Focus, Commitment and Bold
These words were echoed by Newbury Park head coach, Sean Brosnan when asked to describe senior Nico Young.
When glancing back at the 2019 cross country season, no athlete achieved more on the course than Newbury Park's Nico Young. Known to the distance running community simply as 'Nico' the conversation consistently swirled throughout the season not on whether he was the top runner in the nation, but rather if he was the best prep distance runner in United States history!
Brosnan reflected back on workouts during Nico's sophomore season that made the coach aware that Young possessed the talent to be one of the best in the nation. Nico opened up his junior season with a head-turning 14:01 victory at the Woodbridge Invitational. That victory launched Nico into the national spotlight while he realized just how talented he was.
That same junior season, Nico continued to build his resume in setting a new Riverside Championship Course record (14:24.2) to capture the SS-Division 2 title. He moved on to capture the Division II State Championship, crossing just under the coveted 15-minute barrier. One week later, he placed fourth at NXN in leading his squad to a surprising sixth place finish on a team that only included one scoring senior.
During the 2019 track season, Nico went to another level that began changing the tone of how you described his talents. In one of the most epic races in national prep history, Young withstood the push from Valor Christian's Cole Sprout to win the Arcadia Invitational in 8:40.00, thus, ascending him to one of the best ever.
Fast forward to the 2019 cross country season! An undefeated season built around the goal of
claiming the NXN title, and leading his squad to the NXN team championship was
on top of the list. With those goals ultimately achieved, let's
glance back at the journey that Nico Young allowed us all to be a part of.
After a strong summer where the Newbury Park program spent a month training in Big Bear at altitude, Nico did not wait too long to steal all headlines in his return to the Woodbridge Invitational. Whereas he just missed the course record a year earlier, great anticipation on just how far he would go below the 14-minute threshold hovered all throughout. In his patented, bold and grinding running style, Nico ran straight to the front, claiming some victims along for the ride that first mile. The ideal conditions and supportive crowd saw him cruise through the first mile at 4:28 but it wasn't until he continued to gap the field and crossed the 2-mile mark in 9:05 did the crowd begin to realize that they were witnessing history. When he crossed just under 13:40, even the LCD Results Board went blank in disbelief! 4:28-4:37-4:34! Simply head turning! Etched in the minds as a forever memory for all present, it did not take long to start asking if that was the fastest prep three-mile ever. Sure enough, with message boards and social media lighting up, his 13:39.7 was a new national record.
- Post-Woodbridge Interview with Nico
- Post-Woodbridge Interview with Coach Brosnan
- Post-Clovis Interview with Nico
- Post-State Interview with Nico
- Workout Wednesday With Newbury Park
- Pre-Season Interview with Nico
- U.S. 3-Mile Rankings For 2019
Fast forward to the Clovis Invitational, and Nico was welcomed with his greatest challenge of the season from Gilbert (AZ) Highland's Leo Daschbach, pushing one another to the finish, Nico became only the second boy to break 14:30 on the iconic Woodward Park course. Moving into November, with Nico still training at 65-70 miles a week, he used his league finals and divisional finals as primers for NXN. Whereas he already held the Riverside Championship Course record from his junior year, he used a scorched earth policy in racing to an astonishing 13:54, 30 seconds faster than the year before! (Video highlights below.)
With Nico returning back to the State Championships, he had a second
opportunity to go after German Fernandez' 14:24 course record from 2007. Many consider Fernandez' effort to be the single greatest performance in California state history. Admittedly, not competing at full throttle
and eyes more set on the following week, Nico went wire-to-wire to once again, break
14:30, making him to first to break 14:50 on that same course. Both performances went down, officially, as
In less than ideal, rain drenched conditions, Glendoveer Golf Course was Nico's last victim of 2019. In traditional style, Nico took over the reins from the gun and against the most talented field in the nation. While allowing a group to stay behind him for the first mile, he opened up an eight-second lead by the two mile mark. Nico, in his traditional grinding fashion, surged away with a 14-second victory, despite the muddy circumstances and rain all throughout, Nico claimed another course record there as well!
When asked what separates him from the rest, Coach Brosnan added, "Nico has this amazing ability to focus on the task at hand. He loves a challenge and truly wants to see how great he can be in the sport of cross country and track. Nico is also great about communicating with me about anything that comes up from lots of school work, needing more sleep or if he is sore from a run or workout. This really makes him excel more than other HS athletes."
A number of California's most successful distance coaches and aficionados of the sport have admitted that he is the best that they have ever witnessed. No prep athlete in California history can match the overall body of work Nico Young has produced these past two seasons. In 2019, he went undefeated against the nation's best. We cannot wait to witness his future accomplishments at Northern Arizona University and beyond.
As the MileSplitCA's Cross Country Boys Athlete of the Year, this
was arguably the most spectacular season any prep has ever produced in the
history of the United States as Nico, from here on out, will always be in the
discussion as the best high school distance runner ever!
Photos by Patrick Corsinita
RUNNERS OF THE YEAR BY CLASS:
Senior -- Nico Young, Newbury Park (SS)
Junior -- Colin Peattie, Bellarmine College Prep (CC)
Sophomore -- Colin Sahlman, Newbury Park (SS)