If he continues to stockpile awards, Mike Young of Wood River will soon be known as Medals Mike.
That’s the kind of eventful track year that Young, 54, and a 1979 East Alton-Wood River High graduate, has experienced in 2015. It has been bursting with awards for the Senior Olympian.
He amassed 31 gold, silver or bronze medals competing in 11 meets in representing the eXplosion Track Club of Homewood in Chicagoland. In addition, Young posted impressive times and distances in five events for his age group (50-54).
“I had a really good year and the best one I’ve had in my age bracket,” said Young, a Senior competitor since 2012. “Every event was a personal-best for me in that competition, although they weren’t my all-time records.”
He recorded times of 6.6 seconds in the 50-meters, 12.8 in the 100-meters and 27.83 in the 200-meters. In addition, he leaped 16 feet, 3 inches in the long jump and 30-2 in the triple jump.
Young participated in four Senior events and seven USA Track and Field national ones. So he was all over the U.S. in sharpening his track skills. Two of his biggest events were the All State Games of America in Lincoln, Neb., and the National Seniors Games in Minneapolis, Minn.
Then there was the USA Track and Field Regional in Kenosha, Wis. Young brought home two golds, two silver medals and one bronze. So that added to the luster of his memorable season that included a gold, a silver and two bronze medals in the Illinois Seniors meet Sept. 20.
Yet he had to deal with some physical adversity. A tender right hamstring nagged him and he also injured his left knee.
“I’m debating whether to have surgery on my knee,” said Young, savoring a bit of rest and relaxation. “I’ve already had surgery on my right knee.
“Right now, I’m taking some time off, but I will get back to training in mid-December at Principia College. The first indoor meet is in mid-February.”
When he isn’t competing or training to run and jump, Young works as a service adviser for Alton Toyota.
“They sponsor me,” he added. “I’ve been working in the service department there for six years and I enjoy it because I get to have one-on-one conversations with the customers.”
You might also spot him at any EA-WR sporting event. That’s in his blood. Young’s an Oiler for life. He and his wife, Denise, have been married for 25 years and they have four children: Crystal, Michael, Alexis and Alex. There's also three grandchildren: Donavon, Haylee and Hunter.
He used to be the man on the mike — so to speak — in announcing Oilers’ home football and basketball games.
“I retired in 2012 as a full-time announcer, but I still do a few basketball and football games each year,” he said.
Young’s love for track dates to his high school days when he competed in the sports. Following high school, he became a member of the USA Track and Field team and even ran with the legendary Jackie-Joyner Kersee.
Thus, it’s no surprise to see Young competing in his favorite sport during his Golden Years. He figures if 2016 is as productive as this year, he can keep on going strong.
“It was the most successful season I’ve ever had — a phenomenal season,” Young said. “But it wasn’t just about the medals. I got to meet a lot of good people.
“Now, I’m looking forward to another good season next year.”