In-form Texas A&M junior Charokee Young eyes success for both school and country Featured

Charokee Young Charokee Young Texas A&M Athletics

Texas A&M Junior Charokee Young enters the South Eastern Conference (SEC) Indoor Championships at the Aggies Gilliam Indoor Stadium this weekend in perhaps the form of her life.

The former Hydel High School star, opened the season running 37.33 in the 300m at the Wooo Pig Classic, which ranks her 18th in collegiate history and then in her first race over 400m, won in 52.00 at the Charlie Thomas Invitational.

She then clocked an impressive 51.24 in the 400m at the Don Kirby Open to win in what the fourth-best time all-time indoors at Texas A&M that established her as the Aggies leading quarter-miler, replacing the outstanding Athing Mu, who went pro before winning gold medals in the 800m at the US trials and the Tokyo Olympics.

Herself a former 800m runner, Young believes her progress this season comes down to building on her success last season when she finished the Texas Tech Invitational with two event titles, winning the 400m at a time of 52.64 and ran the second leg on the 4x400m that won at 3:31.09, the second-fastest 4x400m in the NCAA in 2021 as well as clocking a personal best 400m time of 51.93 at the Charlie Thomas Invitational, the fifth-best performer in Aggie history.

The season culminated with her booking a ticket to Japan for her first Olympics.

“I honestly feel like what drove my improvement this year is just adding to what I had already learned last year. So instead of starting from zero, I started from 50 per cent,” said Young, who is looking beyond the NCAA to don Jamaica's colours in the individual 400m at the World Championships in Oregon in July.

“I am still trying to learn more in trying to improve my races.

“I feel like my experience in Tokyo really motivated me for this year to work hard and just go out and give it my best shot. I am really working hard this year so I wouldn’t be like an alternate, hopefully, I will be able to cement my spot on the team. So I am working hard so I can run faster and hopefully get a better result.”

Wanting to succeed for both school and country can be challenging for collegiate athletes. Navigating indoor and outdoor seasons with each having both regional and national competitions can be physically and mentally taxing.

Young acknowledges that reality but believes she is now better able to find that balance that will allow excelling at both.

“I do agree that the NCAA takes a toll on your body but if you can complete an NCAA circuit, it shouldn’t be a problem to push a couple more months to go to the World Championships. Last year was my first time doing it, so this year I will have an idea what it feels like so I will be way more prepared this year than last year,” she said.

With that in mind, she said, her primary goal this season is to improve each time she steps on the track. It is clear in her mind that if she keeps doing that, then doing well for Texas A&M and Jamaica will be achievable.

“I really don’t have a set time I want to achieve this year, I just hope to keep getting better and better, so my main goal this year is to end with a season-best,” she said.

 

 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 23 February 2022 13:39
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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