Making an immediate impact for the Long Beach State Track and Field team, thrower De’Ondra Young has set new LBSU records and is certain her talent will land her a spot at next year’s nationals.
Young, who has been a thrower since her freshman year of high school, says prior to joining Long Beach State’s track and field team in fall 2016, she had never practiced weight throws, which has recently become her biggest success.
“I picked [the weight throw] up once in October, did some drills and then did not start practicing it until January,” said Young. “In the first meet, I beat the record, in the second meet I beat it again, and in the third I beat it again, so I feel like that was my biggest success.”
Young transferred to Long Beach State in fall 2016 from Palomar College, located in San Diego County, where she participated and ranked at state levels in both the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship and the Southern California Championships.
Despite beating numerous records and having a well-established trajectory in the sport, Young admits track and field was not always on her mind; in fact, her ninth-grade friends could be credited for first introducing the idea to her.
“My friends were like, ‘hey, let’s get into track,’ and I was like, ‘alright, but I am definitely not going to be a runner,” she said. “So, I started throwing and I did not realize I was really good until our first meet.”
Young’s former coach from Palomar College, Whitney DeWeese, could also be credited for helping shape her into the thrower she is today.
DeWeese, who currently coaches shot put, hammer throws and discus at Palomar College, is someone Young still shares her accomplishments with.
Young says DeWeese is somewhat of a mentor to her as she also knows what it is like to be college athlete, after having attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she used to throw discus.
Achieving the success Young has encountered has not always come easy to her – the transition from Palomar’s track and field team to Long Beach State’s was quite a challenge during her first semester on the new team.
“My biggest challenge has been getting used to weight lifting every single day,” said Young. “We did a little bit of weight lifting at Palomar, but it was not as intense it is here.”
Young says, being that her body was not used to the intensity of the daily Olympic-style workout routines, her sleeping pattern was initially affected, something her body has since gotten used to.
Despite the challenges of a tough transition and getting bumped off the list for this year’s nationals, Young’s motivation for the sport and consecutive wins in the weight throw category are sure to guarantee her a spot in next year’s national championship.
“I’ll be there next year,” said Young.