Wharton native wins SWAC decathlon for Alabama A&M
Demetrius Peacock wanted to compete and do well at the highest level.
That was his focus last month during the Southwestern Athletic Conference outdoor track and field championship in New Orleans as a member of the Alabama A&M team.
Little did Peacock know he would claim the decathlon title as a freshman freshman.
"I didn't realize what I had done as a freshman until everyone told me," said the 19-year-old native of Wharton. "I had just gone in to compete."
Peacock participated in multiple events including the high jump, 400-meter dash and 1,500-meter run.
He is no stranger to competing at a high level. At Wharton, he played on the basketball, football and track and field teams.
"Football is my favorite sport, but track is something I knew I could do well in," Peacock said. "I saw I had a bigger opportunity in track."
Wharton track and field coach Anthony Ray said Peacock was equally good at both sports.
"He had the instincts of a running back" in football, said Ray, who is also assistant athletic director at Wharton. "In track, he was a good runner. I knew when he tried out for the football team (in college), they would know what kind of caliber he has as a player."
Brad Wright, the former head football coach at Wharton, still keeps in touch with the freshman at Alabama A&M.
"I felt so good about a week or so ago. He sent me a text photo with him and some of the trophies he won," said Wright, who is now head football coach and athletic director at Waller after a year at Wharton. "That's why you coach - when you get to hear from your former players."
Both Wright and Ray believed that Peacock's ability to excel as an athlete was not similar to others.
At Alabama A&M, Peacock, who majors in business administration, tried to walk on to the football while he was on the track team on a partial scholarship in the fall of 2012.
The track coach, Kim Seals, took notice of Peacock's ability.
"You can put him through all types of punishment, and he will come back the next day," Seals said. "Demetrius is an extremely hard-working person."
His hard work paid off in a big way. A few weeks after claiming the top spot in the SWAC decathlon, Peacock was told he would get a full scholarship.
Happy about his future, he doesn't want to risk the possibility of not competing in another decathlon next season.
"Now that I'm on a full ride, I'm going to stick to track," Peacock said. "I expect to have an even better season."