Homeschooled junior plays key role on state-qualifying cross country team


Amy Young

Tesfaye Young running at the Boardman regional cross country championship

Heatwaves rise off of Schnieder 8 miles into a 9-mile workout. It’s June 11, and Tesfaye Young is already gearing up for the fall cross country season with his team. Step after step, Young and his pack of runners reel in the remaining asphalt. 

It is this hard work that pushes Tesfaye Young towards greatness. A home-schooled junior this year, Young has been a consistent second man for the boys cross country team.

Moving here from Minnesota started his career as a Golden Eagle two years ago, but his career in running started even before that.

“I lived in Minnesota for two years, and the closest soccer program was like an hour away. I decided to try track instead,” Young said. 

Here, Young got his start. His love for track slowly developed into Cross Country participation. Now, Young has become a dependable leader on the team’s  11th state-finishing team. 

Among many other notable finishes at the State Championships, Young came across the line at a blistering 15:57 for the 5k distance, placing him 36th in the state this year. 

Lots of work led to this achievement prior to even running in Ohio. Young recalls his career at his old school, Perham High School, and how it shaped him as an athlete.

“When I started, I just showed up and ran,” Young said. “The older I get the more I try to get educated in the sport; knowing the courses and the guys I’ll be running against. My first year I was more of a 6th or 7th guy. The last year before I moved I was more of a third guy. I had more of a job to do and I was counted on more.”

This responsibility certainly prepared him for his role at GlenOak. Now the second man on GlenOak’s team, Young is a key factor in GlenOak’s success in competition. Following the lead of GlenOak’s frontman Tommy Rice, Young understands the role of every runner in a successful team. 

“I never want me to be the reason we do bad. Each runner has their job. Do your job, and just try to run your best. I always try to leave it all out there on the course,” Young said.

Young also attributes much of his running success to a healthy lifestyle. Being a student of the sport, he recognizes the weight of his day-to-day activities on his running career.

“I really try to focus on the eating, the hydration, and the rest,” Young said. “Homeschooling definitely plays a good role. I can eat whenever I want, I can fill up my water bottle whenever I want. I don’t have to rely on the school food.”

Rice’s leadership is a factor for the entirety of the team’s running. Young especially is impacted by Rice in performance and practice. Especially in a changing team dynamic, having a consistent first runner has had its impact on Young. 

“Training with Tommy pushes me a lot. Every practice he pushes us. Tommy is just an all-around good guy, he helps us a lot,” Young said.

Apart from running, there is a lot that Young occupies himself with outside of school. Besides being a runner, Young is a big reader, movie fan and likes to go out with his friends.

“I just read and watched Dune. I watch a movie almost every night. I also play chess a lot, not many people know about that,” Young said. “I like to play other sports too, not just running. I go to the park to play volleyball and spike ball.”

Young also shares that he has been excited to involve himself in activities at GlenOak outside of running. Beyond just pursuing running at GlenOak, Young is also just looking for the high school experience. 

“Those things (prom, football games) help, I like to be a part of it. I hear about most of it from my running teammates. It helps to get to know the school better. I go to the football games, I like to get that experience,” Young said.

Young is looking forward to running with his teammates this spring for the track season.