Young on the run- and rise- again

Here is an article about my performance at this past weekends Knights of Columbus meet and some background information on my comeback!

Michelle Young couldn’t help feeling a little anxious before the women’s 60 metres at the Knights of Columbus Indoor Games.

“It was a little bit nerve-racking. I was shaking on the blocks a bit,” the 21-year-old Saskatoon native said. “I tried to not psyche myself out too much.”

There was the second-year University of Saskatchewan nursing student, a former star for Evan Hardy Collegiate in 2010, in the early stages of her track comeback. Young finished fifth in a time of 7.70 seconds (7.60 prelim), a race won by Khamica Bingham of Brampton, Ont. It capped off a day where Young had earlier won a silver medal in the 60-metre hurdles.

Her time of 8.46 seconds trailed only the Dominican Republic’s Lavonne Idlette (8.27).

“We just want to run faster,” her coach Ivan Tam said. “Winning’s nice, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to run faster.”

Young was a rising star in her Grade 12 year at Evan Hardy.

She won six Saskatoon high school gold medals and broke the 200-metre city record. She won six more Saskatchewan provincial golds, establishing new marks in the 100, 200 and four-by-100.

That earned Young a track scholarship to Rice University in Houston.

She never competed for Rice.

Young was diagnosed with three stress fractures in her foot that summer, which were caused by overtraining.

She wound up taking two years off, came back home and enrolled in nursing at the U of S while her injuries heeled.

Last summer, as soon as Young was ready to run again, she went to it full bore in order to rebuild her lost muscle mass.

Young’s mother also contacted Tam, a former U of S track coach who retired in 2008.

“She’s focused,” Tam said. “You get a lot of kids now where you have to drag them out. I don’t really like that. She’s there and I know she’s always dedicated.”

With her comeback came a change in philosophy.

Young decided to zero in on the shorter distances. She won gold at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que., last August, establishing a new personal best in the process.

“I enjoy doing the 100 hurdles a lot more than the longer races,” she said. “I just want to focus on what I enjoy doing.”

Naturally, Young hasn’t been able to avoid the injury bug this winter. She slipped on some ice in November, suffered from bad blisters and then dropped a weight on her foot while training. She wasn’t back to full strength until the third week of January.

“Just coming out (of the weekend) healthy is a win,” Tam said. Young will compete next weekend in New York to prepare for the Canada West Track and Field Championships at the University of Alberta Feb. 21 and 22.

Tam believes Young can break the Huskies record of 8.39 seconds in the 60-metre hurdles in Edmonton.

Her personal best is 8.41.

“She still has some technical things to work on,” Tam said. “We’re happy with (that) because otherwise it would be hard to get those improvements. There are still some really big improvements we can get out of her start.”

While Young didn’t set any personal bests at the Saskatoon Field House, she feels she’s getting more consistent with every race.

Young was a rising star in 2010. Her then-coach Todd Johnston told The StarPhoenix at the time: “I don’t think there is any doubt that she can get into the top senior level and make the world championships, Olympics, Commonwealth Games.”

Young is still in the early stages of her comeback, so competitions like the Knights of Columbus Indoor Games – although nerveracking – serve a purpose. “It was a really good experience getting racing experience against some of these girls,” she said. “Come summer when I try to make national teams, these experiences against these fast girls will help.”

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