Say this about Campbell County High School senior Preston Young: when he gets even, he does it in a big way.
Last November, Young’s football team was ousted from the Class 5A playoffs by Ooltewah High, which made it all the way to the state semifinals behind the stellar play of defensive end Jacquez Smith.
Fast-forward six months to May 22, where the two gridiron gladiators met again on a different field of battle during the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships at Murfreesboro.
With the football loss lingering in the back of his mind, Young put a little extra muscle into his shot put. The result was a state championship, Campbell County’s first in shot put since Aaron Ausmus won the event in 1993.
“I went up against (Smith) a couple of times (in the football playoff game) and put him on his hind end,” said Young, a 6-foot-2, 240 lb. senior who is likely headed to Carson-Newman College on a combination track/football scholarship.
“He was my only competition (at the state meet). I knew I could beat him.”
Young actually won a gold medal with his third throw in the preliminary round. His shot put of 54 feet, 11 inches stood up against anything thrown during the finals. Smith’s best attempt (53-09.50) garnered him a silver medal for second place.
The Section 1-AAA champion fueled up for his state-winning throw by dining on a rib eye steak the evening before at The Chop House.
“He was very calm. He just got the job done,” said Billie Ann Evans, one of Young’s coaches at Campbell County High.
A little psychological warfare may have helped.
“I think Preston started playing (Smith) at breakfast,” said Evans.
Smith returned the favor in the state discus competition, when he threw over six feet farther (156-10) than Young in order to take the state title in that event.
“He just got a hold of one,“ said Young, whose best discus throw of 150 feet, 1 inch came during the preliminary round and earned him a fourth place finish.
Young’s brother Justin, who won the Section 1-AAA decathlon, finished ninth in the state competition. His best events were the 1500 meter run (1st place, 4:33.64)), 400 meter dash (3rd place), high jump (tied for 3rd place, 6-02) and pole vault (tied for fourth, 10-00).
Brentwood junior Kevin Lazas, who finished as state runner-up last year to Campbell County’s Corey Carrington, won the 2009 decathlon with strong performances in the pole vault (1st place, 14-00) and weight throws.
“Justin came in ranked 12th and finished ninth. He never gives less than his best,” said Evans.
Justin Young hopes to run track and play football with his brother next year at Carson-Newman.
Campbell County’s other competitor at state is only a freshman. Kristin Chapman took third place in the girl’s high jump (5-04) behind Section 1-AAA champion Mary Hirst of Bearden (5-06).
Chapman’s jump of 5 feet, 6 inches at sectionals was only two inches shy of Amanda Forrester’s school record of 5-08 set a decade ago at the state meet.
“With Kristin, oh boy, all I can do is think about the next three years,” said Evans.
“Our goal is for her to hold the school record and win a state title.”