Lady Elk Guin Young

Elkhart Lady Elk Guin Young (left) -- with her head coach Alicia Lipscomb (right) -- qualified for the 3A state competition after placing 11th overall at the regional meet in Huntsville Monday.

ROUND ROCK – Elkhart Lady Elk Guin Young is not a girl of many words.

If you're not apart of her day-to-day interactions her quiet demeanor can easily hide how fierce of a competitor she is.

Or how dedicated she had become to qualifying for the state competition as a freshman.

It fueled her.

As she entered the final stretch of the UIL 3A Region III race she saw her season goal within her grasp. She began to feel the aches of the two-mile run and a previous injury she had suffered.

She fell across the finishing line and immediately asked, “Did I qualify for state?”

Not only did she qualify in 11th place, but she did it as one of only five freshmen to finish inside the top-20.

And even after such an emotional finish, her first instinct wasn't to bask in her accomplishment, but instead focus on how to improve for her next challenge.

“After all the congratulations she got her mindset went back into 'how do I continue to make these people proud,” head coach Alicia Lipscomb said. “I don't know if she realizes how big of an accomplishment this is for a freshman. She is that focused.”

It has been all about the end goal for Young. She's up at 4:00 a.m. each morning to do her individual workouts before she joins her peers for team training.

Her work earned her first at the Elkhart Invitational and Latexo meet to begin the season.

To her disappointment, she grabbed second at the district meet – even though she had a guaranteed spot at the regional race.

Young's rapid success has been a token of her hardwork, but it has also symbolized a crowning achievement for first-year head coach Alicia Lipscomb.

“I get to show people who told me I shouldn't be a head coach – you know what I think I should,” Lipscomb said. “I've got a freshman who's been that successful and wants to work that hard to continue to be better. Her going to state is exponential for me. And it's something I don't take for granted.”

The state meet in round rock will be a learning experience for both Young and Lipscomb. Coach Lipscomb entered this year with no prior head coaching experience and base level knowledge of cross country.

Her ability to rely on her veteran runners and girls coordinator David Wooldridge has allowed her to grow into her first head coaching position.

“I grew this season as my runners grew,” Lipscomb said. “At the state meet I'll get to see what is and isn't helping my runners. I want to see how veteran coaches prepare their kids. I want to better so I can make my athletes better.”

Young will run Monday at 11:45 a.m. at Old Settler's Park in Round Rock.

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