Brandon Young signs with Utahby Andy Morales on Nov. 16, 2011, under Sports
Douglas swimmer Brandon Young is the latest athlete from Southern Arizona to be signed away by the University of Utah.
Young won three state championships in the 100 breaststroke and a title in the 200 medley while at Douglas. That’s quite an accomplishment for a swimmer not based in Phoenix, Scottsdale or Tucson.
“It means a whole lot for a school that usually doesn’t win a lot,” said Young. “It was a good way to put my school on the map.”
Utah issued a full-ride plus living expenses to Young, making his choice between Arizona, LSU and Utah all that much easier. He also went with the coaching staff that he felt worked best for him.
“I felt like my coach at Utah had really good plans for me,” explained Young. “It was all pretty solid.”
Like most kids, Young swam on youth teams that weren’t really meant to be anything serious and he also played baseball. As luck would have it, he broke his collar bone and his doctor recommended swimming as an exercise and that’s when swimming really took off for Young.
Being a swim star at Douglas didn’t start out too smoothly but after he proved himself his friends began to understand just how good he was.
“After the first one everyone started to notice,” said Young. “After I won the second one is when everyone told me I was good.”
Young won two more his senior year and is now working out with Ford Aquatics to prepare him for an important meet in Long Beach coming up in January and nationals in the spring.
He will also be headed to the Olympic Trials in June before heading to Utah.
Utah made a big splash when they entered the PAC-12 by singing three state champions from Southern Arizona last year. By signing Young, the school has once again taken one of our own from our backyard.
CDO golfer Gentry Hicks won a state championship, was named golfer of the year and then signed with Utah. Sabino’s LeighAnne Oliver was the swimmer of the year and champion and she headed up north also.
Amphi’s Kassandra Lopez was a back-to-back Arizona champion and was also gobbled up by Utah. (Gymnastics is not a AIA recognized sport but Lopez won at the highest level of club competition).
Southern Arizona also has a presence on the baseball team where the head coach, an assistant and player have strong Tucson ties.
Utah/Southern Arizona Connection
Brandon Young: Douglas, swim (2012)
Gentry Hicks: CDO, Golf (2011)
LeighAnne Oliver: Sabino, Swim (2011)
Kassandra Lopez: Amphi, Gymnastics (2011)
Head Baseball Coach Bill Kinneberg: Arizona (1980)
Assistant Baseball Coach Mike Crawford: Salpointe/Arizona (1996)
Shaun Cooper: Catalina (Pima), Baseball (2008)