Taking the Next Step

  • By Brian Kuppelweiser
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  • January 05, 2012 02:54 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - The West Virginia wrestling team, which is comprised of grapplers from eight separate states and one foreign country, has many different and unique individual personalities.

None, though, may be the true embodiment of a Mountaineer more than junior Shane Young.

Just as what is typically associated with WVU’s mascot, Young can be found spending his down time in the woods hunting, near the water fishing, or listening to country music prior to his matches.

Some of Young’s teammates even affectionately refer to him as the team’s “redneck”, but don’t let Young’s hobbies and intricacies fool you, as he has become quite the accomplished wrestler in his time with the Mountaineers.

The 125 pounder boasts a career record of 57-23 and has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in both his freshman and sophomore seasons.

“When you are recruiting, you are always trying to get that person that is going to be the next national champion or All-American,” said coach Craig Turnbull. “With the background that Shane had, that put him in a very elite category.”

Young’s path to success began just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., at Penn Trafford High School. While there, Young was a three-time WPIAL champion, was the three-time state champion, was named the 2009 Tribune-Review Wrestler of the Year and was tabbed as the nation’s 14th best recruit by InterMat.

After a highly successful high school career, Young made the decision to attend WVU.

Right from the start, coach Craig Turnbull and his coaching staff saw the potential that Young possessed.

“We believed that if we provided him with the right experiences, and he progressed at an adequate rate, he would compete to be an All-American and have a realistic goal of winning a national championship,” Turnbull said.

In his first year with the Mountaineers, Young proved that Turnbull’s view for talent was spot on. He finished the year with an impressive freshman record of 16-10, defeated an opponent ranked in the top ten and qualified for the NCAA Championships. At the national tournament, Young lost both of his matches.

In Young’s second year, his achievements were even greater, as he compiled a 28-10 overall record, qualified for the NCAA Championships for a second time and was ranked as high as No. 18 in the country. Yet again though, Young lost to both of his opponents at the national tournament.

“I didn’t really think too much about the success I was having,” said Young. “I just went and wrestled and didn’t think too much about trying to have success. It was disappointing to go to nationals twice and not come away with anything, though.”

Following the completion of his sophomore season, Young put his nose to the grindstone and spent last summer in Morgantown in order to try and advance past the losses at the national tournament in his previous two trips.

“Being in the Morgantown throughout the summer was key,” Young said. “I trained throughout the summer, and I also tried to get in extra workouts when I could.”

Strength and conditioning coordinator Darl Bauer remarked throughout the summer and at the beginning of the season that Young has constantly been one of the hardest working wrestlers in the weight room.

With the summer of hard training behind him, Young got off to yet another dominant start this season, as he holds a 13-3 overall record as the Mountaineers prepare for a visit from Maryland.

“I want to be at the top of the podium by the time I am done in the next two years,” Young said. “This year I want to be there for sure.”

Although many tough matches lie ahead for Young, Turnbull can envision him standing on the podium at the end of the year as one of the nation’s elite wrestlers.

“In many ways, we hoped for and believed, that knowing his unrelenting work ethic, he was going to progress very quickly,” Turnbull said. “He is now in the position to achieve those things.”