Hardwood star finds success in a new arena

By Michael Kinney

Keyondre Young knows success. The Del City senior has been a star on the basketball court as he helped lead the Eagles to the 6A title this year.

However, Young wanted more. Instead of just resting on his laurels from a stellar hardwood career, he decided to test himself and joined the school’s track and field team and took on the high jump.

“I wanted to try something new. To challenge myself to more stuff instead of just basketball, and to try something,” Young said. “I was going to come out and compete, because that’s the type of person I am. So I knew I was going to come out and try to give it my all and just see how it was going to turn out.”

It didn’t take long for that decision to bear fruits. When Del City traveled to Norman High Invitational April 17, the 6-foot-7 Young not only competed in his first-ever high jump competition, but he also took home the title.

“I think I did pretty good for my first time,” Young said. “A lot of learning from this that I can take home with me to keep going, and it felt really good.”

Facing more experienced leapers from Deer Creek, Norman, Edmond and his own DC teammates, Young was the last one standing at the 6-foot-4 height.

However, Young kept going and easily took down 6-6 and 6-8. It wasn’t until he got to 6-10 that Young met his limit for at least his first day.

Young had several members of the DC team and coaches rooting him on throughout the contest, which made winning even better.

“It means a lot, the support for my guys,” Young said. “I definitely needed on this first track meet. You’ll need the love and to help the experience with experienced guys to come help me.”

With a little more practice, it seems inevitable that Young will eclipse the 6-10 mark, which would start to put him in rarefied air in Oklahoma high jump history. However, the state record is still pretty far off at 7-6. It’s held by former Yukon High standout Vernon Turner, who set it in 2017.

Like Young, Turner had a basketball background before coming to the high jump. However, Young is four inches taller than Turner, who now competes at the University of Oklahoma.

Even though he didn’t join the track team until more than midway through the season, Young said this new outlet will not be treated as a hobby. He plans to put the same effort and practice into the high jump as he did into basketball.

“I definitely want to try to win,” Young said. “Everybody’s trying to win. But it’s more just trying to get a challenge out of myself. Wherever I do, for mine too, I’m going to give it my all and try to come out and win.”

However, Young’s high jump career may only last one month. Regionals are set for May 8 and state championships are scheduled for May 15.

After that, Young will turn his attention back to the hardwood. He has committed to play basketball for Valparaiso University (Ind.) after he graduates from Del City.

Before he heads off to college, though, he hopes he will be able to put more hardware on his resume.

“It would mean everything,” Young said. “To not only win one in basketball, but come to a sport that I never thought I was going to even do, and show them I can win one, that’s going to be everything.”

Just as important, Young wants to show his future coaches just what type of competitor they are bringing to the program.

“They’re going to be very excited,” Young said. “They’re going to know they’re getting a competitive guy that’s really ready to compete in wherever he does, and they know that I can jump.”

Copy & Photo by Michael Kinney Media

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