Young earns All-American honors at Newberry College

Jackson Memorial graduate finishes second at recent NCAA wrestling meet


B.J. Young, who concluded his wrestling career at Jackson Memorial High School a year ago falling short of being a state place-winner in the two years he qualified for the NJSIAA state tournament, is an NCAA Division II All- American these days.

Wrestling at 133 pounds, Young concluded a 34-9 season with six pins for Newberry College, Newberry, S.C., on the final day of the 2010-11 season in the Division II nationals in Kearny, Neb., last month.

Although he lost to No. 1 seed Todd Wilcox of Grand Canyon University, Prescott, Ariz., 8-3, in the championship match, the setback did not stop Young from getting national acclaim.

Young, who was seeded No. 7 in the nationals, said he is his school’s first freshman to reach the national finals. He is the school’s 18th All-American, only the third as a true freshman.

Young reached the 133-pound championship bout with a 9-2 decision over Upper Iowa University’s Kyle Pedretti.

Pedretti tied the match at 2-2 in the first period, but Young got an escape to take the lead for good.

In the second period, Young increased his lead to 6-2 with a three-point near fall as a shaken Pedretti got an injury timeout.

Young picked the bottom position to start the third period and scored an escape point in the early going, and his opponent was assessed a point for an illegal move before Young wrapped up the scoring with a point for riding time.

“When I was in high school, I always wanted to be a [state] place-winner and I always had bad tournaments,” Young said. “For this season, I got my mental attitude going and focused, relaxed and had fun. That’s what I wanted to do, but what I accomplished shocked me a little bit.”

Young said he got used to cutting 20 pounds in order to compete in the 133- pound weight class, but he expects to move up to 141 pounds for the 2011-12 season.

“What definitely helped was my conditioning and the way I go about things,” said Young, who said he realized he could achieve his goals in the preseason and in his first match that he won with an 11-4 decision. “That opened my eyes. I kept wrestling people who were ranked, but it was my stamina and scrambles. They didn’t know what to do with me.”

Young wrestled Wilcox during the season, losing 4-3 in a dual meet on New Year’s Day where he thought he scored a takedown late in the match to win. The takedown was not called.

“Last time, I rode him out, This time, he got out real quick and surprised me by getting a takedown quick off that,” Young said. “In the neutral position, he countered my [takedown] shots and beat me off the scrambles.”

That was far different from most of the season when Young said most of his opponents “could not keep up with my pace.”

Young was one of four Newberry All- Americans in the nationals, an honor that goes to the top eight place-winners in each weight class. He helped Newberry finish sixth in the team standings.

Newberry was fourth in the NCAA Division II national duals championships in a 19-2 season.

“My game is working on top,” Young said. “Every match, I’ve had riding time, using legs and cradles. That’s the difference in college, working for riding time. The thing that changed for me since high school was my feet; I’m a lot better with movement in general and setting up my shots.”

He said he also scored takedowns working from the bottom position throughout the season.

Young was back at practice shortly after returning from the nationals.

“We’ve started already,” he said. “I like to train and I’m back to lifting.”

During the season, he managed to follow the efforts of his younger brother, Spencer, a sophomore on the two-time NJSIAA Group IV champion Jackson Memorial team that finished 23-5. Spencer Young was 25-12 and a District 21 champion for the Jaguars.

Another former Jackson Memorial High School wrestler, junior Sean Byrnes at 157 pounds, fell short in the national wrestlebacks for Newberry, losing a 5-0 decision to the No. 1 seed. Byrnes was 32-7 with 14 pins in 2010-11.