Local Youth Qualifies for Jr. Olympic Championships

A few years ago, Oliver Young found himself in a quandary. He couldn't find a sport that interested him.

"I played soccer for about a week and then I stopped. I didn't like it. I started playing basketball. I liked it for a while and then I got bored with it," the 14-year-old said.

He tried track, but found that he wasn't as fast as other kids. Then he noticed the shot put and thought that maybe he could get into that.

"That was about six years ago and I haven't gotten bored with it yet," said Young, who will attend Crescenta Valley High as a freshman in the fall. Young has become so proficient in tossing the shot put, and also the discus, that he is beginning to make a name for himself in the events.

Competing at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Regional Finals at Cerritos College on June 26, Young took second in both events in the Youth Division.

His efforts of 13.3 meters in the shot put and a personal best toss of 41.46 meters in the discus qualified him to participate in the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships at the University of Oregon on July 31.

"Both of my parents were surprised at the time that I found a liking for the shot and later the discus," said Young who is a member of the Los Angeles Falcons Track Club. He said his mother found out about Lloyd Higgins, who coaches shot put at Citrus College, called him up and asked if he would coach her son. He told her he would.

"He coaches me on the shot put and the discus. But, he wants us to throw everything, including the javelin and the hammer. He wants me to start throwing the hammer. I don't really want to, but maybe I will," Young said.

Young said he plans to go out for the CV High track team in other events besides the shot put and the discus. While a member of the Falcons Track Club he competes on relay teams as well.

He said he will have things to shoot for in high school. "I hope to set a new shot put record at CV and maybe for the area," the youth said.

Another high school goal he has in mind is to become fluent in German so that he can travel to Europe to spend his senior year in Germany on a foreign exchange program.

Outside of his friends not many people at Toll Middle School in Glendale, from which he graduated last month, knew he was into the shot put. At a track meet earlier this year, they found out.

"At the track meet a lot of kids found out that I could throw the shot put pretty far. I beat the kid in second place by 5 feet. Here was this tall, skinny white kid who beat everybody. They were all surprised," Young said.

Although because of CIF regulations Young won't be able to compete for both the CV track team and the Falcons Track Club at the same time, he will still be able to compete for the Track Club when school is out for the summer.

"Since the CV High team is also called the Falcons, I will be a Falcon no matter what I do,' Young said.

for the summer next June.

"Since the CV High team is also called the Falcons, I will be a Falcon no matter what I do," Young said.

By Ralph Saenz

A few years ago, Oliver Young found himself in a quandary. He couldn't find a sport that interested him.

"I pl mother found out about Lloyd Higg by five feet. Here was this tall, skinny white kid who b

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