OXFORD, Miss. (WCBI) — Isiah Young is fast. But how fast?
Try world class. The Ole Miss senior became one of the latest American sprinters to break the 10-second barrier in the 100-meter dash, clocking a 9.99 at the NCAA East Preliminary Meet last week.
At one point, Isiah was nowhere near that speed.
“I started out running where no schools wanted to pay attention to me,” said Young. “Now I’ve come this far and schools are noticing what they missed out on.”
What’s even more shocking is Isiah didn’t start running track until his senior year of high school. It was all because he needed an after school activity to graduate at the prep level.
“It was either a sport for a year or you had to do band. Spring came around, and I decided to do track instead of baseball.”
The rest is history, and so are some of the old records in the Ole Miss Track and Field record book. Young has re-written the best times in Rebel Track and Field history, which doesn’t come around too often in Oxford.
“Very seldom do you find a guy that finishes where he did at his high school meet and goes on to become a phenomenal, multi-time SEC champion,” said Brian O’Neal, Ole Miss Track and Field coach. “That story just doesn’t happen. It is track’s version of Cinderella.”
To think a world-class track star began his career just because he needed to graduate high school is astonishing. To say he’s an Olympian is a whole another story.
Young qualified in the 200 meter semifinals at last year’s London Olympics. While he didn’t advance to the finals, he learned an important lesson.
“It was a wake-up call for me. It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I have to train harder so I can compete on the level they are.”
One of those competitors Young faced was the Jamaican sensation, Usain Bolt. Bolt currently holds the world-record times in the 100 and 200-meter dash, both events that Young happens to compete in.
“All the fans were on their feet when he came out to the track,” Young said. “I’ve seen him live on television and I didn’t know how fast he was when you race against him live.”
As Young continues training for the Rio Olympics in 2016, right now he’s concentrating on the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. He’s already qualified for the 100-meter dash finals on Saturday, and he’s a favorite to win the 200-meter dash National Title.
The accomplishments ahead of Young could very well be a humbling end to a college career that has been nothing short of extroardinary.
“I talk to the team a lot about not taking what they see for granted,” coach O’Neal said. “With Isiah, it’s shear greatness. I’m looking at it as though I have a rare art piece. This is a Picasso and I’m definitely putting it up on my mantle so everyone can look at it.”
There’s much more to come in the future for Isiah Young, but he keeps it simple when looking back on his career as of now.
“I guess I’m a late bloomer. Everything is working out now.”