Athlete of Week: Young’s Socastee stay short, sweet

soctf-youngstateIn the short span of five months, Socastee High’s Brianna Young went from the new kid in school to the big star on campus. Something about winning a state title will do that.

The junior relocated to the Grand Strand from Canada in January, when an unseasonably warm winter and an absence of longtime friends allowed Young to focus on her chosen track and field event – the discus. All the hard work and some encouragement from her new-found coaches and teammates resulted in the ultimate goal – a Class 5A state championship.

“I just moved there last semester and now I’m already in the process of moving back to Winnipeg,” said Young, who was voted the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week after winning the state crown. “My dad (Glen Young) coaches for the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, so this is my life. I’ve probably been to seven or eight different schools, but I really like moving around, seeing new places and meeting new people.”

Young enjoyed her short stint at Socastee, which was capped by a personal-record throw of 139 feet at the state meet last week. She believes the additional work she put in during the winter months and the support she received during her brief stay played a role in helping her bring a rare track and field state title to the school’s trophy case.

“The weather made it easy to get out and start throwing early. In Canada, and before that I lived in New York, there’s like a five-month offseason,” she said. “My dad has been my coach since the sixth grade and we put in a lot of work. Because I move around so much, I know I’m not going to be somewhere long enough to make friends, but the people there were friendly. I really enjoyed it.”

Young found herself alone as the only Brave to qualify for the state meet, but her family and Socastee coach Vandel Arrington were at Spring Valley High in Columbia to cheer her on. She overcame a bad case of nerves to uncork the winning throw of 139 feet on her third and final attempt, touching off a small but spirited celebration.

“One of the ladies at the meet asked me, ‘Where is Socastee? Is that a new school?” she recalled. “I didn’t have any teammates there but my dad, mom, sister and school coach were there and they helped me keep calm. I was nervous at first, and the (runner-up) was really good. She threw a 131, I threw a 133, then she threw 132 and I threw 137. It was really close but I was trying to put the pressure on her. I was so glad to win. My dad was a provincial state champion in the same event so it was special.”

No sooner was Young honored by the school before it was time to transfer again. She will live, study and train in Winnipeg for another football season and isn’t sure where she will graduate from high school. The well-traveled Young does have some ideas about colleges, however, with Oregon, Princeton, Stanford and Miami on her short wish list. But she will always treasure her five months at Socastee, especially the happy ending.

“Being able to make it to states and become a state champion, and hitting that throw,” she recalled. “It was a great accomplishment I will always remember.”

Photo courtesy of SHS Athletics

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