Brendan Young found himself at a crossroads as a new-to-town seventh-grader in Cañon City.
He wanted his family to have a good name in the town of roughly 16,500 people, but the Youngs had no roots in the area.
“It is a small town so everyone kind of knows everyone, and there are big names in this town that people like to talk about,” Young said.
“I kinda wanted that for my family because we didn’t have any reputation here.”
It didn’t take long for him to find his avenue to get there.
He started track and field that year, and when he and a friend realized they had an open event, they decided to try the triple jump.
“I thought it was a blast, running down the track and jumping as far as I could,” he said.
He tells a story about breaking a league record in the triple at his first meet, despite a raw technique.
When it came time to compete at the high school level, he immediately made his mark.
"He's been a stud since his freshman year," Tigers coach Nathan Bohlken said during Young’s senior season.
With a better form and a growing name, Young capped his prep career with gold medals in the long and triple jump at the Class 4A State Track and Field Championships, earning him Gazette Preps Boys’ Track and Field Peak Performer of the Year.
He went 47-11 in the triple, winning by more than two feet, and won the long by a couple of inches at 23-1.
“There was no part of me this year that could take losing,” Young said.
He added a third-place medal as the anchor of the 4x100 relay and took fourth in the high jump, a little bit of a surprise since his school’s facilities make regular practice in the event challenging. He cleared 6-3 in Lakewood.
“We work on it maybe once a week, twice a week at most,” he said.
“Right before the state meet, I started to get down the form.”
He’d be interested in continuing to refine his high jump at UCCS, where he’s signed to continue jumping. His coach believes he is well-suited for the next level.
"He thrives off the competition," said Bohlken. "Some kids shut down. Brendan takes himself to the next level."
He certainly elevated his performance as a senior, and now any additional Youngs that come through Cañon City have quite the name to live up to.
“It was kind of like, you could say, overwhelming because everyone here has a name, and you want to make a name for yourself, especially coming in as a new kid,” Young said.
“I wanted to make that name for myself, and I feel like I kinda did that through track.”