By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Joe Young said his friend and teammate Chris Matthews elbowed him in the mouth.
He added, however, that he does not care about the hit, because it happened seconds after he and his teammates secured All American status with a fourth-place finish at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
“I was completely on a different level, I couldn’t feel anything,” Young said. “That was our goal – we really wanted to become All Americans. When we finally saw the results, the feeling was amazing.”
Each a member of the Shrewsbury High School indoor and outdoor track teams, Young, Matthews and teammates Dasani Prideaux and Joey O’Brien qualified for the championships held from June 15 – 17 at North Carolina A & T State University’s Aggie Stadium. Comprising the “A” team sent to the competition, the four ran alongside Shrewsbury teammates Cam Morris, Doug Dias, Charles Bray and Adam Katerji, who competed in the lower “Emerging Elite Division” as the town’s “B” team.
After Young and Prideaux raced a year ago in that lower division, this year’s A team dominated the North Carolina track, ranking highly in a number of the races they entered. Namely, they finished 14th in the 4×100 meter relay and fourth in the 800-meter medley relay, earning them their All American recognition for a top six finish. Finally, running individually, Joey O’Brien logged a 15th place finish in the 200-meter dash.
Young attributes some of that success to the atmosphere at the national championships.
“Everybody there is fast,” he said. “So there’s not going to be anything easy about me running. Because everyone else is at the same level that I am, it pushes me to do better.”
From nationals, Young and Prideaux will both be competing in high-level college athletic programs, with Young set to sprint for UMass Lowell, and Prideaux gearing up for runs at UMass Amherst next year. With this recent experience, Young said he hopes he can be better prepared for the high stakes environments now clearly in his future.
“Obviously the atmosphere that was at the national meet was a lot different from a regular high school meet,” he said. “After going to a couple national meets, I understand the feeling there. Now when I go to meets next year when I’m running in college – it’s going to help me out being less nervous.”
But before Young and Prideaux leave for college, they’ll still relish their success with their hometown team.