ATH: Jacob Phelps!
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Happy WarriorINGRAM — Jacob Phelps doesn’t think he’s a great athlete.
He’ll joke that he wasn’t the best at any of the three sports he played during the past school year at Ingram Tom Moore High School. He’ll jump to tell you that he struggled with hand-offs during the track season, but then again his relay team shattered all the school’s records. He’s quick to point out he wasn’t the best football player, but then can’t deny his several touchdowns.
The recent high school graduate with red hair and a tall, slim frame is the master of self-deprecating humor.
“Probably his weakness is his self-confidence,” track and field coach Matt Turney said. “He’s a lot better athlete and a lot better person he gives himself credit for. I think he’s come a long way, and I think he’ll develop that going into college.”
Phelps played football, basketball and ran track and field.
Despite his own athletic insecurities, Phelps came to embody the coaching staff’s new mindset of sticking through the dark days, and became what Warrior athletic director and football coach Jeff Kowalski describes as the perfect example of what a Tom Moore athlete should be.
Phelps credits a new philosophy and a new staff for improving the culture in Ingram.
“It’s all a mindset,” Phelps said. “If you let the bad stuff get to you, then it sucks. In the past, the coaches have let the (losing) mindset get to us. They get angry and frustrated, and so you get frustrated as well. The coaches this year kept us positive and had a good mindset.”
Phelps played receiver and free safety on the football team, scoring several touchdowns. Kowalski said he never had to worry about Phelps’ attitude during this year’s transition season.
“He was one of those kids we knew we could always count on,” Kowalski said. “We could move him anywhere we wanted to, and he would never complain.”
He got frustrated during the basketball season about playing time but refused to quit the team.
“He didn’t get the playing time in basketball that he wanted, (and) he was real frustrated,” Kowalski said. “He wanted to quit at one time, and I told him to tough it out, be there and everything isgoing to work itself out. He ended up doing that.”
When the spring came, Phelps was a member of the record- breaking 800-meter relay team that advanced to the Region IV-3A Meet. At the District 30-3A meet in Fredericksburg, Phelps ran the second leg of the 800-meter relay as his team set the school track record with a combined run of 1 minute, 32.15 seconds.
“Coach Turney kind of surprised us because we were originally going to have a (1,200-meter relay) team,” Phelps said. “I guess he looked it up and realized that our (800-meter relay team) could do better.
“I’ve never run the 200 (meters), so he put me on the (800-meter) team, and we broke the school record and (we went) to regionals, which I had never done before.”
Phelps, who will attend Texas Tech in the fall, ends his career having never won a football game and having missed out on the basketball playoffs two years in a row, but what he’s been a part of during the first year of the “new” Tom Moore athletic department is part of his and his senior class’ legacy.
“I think this year helped a lot, with these coaches,” Phelps said. “Even when you’re down, if you keep working hard and doing the best you can do, then you will get out of the hard stuff. We didn’t really get out of it, but there was a lot of improvement this year. I think next year’s teams are going to do really good; I really do.”