Port Arthur ISD should look to city’s track record for proper name

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021

There aren’t many cities in the country that have a history of track greatness — a literal track record, if you will — like Port Arthur.

Earlier this month, the Port Arthur Independent School District Board of Trustees announced they are seeking suggestions for naming the track at Lincoln Middle School.

While the criteria suggest the public track can be named after anyone who has made an impact in the community, board members have expressed interest in naming it after someone who has a resume in track and field.

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Port Arthur has produced plenty of talent in that realm.

Jamaal Charles, who attended Memorial from 2001-2005, won the bronze medal in the 400m hurdles at the 2003 World Youth Championships in Athletics. He went on to win the 110m hurdles and 300m hurdles Texas 5A state championships with times of 13.69 and 36.03 seconds, respectively, his senior year.

Charles went on to run track at the University of Texas, where he placed fourth in the NCAA 60-meter track finals in 2006. He won his first Big 12 Conference title in the 100-meter dash.

Charles is best known for his football career with the Longhorns and subsequent NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Those inclined to stick with the history of the school can call back to when it was a high school and find a name that represents the 1971 4A champs. Robert Perry Jr., Michael Rideaux, Rodney Broussard and Henry Chambers helped the Bumblebees win the state title.

More recently, Kary Vincent Jr. and Corey Dauphine lit up the track for Memorial, with both earning gold medals at the state level in the 200-meter dashes. Vincent was also part of a relay team that recorded the second fastest 4×100 relay time for a high school in recorded history with a time of 39.80.

Inika McPherson graduated from Memorial in 2005 and went to Lincoln High School as a freshman. She was a constant contender in the UIL state meets for the next three years, although she didn’t bring a title to the Titans. She did, however, equal the second-best outdoor jump of the 2000s in her regional meet at 6-2 in 2005. That helped her earn the All-Decade All-American honor from ESPN.com.

McPherson finished third in the U.S. outdoor championships in 2011, second in the U.S. indoors in 2012 and second in the U.S. outdoors in 2013. She tried out for the 2012 Olympics in London, but a tear in her right quad caused her to not record a height during U.S. team trials.

Any of these accomplished athletes is more than deserving to have the Lincoln Middle School track named after them. The board will have their hands full trying to narrow down the list. Good luck and Godspeed.

Chris Moore is the sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at chris.moore@panews.com.