Young bound for Chico State
Douglas High senior Skylar Young doesn’t make any bones about it – she just doesn’t do well with free time.
“I like being busy,” she said. “I always want to be doing something.”
So when she came down with mononucleosis last summer, the worst thing she could’ve heard was that she wouldn’t be able to play soccer in the fall.
“It was hard to be away from the girls on the soccer team,” she said. “I’d been playing with them at the school since I was a freshman and even longer with INXS (an offseason club team).”
But if Young has been able to prove anything in her four years at Douglas, it’s that she can take empty situations like she found herself in this fall, and turn them into something great.
Case in point: Young, a two-time varsity letter winner in soccer, began working out with the cross country team once she was healthy enough and ended up being an impact runner for the Tigers.
“I did all right,” Young said with a shrug. “It was more just a matter of me wanting to try a new sport and to keep in shape for track. I made a lot of new friends in cross country.”
Young, the only senior on the girls’ cross country team, helped her squad finish fourth at the Northern 4A Regional championship meet, coming just short of their first state team berth in quite a while.
She also had a number of top 10 finishes earlier in the season.
“She’s a fantastic kid and a tremendous athlete that exemplifies the best that Douglas High had to offer,” Douglas cross country coach Keith Cole said.
Her accomplishments on the trail aside, however, the real fireworks came on the track.
Coming out of her freshman year with no solid track to practice on, Young took to preparing for the upcoming season with trips to offseason camps and clinics.
“I played freshman basketball, but I stopped after that,” she said. “It was hard not having a winter sport, so that’s when I’d train for track.
She had a solid sophomore effort on the track and news of the last of the money coming in to finally install an all-weather track at the field during the winter of her junior year.
The news generated an increased interest in the team as participation numbers jumped from the low-30s to the high-80s. The bad news, however, was that the team would have to work out entirely on the soccer field for the season.
About halfway through the season, Young and three friends – Sarah Hartley, Alicia Sturgess and Tina Dantin – saw a void in the lineup at the 4×400 relay.
“We didn’t even have a 4×400 team, and the four of us just decided to do it,” Young said. “We ended up with a pretty good time and we took about 10 seconds off of that the next time out. We got the school record and it was just surreal.”
The team propelled through the rest of the season and ended up claiming the regional title.
“One of Skylar’s best attributes as a member of our team is her intense desire to achieve her goals,” Douglas track coach Rick Brown said. “She works harder than just about everyone at being her best at all times.
“She leads by example and her peers respond to her actions and words.”
This spring, due to delays in construction on the track, the team was again left without a home.
With two new members to the relay squad, the 4×400 team still managed to qualify for state, wrapping up Young’s career.
After the season, she was named the team’s outstanding female sprinter for the third consecutive year.
Missing the soccer season, Young viewed it as an opportunity to pursue a college scholarship in track.
“Track was what I wanted to do,” she said. “It got to where I didn’t like soccer that much any more. The parents get mad at each other and everyone blames the refs or the coaches.
“In track, it is all on you. It’s the best you can do and you can’t blame it on anyone else if it doesn’t work out.”
Western Nevada Community College contacted Young to gauge her interest in continuing her soccer career at the next level, but she was already in contact with Chico State and UNC-Wilmington about track.
“I had to make a choice by the beginning of May and I picked Chico,” Young said. “It’s closer to home, the coaching staff is really nice and I knew a girl from Reed who I’d been running against for about three years in the 400 that got recruited by them as well.
” I really like it down there.”
Young will run the 400, the 4×400 and some of the shorter sprints.
She received a partial athletic scholarship, but thanks to her enormous involvement in clubs (she is a member of the National Honor Society, senior class vice president, vice president of Amnesty International and vice president of the Block D Athletic Association), her immaculate 3.9 GPA and the seven varsity letters won in four years, she was also awarded the Raymond Berner Scholarship, which pays for all four years of tuition and fees at college.
Just for good measure, she was voted queen of this year’s Snow Ball and was named Miss Congeniality at the Miss Douglas County Pageant.
She’ll compete in the Great Southwest Invitational this month before taking most of the summer off to get a job and take a break from competition.
“They’ll give us about two weeks before class starts to get adjusted to college and then we’ll head right into it,” Young said. “I just hope I’ll have a social life.
“We have weightlifting in the morning, then I have all my classes and we have practice all afternoon.”
Based on how she handled the load in high school, however, she shouldn’t have too much of a problem.
— Joey Crandall can be reached at email@example.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.