy and it was about to get bad,” Peeples recalled. “I think I was amped up for it (the long jump). Our strategy was make the competition go get you, instead of you going to get the competition.

  “To get that 23-2 on the first attempt was a relief.”

  Nine hours of Saturday weather delays turned the 3A and 5A Region III track and field championships into a Friday-through-Monday extension. Peeples was the lone medal winner or state qualifier in 5A from the Golden Triangle.

  Coach Mike Pierce’s West Orange-Stark boys claimed the 3A team title with 83 points — 23 ahead of runner-up Coldspring. WO-S took the gold in the 400- and 800-meter relays, and established new Golden Triangle-best times in the 800- and 1,600-meter relay events. Pierce’s sprint relay quartet consisted of Maurice Morris, Chris James, ThoMarcus Fontenot and Colin Janice. Jarrodd Ross replaced Fontenot with Morris, James and Janice in the 800-meter relay.

  WO-S quarter-miler Ra’Shon McDonald was second in the open quarter at 49.70, becoming the first Golden Triangle runner of the year to run the 400 under 50 seconds. Will  Johnson of WO-S also placed second in the 300-meter hurdles.


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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

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From the Fieldhouse blog