A big smile appears on the face of F&M wrestler and football player Josh Young ’18 as he describes one of his most memorable moments in competitive sports. A capacity crowd cheered as Young’s high school, Freedom High in Bethlehem, Pa., battled archrival Liberty High School in an intense dual wrestling meet in 2012.
Young wrestled in the first contest of the night, earning a 12-8 major decision over his Liberty opponent. Freedom built a big lead in the ensuing matches before Liberty gained momentum. It all came down to the final match of the night—one involving Young’s little brother, Jake.
“Jake won, and the crowd went wild,” says Young. “The newspaper interviewed us together. The headline the next day was: ‘Young Brothers Sandwich the Win for Freedom.’”
For Josh Young, the memory is vivid not because it included a victory. His smile broadens because it involved the thing he cherishes the most in this world: his family. When Young was 6, his father died in a car accident on his way to take care of Josh’s grandmother. Since then, he has assumed the role his dad once had, serving as a mentor for his two younger brothers.
“The thing I’m most proud of is my little brothers. I want to be a role model for them and show them the right way,” Young says. “That’s always how I’ve tried to live my life. My mom taught me that.”
Young says his mother spent countless hours driving her three boys to sports practices, games and other events. The Young brothers all wrestled and played football, among other sports. “She’s my hero, the most loving person I know,” Young says of his mother, who raised her boys with the help of Josh’s grandparents. “She’s poured her entire life into ours. And she’s always happy.”
Young enrolled at F&M after being recruited to play football by Head Coach John Troxell. He’s been a wide receiver and special teams player for the Diplomats for four years while appearing multiple times on the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll.
When he found out F&M had a Division I wrestling program, he was excited for the opportunity to participate in both sports. He earned four victories this season at 174 for Head Coach Mike Rogers, but a torn ACL this winter ended his campaign. He remains on the sidelines to support his teammates and plans to return to the mat next year for a final season.
Balancing two sports with two academic majors—philosophy and business, organizations & society—is challenging, but Young says his Christian faith gives him strength and discipline. He leads the Diplomat Christian Fellowship each week in an office in the Department of Athletics & Recreation and attends weekly services at either the Lancaster County Bible Church or the Worship Center.
“I’ll finish an assignment, read 50 pages, wrestle, then work out, and I try to do it all 100 percent. Having Jesus on my side helps me do that.”
His faith has helped kindle personal growth that he calls the most meaningful part of his college experience. His coaches have played a big role in that growth, too. “Coaches Troxell and Rogers have helped me develop character and integrity. Everyone I come in contact with leaves an impact on me—and I try to leave a positive impact on them.”