Canon City senior Brendan Young is not your everyday high school track and field athlete.
For one thing, he thrives on being nervous. He thrives on uncertainty, unpredictability, the unexpected.
"The butterflies I get before a race is always the best feeling," he said. "You know you wanna do your best, you know you're going to try your best. But you never how it's actually going to happen."
Another example of how he stands out: He's not focused on himself. Despite having the state's best long jump performance this season, Young's top priority is to help the Tigers' 4x100-meter relay team finish high on the state podium.
His selfless ways along with a dominant showing at this past weekend's Fountain-Fort Carson Invitational earned him The Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week honor.
"He's been a stud since his freshman year," Tigers coach Nathan Bohlken simply put.
Young put his abilities on display at F-FC, one of the year's bigger meets before the state championships. He won the invitational's boys' outstanding field athlete honor after he claimed the long jump title with a leap of 22 feet, 10 inches and the triple jump title with a distance of 46-6.
In the high jump, he cleared 6-2.
That wasn't all.
He anchored the Tigers' 4x100 squad, helping his junior teammates Ray Cammel, Harrison Pilafas and Noah Vidmar finish first in 43.33 seconds, their best time this year.
"Our team has been pushing each other every day at practice all week," Young said. "We're constantly trying to beat each other all the time and that's making us better."
Meanwhile, he's not doing so bad on his own either.
He talks very little about his own accomplishments, despite evidence suggesting that he can finish as one of the state's best. Last year, he took third in both the triple jump and long jump at the Class 4A state championships. He has another third-place showing in the triple jump at the end of his sophomore season.
This year, Young has achieved 23-9 1/2 in the long jump — best mark in the state.
Ask him about his personal goals, and he'll talk about the Tigers' relay team. Of course, he has his own goals for this year's state meet before he graduates and competes with the UCCS track and field team. He won't admit it, though.
But others notice his determination.
"He thrives off the competition," said Bohlken. "Some kids shut down. Brendan takes himself to the next level."
Just the Facts
Brendan Young, Canon City
Sport: Track and field
Events: High jump, long jump, triple jump, sprints
Highlights: This past weekend, he won the boys' outstanding field athlete honor at the Fountain-Fort Carson Invitational after he captured the long jump and triple jump titles to go along with a third-place showing in the high jump. He also anchored the Tigers' 4x100-meter relay team, which won in 43.33 seconds.
Favorite athlete: University of Colorado's Aaron McCoy
Favorite movie: "White Men Can't Jump"
Favorite school subject: Chemistry
Other Top Performers
Bridger Havens, Palmer Ridge
The senior had a three-RBI homer to help lift the Bears to a 17-11 win over Liberty last Saturday. It helped Palmer Ridge to an 11-5 overall record and a 5-3 mark in the Class 4A/5A Pikes Peak Athletics Conference.
Lincoln Andrews, Canon City
The senior homered, tripled and had four RBIs in a 15-6 win over Vista Ridge last weekend, leading the Tigers to a 12-5 overall record. In a dominant 16-0 victory over Widefield, Andrews went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and one homer. This season, he has eight HRs.
Lisa Long, Cheyenne Mountain
The senior has been seemingly an unstoppable force. Last week, she notched a hat trick in the Indians' 4-0 win over Falcon before scoring both goals in a 2-0 triumph over Evergreen. She also recorded an assist during this stretch for Cheyenne Mountain (4-5), which has won three straight.
Boys' swimming and diving
Braden Whitmarsh, Quintin McCarty and Andrew McGill, Discovery Canyon
The trio each claimed two event wins at the Spring Classic over the weekend. Senior Whitmarsh (100-yard butterfly and 200 freestyle), freshman McCarty (100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley) and sophomore McGill (100 backstroke and 500 freestyle) dominated in their respective events for the Thunder, who won the team title.
Track and field
Nicole Barnes, Vista Ridge
The senior won the girls' outstanding field athlete award at the Fountain-Fort Carson Invitational this past weekend after winning the high jump. Barnes achieved a personal-best mark of 5 feet, 3 inches.
Ryan Outler, Widefield
The senior ran away with the boys' outstanding track athlete honor after he claimed the 1,600-meter run in 4 minutes, 31.72 seconds and the 800 in 2 minutes. His performances helped Widefield to a third-place finish.