By: John Miller
With family support, a good program, and hard work, junior Josh Young has become a decorated athlete at MSUM.
Young became interested in cross-country through his first grade teacher, Tom Dooher, who coached Moorhead’s high school cross-country team at the time. Dooher advocated for running and cross-country, which Young found fun as a kid.
In high school, Young was the cross-country MVP and team captain of the cross-country and track team, lettering five times in each sport. He was also a member of the Moorhead Spuds team that placed second at the Class 2A state meet in 2010.
Several family members of Young are alumni at MSUM, which, on top of him liking the school overall, helped pave the way for Young to become a Dragon.
“I have a lot of family members that are alum,” Young said. “I’m from Moorhead so I wanted to stay close to my family. They also have a good (cross-country) program and a good business school.”
After redshirting in 2014, Young kicked off his collegiate career by earning all-region and All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) first team honors with his eighth place finish at the conference meet in 2015. He was also named a U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coach’s Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic honoree.
Young is coming off a sophomore season where he helped the Dragons advance to nationals for the third straight year. He earned all-region honors, All-NSIC first team honors, and was named to the NSIC Fall All-Academic team.
This season, Young will begin his junior campaign as the NSIC Preseason Athlete of the Year.
“It feels good, but it’s a lot of pressure,” Young said. “Being Preseason Athlete of the Year puts a big target on the back. Everyone is going to try beating you for the conference championship, but it’s exciting. This year we’ll have the conference meet at our home course, so it gives me a lot of motivation to go out and win it.”
Head cross-country coach, Ryan Milner, said he was not shocked that Young was honored as Preseason Athlete of the Year as he is one of the top returning cross-country runners. Milner commends the NSIC for recognizing athletes like Young.
“His work ethic is second to none,” Milner said. “One of the things we talk about here is to achieve at a high level, which he does. He works his hardest to dial in all the little things.”
Over the summer Young frequently ran and did strength training to ensure he’s healthy for the start of the season.
Young’s pre-meet routine consists of eating a meal at Panda Express the night before and listening to music, primarily Eminem, to get in the competitive mindset.
The goal for MSUM cross-country, according to Young, is to be one of the top teams in the conference, make nationals for a fourth consecutive year, and ultimately win a national championship.
As an individual, Young’s goal for the season is to win the conference championship, finish top five in the region, and be named an All-American in cross-country.
Young’s parents have been with him every step of the way during his career and are a huge inspiration for him.
“My parents come to every meet,” Young said. “They pretty much follow me around the country to support me and make sure I can run my best. Last year they came to Florida for nationals. They’re really great individuals who help me stay focused and motivate me to achieve my goals.”
This spring Young will earn his bachelor’s degree in accounting and will enroll in graduate school at MSUM.
The team is looking forward to seeing the young guys develop this season. As Milner said, they are in a transition point after losing four of their top seven guys.
“We have a young team this year,” Young said. “It’s going to be exciting to see how they can mature and develop. It should be fun.”