Volume 92, Issue 60

Thursday, January 14, 1999



Young showing grit to spark hoopsters

Athletics seeking new strategy for the millennium

The end of an Air-a

This week in Mustang sports

Young showing grit to spark hoopsters

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette

SHOOTING FOR THE STARS. Second-year guard Tricia Young has shown toughness and guts overcoming leg injury after leg injury to find herself in a starting role for the Mustangs.

By Ian Ross

Gazette Staff

Tricia Young still has some friends and doctors shrugging their shoulders at her ability and conviction to play the game of basketball.

Currently a sophomore shooting guard for the Western Mustangs, Young dismantled her right leg three times in two years as a high school athlete. Each time, the question of whether she could continue to pursue her dream was raised. Each time it was answered – yes.

Interested in the sport since Grade 2 when her sister introduced her to the orange sphere, the London resident found great success on the court until tearing her right anterior cruciate ligament while trying out for the under 19 provincial team at the age of 16.

"I was fearless," Young recalled of her young years. "At that age you can get a little too much in your head.

"I think that injury really helped me to refocus."

What didn't help her career was her rush to return to the basketball court. Not long after making the return to her St. John Paul II high school team, she tore the medial collateral ligament in the same leg which was not completely healed. This time the injury came with four minutes left in the city championship game.

"Truthfully, I was very depressed," she said. "Physically, I got better, but mentally it was very tough. I had a lot of people coming up to me asking if I would play again.

"I think I was too cocky to think it could happen to me again."

One year later at the same place, in the same game, at the same time in the fourth quarter, bad luck came knocking once again – this time it was a hairline fracture.

Through it all, Young refused to give up. Battling back for the third time in her young life, she made a name for herself and captured the interest of coaches from both sides of the border.

Western head coach Bob Delaney was one of many coaches to inquire about her services at the varsity level and noted the aspect which stood out most with Young was her intensity.

"The girl loves to play the game," he said. "Even injuries have failed to dampen her enthusiasm. She is just an all-round player."

Although American scholarships were inviting to pursue, Young said the reason for attending Western surrounded her importance in her family. Her biggest fan, her grandmother, had fallen ill with cancer in her last year of high school and the importance of staying home in London was of foremost concern.

It was a decision which she said she would never regret. Last season in her first year, the political science student failed to disappoint. Playing behind three veteran guards, she earned respect quickly from her teammates and shined with her time on the court.

"Tricia brings a lot of heart to the team," said co-captain Nadia Pezzolo. "She has always been a leader in any program she has played for and although she is only in her second year she has done the same here."

Sonya Doherty, the team's starting shooting guard at the beginning of the season, decided over the holiday break to exit from athletic competition for "personal reasons." The open position was quickly filled by Young who will take on full-time responsibility in the backcourt starting this Saturday at Laurier.

Young pointed to the new responsibility as a turning point in her career. "You would think I would feel more pressure but I don't," she said with a hint of excitement in her voice.

As for the leg which caused her so much pain and adversity earlier in her life, Young had only two words – "attached and working."

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