By Jeremy McDonald
MONROE, Ore.– This downtime has Monroe Senior working on his craft for Track, Monroe Senior Zach Young has been hitting the weights in his garage and doing Track workouts on his own.
“I want to be in the best shape I’ve ever been in next fall,” Young said over Twitter Monday afternoon.
It seemed long, yet not so long ago that Young had committed to join the NCAA Division-III powerhouse Linfield College for football.
Coming off the heels of a High School Career in which his Dragons reached the playoffs all four years, winning the 2A State Title Game Young’s Sophomore year, and reaching the 2A State Semi-Finals the last two, it’s easy to see why Coach Joseph Smith was interested in his athletic ability.
The stats speak for itself. The All-Time Purpose Yards leader at 8,898. His Senior Year alone he put up Madden numbers at 2,112 rushing yards and 34 Touchdowns to go with his 2A Offensive Player of the Year award.
But for the Senior, his character about his team speaks more than numbers on the spreadsheet.
For a kid who moved to the small-town of Monroe at eight, it took him sometime to adjust, but it felt like home. He embraced the community as much as the community eventually grew to back him.
“I’ve never been a guy that plays for the personal accolades, but to see my name at the top of that list was a pretty great feeling,” said Young. “To me it just reflects the amount of hard work and sacrifice I have invested into this sport. I grew up around football my entire life and immediately fell in love with it at a young age.
“We moved to Monroe when I was eight years old. I wasn’t too happy about the move to a small town in the country at first, but it quickly became home. I made a lot of friends and my class had a ton of good athletes…The amount of support this community has given me growing up is unbelievable and I wanted to compete at the best of my ability, for four years, to represent my hometown. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
He has seen teammates come and go. Been part of a 20-win boys basketball team his sophomore year, Young complied 2,184 career points as a basketball player, he could’ve gone another route instead of what he stuck too.
But it speaks to his character of wanting to develop something special and seeing it through.
“It has been really important for me to represent Monroe. It wouldn’t have felt the same playing anywhere else. I didn’t want to take the easy way out,” said Young. “I wanted to invest in the program that has invested in me. Staying at Monroe gave me the opportunity to not only improve as an athlete but as a leader.
“We have been able to have a lot of success over the last 4 years, and I think we have developed a winning culture that is here to stay.”
Linfield has the same kind of culture, Young said. The coaching staff cares about their players and holds them to a high standard. He could’ve accepted a PWO position elsewhere, but something just screamed the Wildcats for the Dragon Student-Athlete.
“Coach Smith and the rest of the coaching staff made me feel like they believed in me and my abilities. I think if I continue to work hard, I can thrive in their program. I couldn’t be more excited about my decision,” said Young.
To add to the daunting task of the expectations of being a member of a juggernaut football program like Linfield’s, Young will be also doing track.
Doing the Decathlon (ten-events) following a strong Junior year where he finished fourth in the 400-meters, second-place finish in the Long Jump, fourth-place finish in the Javelin and qualifying for State in the High Jump.
As much of a challenge it will be, Young isn’t too concerned of his ability to achieve his best-self in both sports starting next school year.
“It will definitely be a challenge to play two-sports at the collegiate level, but I am ready to embrace it,” said Young. “I will have to manage my time efficiently, and stay focused.”