Jun. 22—Carter Young, a Stillwater High graduate, recently won freestyle wrestling gold in the Junior Pan American Championships.
Young, who was a three-time state high school champion in Oklahoma (two of them with the Pioneers), claimed the crown at 61 kg at the international tournament in Oaxtepec, Mexico. Young took the title with 10-0 superiority over Mexico's Diego Olvera Rodriguez.
In his quarterfinal match, Young also won by 10-0 superiority over Brazil's Bryan de Oliveira Pereira. Young then won his semifinal by fall over Eduardo Nunez Leon of Paraguay.
"It was a really good weekend, I wrestled well," Young said. "I think my longest match was like 45 seconds."
Young was trying to qualify for the Junior World Team when he found himself earning a spot in the Pan Am Championships.
He finished runner-up for the USA Wrestling Junior Team, and his consolation prize was the trip to represent for the United States and compete in Mexico.
"It was awesome," Young said. "I wish I could have won (Junior Trials), but it's so cool to get to go to the Pan Ams."
Not only did it present Young with a chance to represent his country, but he also liked the opportunity of getting a different look at wrestling from different countries as he prepares for his transition to wrestling at the Division I level.
"It helps a lot to get that different competition," Young said. "Those guys down there, they wrestle a lot different than the Americans. So it'll help me for college for sure to get a different feel and see how different people wrestling.
"Like in the Big Ten, they are so different with heavy hands and clubbing you all the time. So it's just good to get a different feel."
It wasn't Young's first experience at an international event.
In 2016, Young competed in Colombia — which will be hosting the first-ever Junior Pan American Games later this year — for the Pan American Schoolboys Championships as an eighth-grader in Sand Springs. He won a freestyle title then, as well, and was named the Outstanding Wrestler in the freestyle event. He also wrestled to a runner-up finish in the Greco-Roman discipline.
"That was a lot different, because the Juniors is a lot tougher and a lot more important," Young said. "But that was fun, too. Both times, I really enjoyed it."
The Pan American Championships, which are contested annually, is a qualifier for the Pan American Games that are held every four years. However, it is only in the six Olympic weights — which Young did not compete in one of those six.
Instead, Young will begin his transition to college life.
He is expected to move onto campus at Northwestern University in early July. He's uncertain of what weight he will be expected to wrestle at — pointing out that once he gets into a college weight room, he may end up bulking up a little bit since he hadn't lifted often in high school.
"I'm not sure if I'll be redshirting or going right into it, but either way, I think I'll be ready," Young said.