Alex Brasky | @BataviasBest
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 | BataviasBest.org
Flying relatively under-the-radar throughout the past few seasons, while his teammates found their way to state championship glory, Alexander Wrestling’s Nick Young is now enduring what has been a breakout season of sorts – even for a wrestler of his stature. As now, following a colossally successful 2017-2018 Section V postseason, those who follow local HS Sports have no choice but to know exactly who he is.
The most-decorated active wrestler in the area, Nick has strung together four consecutive Section V Titles dating back to the 2014-2015 season, and has also qualified for the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships in all four of those seasons.
This year, however, his string of success reached its climax as Young won his individual weight class title at the Section V State Qualifier – and as a result he earned a definitive ticket to the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships for the first time in his career. Prior to this season, he had been awarded ‘Wild Card’ berths to the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships after falling short at State Qualifier.
Still, even with the great triumphs which he has experienced over the years, the Alexander 132 pounder has made it clear that his career won’t be complete without a NYSPHSAA Championship.
“Winning a state title is something I’ve wanted, and worked for ever since I wrestled for the first time in 7th grade,” said Young about his aspirations in the coming weeks. “It would mean a ton to win one and follow after my teammates Dane (Heberlein), and Matt (Gaiser).”
Prior to this year, Heberlein, a three-time state champ who graduated this past summer, and Gaiser, whose journey towards back-to-back titles ended earlier this winter due to injury, had been the ‘shining stars’ for Trojans’ Wrestling – with Young seemingly in the background, even though he joined his teammates in racking up the hardware.
However, Young is now the lone wrestler (barring future wild card berths) set to represent the Genesee Region League at the 2017-2018 NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships, and because of that he has been pushed to the forefront – while finally being recognized as one of the top-wrestlers in all of Section V by his peers.
For, as of today, Nick comes in at #4 on the WNY Pound for Pound Rankings – which can be found at armdrag.com. The PfP Rankings lists the top-wrestlers, regardless of weight class, throughout both Sections V & VI.
If that weren’t enough to show you just how regarded he is around local wrestling circles, the Paddock Family, of the late Brad Paddock of Warsaw, honored Nick with the Brad Paddock Memorial Scholarship Award prior to the Section V State Qualifier. The award, provided by one of the most respected families in Section V Wrestling, is given to a selection of wrestlers from Section V who are to receive a scholarship in coach Paddock’s honor. Aside from a Championship Title, it is one of the most-prestigious honors in all of Section V Wrestling.
In addition, he was also selected as the recipient of the Most Outstanding Wrestler award at the qualifying tournament’s conclusion.
Now, while all of this new-found recognition has been great for a wrestler who has simply deserved it over the past several years, it also places the Trojans’ 132 pounder directly into the spotlight – a place which can be daunting for most high school athletes. Although, Young says he believes the growing support which he has received has had a positive impact on him.
“I feel like it puts a little more pressure on me, but I like (the effect it has had on me),” he said concerning the increased acknowledgement from his peers, “I’m excited and ready to go win a state title.”
Appearing motivated by the added acknowledgement which has engulfed his postseason run this year, Young is riding a wave of momentum which will be hard for any wrestler in his weight class to stop. With that, all signs are pointing to this finally being the year for Nick’s crowning moment.
After three-straight years spent by his teammates side, rooting for them as they went on to reach championship glory, it is finally his time.
Stay tuned to see if the Trojans’ top-dog can finish his career atop the podium at the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships.
We will be bringing you a complete preview next week, along with updates from the mat next weekend.