In addition to wanting to further his wrestling career past Stillwater High School, Carter Young is also thinking about his academics.
That’s why the two-time state wresting champion, who’s entering his senior year, committed to continuing his athletic and academic career at prestigious Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He recently made that official on Twitter.
“I had known for a little bit that I was going to go there,” Young said during a phone interview. “I was just making sure that I got in before I announced it. It’s been a bit crazy since that day. It’s exciting.”
Recently retired SHS wrestling coach Doug Chesbro, who coached Young for two years before hanging up his coaching career after three decades within the program, had a hunch Young would choose one of the most prestigious academic universities in the country.
Young chose Northwestern over Oklahoma State, Princeton and Michigan – all of which he also visited before the coronavirus pandemic shut down on-campus recruiting visits.
“It’s awesome,” Chesbro said. “Every kid that has wanted to go and wrestle at the next level has had the opportunity to do so. It’s awesome for a program. It’s awesome for a coach. It’s great that they are able to do that, and to think you were a small part of what they were able to do.
“When it comes to Carter, I kind of had an inkling all along he was going to go to a school that was known for academics. Not that I knew specifically which one and not that schools around here aren’t good academically, it’s just that I had a feeling it would be a school something like Northwestern. It’s tough to get in there and it’s a Big 10 school, so he’s going to be in the mix of some of the best wrestlers in the country – aside from the Big 12, it’s the other big one. It’s exciting and it’s going to be tough, but he’s been through grinds before and come out on top. I’m excited for him.”
Chesbro joked that while Young is a good student-athlete, he is also a high school student, so sometimes academics get pushed aside.
“He is a good student, but he’s a high school kid, though,” Chesbro said. “Sometimes he doesn’t always – like we all did at that age – put that academics out in front like it needs to be. But, he’s so far ahead of the game academically that he’s able to move through it. Not many people get to go to a school like that from here.”
Young, who won his first state title at Sand Springs before moving to Stillwater, will become the first SHS wrestler to go compete at a Big Ten Conference school straight out of high school since Mark Perry went to Iowa more than a decade ago. SHS graduate Tristan Moran wrapped up his career this year at Wisconsin after transferring from Oklahoma State.
Competing in arguably the best wrestling conference in the nation was a factor in Young’s decision to choose the Wildcats.
“Definitely, that was a factor, too,” Young said. “I feel like I really wanted to be in a Big 10 school and get that type of competition.”
However, the biggest reason might have been his gut reaction after visiting the campus. He said, “It just felt right when I went there.”
“Just the people there and the coaches,” Young said. “It’s a really good environment. On my visit, all of the people were really friendly and cool, and I just connected with the people there a lot. I feel like you kind of know when you go to a school if it’s the one or not.”
Young is coming off winning the 132-pound state championship in February. He was one of two state champs for the Pioneers, along with freshman Cael Hughes.
His drive to improve is one thing that impressed Chesbro. The other was Young’s constant motion and pressure he applies to opponents during matches.
“He loves to be in the workout room,” Chesbro said. “He loves to workout. It’s hard to keep him out of the workout room. I don’t know how many times the last two years I’d get a call late at night of him asking me if he can go in and work out. To have somebody that enjoys the process that it takes to have success, it makes it so much easier on him.
“The other thing that he has is a motor that just doesn’t quit. He goes and goes and goes, and he puts people into a panic mode almost to where he can do anything he wants and the other kid is reacting to what he’s doing. It’s awesome to watch him get a kid to that point. That combined with his love of the process and training is something that’s pretty rare.”
Young won’t be wrestling for Chesbro any longer, but he almost left Stillwater, too. Young had planned to wrestle at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, before going to college.
However, the pandemic didn’t allow that to happen. Thus, SHS fans will get the chance to see him compete one more year as a Pioneer.
“I was going to spend my senior year out at the training center, but I can’t now because of COVID,” Young said. “They aren’t doing it this year, so I’m staying in Stillwater. I just thought it would have been a good opportunity. I still would have done my senior year online, and a lot of guys have done that. They all did their senior year out at the OTC. I thought it would have been good.
“I was definitely disappointed. I wanted to go down there, but part of me didn’t want to leave my friends and everything here. It just turned out how it was supposed to.”
Young will be wrestling for newly named coach Ethan Kyle this year. He’s already met his new coach, and they’ve gotten off to a good start.
“It’s been awesome,” Young said. “He’s got some good stuff. He’s slick. He’s a really good guy and I think it’s going to be good. I think he’ll be a good coach for us.”