At La Vergne High, track and field standout Alex Young competed at the highest level and won a state championship in his senior season.
His freshman season at Gardner-Webb was no different, as Young finished second in the 2013 USA Outdoor Track and Field Junior Championships earlier this summer and qualified for World Junior Championships.
In his final attempt in the men’s hammer throw, Young exceeded his previous personal best with a toss of 69.14 m (226-10) during the decisive June 21st meet.
The toss moved Young from third to second place, making him the first-ever qualifier for the World Junior Championships from Gardner-Webb. Young will represent Team USA in one of the biggest stages in track and field.
“I’ve been training all year for it,” Young said. “Me and my coach talked about it, and our game plan was to go in there and try to make the Junior USA team. I really feel like our training building up to that really allowed me to do that.”
Young’s previous best hammer throw occurred at the 2013 Big South Outdoor Track and Field Championships where the rising sophomore recorded a 62.09 m (203-8) attempt to win the event.
Young credits his success on the biggest stages to his channeled energy.
“When I see somebody else ecstatic about their throw, I just get even more excited,” said the 6-foot 2-inch Young. “When you get out there it’s always that adrenaline that takes over. Somebody throws far. Then here you go into the ring and you’re ready to throw.”
Young also won the 2012-13 BSC Indoor Championships. He has three individual titles to show for after his freshman campaign at Gardner-Webb.
Young won the TSSAA Class AAA high school state championship in the shot put at La Vergne. He said that achievement helped his poise heading into college competitions.
“It’s always nice to know you were a state champion in high school and you do have a little extra confidence coming into college,” Young said. “Not too many people can say they have a state championship in track and field.”
As for Young’s speedy success, that comes as no surprise to his former La Vergne throwing coach Mark Stephens.
“He did have a lot of confidence coming out of high school,” said Stephens, who spent five years at La Vergne before moving to Oakland where he is now helping assist the track and field team.
“I knew Alex would be successful because Alex is a determined, driven, good man. He’s a very goal-oriented young man.”
Young said he chose Gardner-Webb, located in Boiling Springs, N.C., primarily because of its religious background, citing “it’s mainly Baptist.”
And according to Stephens, Young and Gardner-Webb assistant coach Andy Fryman make for a great team.
“Coach Fryman is still competing himself. They’re both kind of learning together as far as techniques, and they’re feeding off each other,” Stephens said. “It’s a fantastic fit there at Gardner-Webb.”
Added Young: “He’s real young. He really understands being in college and being a student-athlete. He’s a Christ follower, so he is always applying throwing to religion. He always pushes me.”
As for Young’s summer plans, he continues to prepare for the Pan American Games, scheduled for August 23-25 in Columbia, South America.
“I’ll miss my first week of class,” said Young excitedly. “I got to go email all my teachers and what not and let them know I’m going to miss the first class. Hopefully they’ll be accepting.”