Phil Young comes across as a quiet leader of the Keller wrestling team. But with the way he performs on the mat, he speaks to his teammates at a high decibel level.
Coming off a District 4 championship on Saturday at 182 pounds, Young pushed his season record to 28-2 and will likely have a high seed for the upcoming Class 5A Region I tournament this weekend.
Young was one of 12 Indians who qualified for the regional meet en route to helping garner a team championship for Keller at the district meet held at Northwest on Saturday.
Using his strength and conditioning, Young said his philosophy is all about setting the tempo.
“I try to wrestle how I want to,” Young said. “I don’t let the other guy set the pace. My conditioning is a big benefit.”
Even since his football season ended for Keller, Young has continued to double-dip on his workouts. He maintains his weightlifting regime along with the others in football, then hits the wrestling room for practices in the afternoon. Young said he took off just the weekend after the last football game before showing up in the wrestling room to start the new season. Young also plays baseball in the spring.
Credit also goes to the pace of wrestling practices set by head coach Jim Schee. Young said this year’s workouts may be a little shorter, but are more strenuous.
“This year, practice has been more intense,” Young said. “Even though they’re shorter, we’re working hard the whole time. It’s definitely harder than last year. The team is working harder.”
That effort is paying dividends. The Indians will be just two weight classes shy of a full team at the Region I meet at Arlington High School.
“The team is really improved from last year with most of the same guys,” Young added. “I think only two guys are freshmen.”
Schee said that Young is a leader in the wrestling room and that as his experience progresses, so does his propensity to be more vocal.
“Phil comes in to work every day,” Schee said. “He knows when it’s time to work.”
Part of that includes working on any mistakes he may have made in an earlier match. Such was the case in one of Young’s losses at the Grapevine Duals.
Young lost a decision to a wrestler from Haltom after getting caught in a roll and giving up points he couldn’t recover from in the match.
“We worked on that it in practice and it won’t happen again,” Schee said.
Sure enough, Young had a long-awaited rematch with the Haltom wrestler in the district finals and pinned him in the first period.
“I can always improve,” Young said of preparing for the remainder of the season, where he looks to return to the state meet after qualifying in his sophomore year.
“My conditioning is better and I think I’m stronger. After football I was about 195, but I got down (to 182) pretty fast.”
Young said he set personal goals for this season in the summer, and although he keeps those goals to himself, he said he’s on track to meet most of them.
The summer was also a time for additional training for Young and other Indians wrestlers as they participated in a team camp, “Tiger Style,” at the University of Missouri.
“We definitely learned more at the camp and we weren’t as rusty when we came back,” Young said.
Adding in the skills of football has also been advantageous for Young, saying that as a middle linebacker, the mental toughness is needed on both mat and field.
“It definitely toughens you up, and my legs are in better shape to stay low,” Young said of the multi-sport training. “On cut blocks, I find the ability to sprawl off the guy comes from my wrestling,” he said.