Coal Ridge’s Phoebe Young signs with Saint Martin’s University
She holds the Coal Ridge High School record in pole vault. She spends her downtime grappling with Titans in the school’s varsity wrestling program. She also professes to be an adrenaline junkie.
Now, Titans senior Phoebe Young can officially call herself a soon-to-be collegiate athlete.
Surrounded by friends, family and Coal Ridge faculty members Wednesday afternoon, Young signed a letter of intent to compete in pole vault for Saint Martin’s University, a DII program in Washington State.
“I’m really excited,” Young said moments after inking the pen. “I guess I’m a little bit nervous, but it’s definitely where I want to be and what I want to do.”
Ever since being handed a pole vault in the summer leading to her freshman year, Young’s progression in the vertigo-inducing track-and-field event became more and more evident by the jump. In one of her very first vaults, in fact, she notched a commendable 8 feet. By the time she hit her freshman season, the auspicious vaulter would already notch personal bests and spend part of her spring at the state track meet.
“It just came really naturally to me,” Young said. “The first time I was on a pole it just felt like it was a part of my body… It was never about trying to be better than anybody else. It was also just like, every day pushing to be better than I was the last day.”
The next year, however, was arguably her biggest catapult to success of her high school career. The first meet would begin with a jaw-dropping 10-foot launch. Following that momentous crater into the sand, Young continued to achieve personal bests.
At the Eagle Invitational, she’d clear 10 feet, 2 inches. A couple weeks later at a home meet in New Castle, the sophomore went on to clear 10 feet, 3 inches — setting another school record for Coal Ridge.
Then, who could forget what she accomplished at the Colorado state track meet that year? Equipped with a lot more confidence compared to her freshman year, Young elevated herself to her best height yet: 11 feet. The benchmark allowed her to take second place in all of 3A.
The feat, Young agreed, is one of the most defining moments of her high school career. But it’s more the feeling of simply outdoing her former self that she really enjoys.
“I think probably reaching a goal I wanted to get — whether that’s going to state or getting a PR — that feeling is just indesirable,” she said. “Knowing that you set a standard for yourself and you made it, it’s amazing. It’s better than anything you could imagine.”
But Young’s journey isn’t just fueled by her desire to succeed or to reach the stars (figuratively). Her mother, Heidi Young, said her now collegiate athlete of a daughter takes up her father Scott’s taste for adrenaline.
“Part of it is genetics,” Heidi joked. “Her dad was like that growing up.”
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Phoebe Young decided to take up wrestling her senior year. She didn’t let COVID-19 keep her away from any sort of competition, and she still wanted to keep in shape for her final season of track.
Prior to the signing, Coal Ridge track coach and athletic director Ben Kirk also acknowledged his star trackster’s love for the extreme, saying, “It matches her personality so well.”
“I don’t think anyone in here’s surprised that Phoebe’s going to be playing college sports,” he said. “In my opinion, Phoebe is probably one of the top two or three most athletically talented kids we ever had in our school.”
Scott Young simply attributes his daughter’s success to her competitiveness.
“She’s super athletic and she loves to compete; her competitiveness is remarkable,” Scott said. “She can go out of practice and vault and get 9 foot, 10 foot … but when she gets out to competition and there’s somebody to beat, it brings out the best in her.”
Scott said he wants Phoebe to go on to Saint Martin’s to not just compete at the next level, but to be exposed to new places, new ideas and grow from it.
“I just love her so much,” he said. “She’s always got a great attitude and she’s just fun. I’m going to miss the hell out of her.”
Phoebe was asked if she’ll miss home once she’s gone.
“I grew up in a small town. Everyone knows everyone and, I don’t know, we may not like each other all the time, but I think we all got pretty close. It’ll be kind of weird leaving but it’ll be good, too.”
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