Classic Western

Burroughs’ Western Nelson caps his outstanding season with a trip to the state meet in the boys’ 3,200, after qualifying for state competition in cross-country

June 06, 2009|By Jeff Tully

Give Burroughs High distance runner Western Nelson his share of credit.

The senior has done something no other Indians boys’ runner has been able to accomplish, as he has qualified for state competition in both cross-country and track and field during the same school year.

Only former teammate, Sadee Martinez — who accomplished the impressive double in 2007 — has been able to advance to both competitions.


In fact, Nelson and Martinez are the only two individuals to accomplish the feat in city history.

Adding to an outstanding cross-country season last fall, Nelson has stepped up and improved throughout the track and field campaign.

Record-breaking races the past two weeks has allowed Nelson to qualify for the CIF-State Track and Field Meet in the boys’ 3,200 meters. He will run today at approximately 9:03 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High in Clovis.

“I’m pretty optimistic heading into the race,” Nelson said. “I’m really looking forward to the competition.”

With all that he has accomplished during his senior campaign, Nelson admits he didn’t do it all by himself. The distance runner gives a great deal of credit to his coach, John Peebles, for bringing him along and having him improve as the season has progressed.

“[Peebles] is the closest thing to a mastermind that I know,” Nelson said. “And the amazing thing is he does it all pretty much alone. We’re not like the Dana Hills or the Arcadias, who have like four different coaches for each girls’ soph-frosh runner. I would take coach Peebles over any of those coaches from any of the other schools.”

For more than a decade, Peebles has been able to help develop athletes who have gone on to enjoy success at the CIF Southern Section finals, as well as state competition in cross-country and track and field.

Athletes like Carolyn Brown, Brian Anderson, Tony Ahr and Martinez have all benefited from Peebles tutelage.

Nelson said Peebles has a knack for helping athletes peak at the right time.

“I talked to some of the other runners after the Masters Meet and they were asking me how much did I PR in the last few weeks,” he said. “I told them it was well over 10 seconds and I’ve had some pretty good PRs. They just looked at me and said. ‘Man, your coach must be genius; you’re peaking at just the right time.’ ”

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