"I could get my friends involved in the game, and I'd rather have an assist than a goal."
Achieving Goals by Providing Assists
Three-Time All-American Lacrosse Player Puts His Team First
To understand fully what makes Jimmy Young a special lacrosse player, it is helpful to understand his formidable achievements. He is Exeter’s only three-time All-American in lacrosse, earning that honor for the first time in his lower year, his first at the Academy. Young is also one of Exeter’s top scorers of all time, and he served as a co-captain during his senior year. Recruited by several Division I programs, he instead chose Division III Bowdoin College, because it felt like a “big Exeter.”
While these honors and successes are instructive, they don’t capture all of what makes Young an extraordinary player and teammate. It is necessary to know his preferred position and role on the field. As an attackman, he frequently was positioned at the X during his Exeter career, the one offensive player behind the opposing team’s goal. From that vantage point, Young could see the whole field and help set up the offensive attack. “You’re kind of the quarterback,” Young explains. The appeal? “From behind the net, you can feed the ball to your teammates,” he says. “I could get my friends involved in the game, and I’d rather have an assist than a goal.”
This selflessness did not go unnoticed by his coaches. Head boys varsity lacrosse coach Bill Glennon observes, “Young is very quick, can score goals, but his greatest asset is as a playmaker. Jimmy loves to pass the ball to his teammates.”
Quick to share the credit, Young points to his former coach for providing great leadership and “know[ing] how to get the most out of every single player.”
Young first began playing lacrosse in elementary school. A native of Exeter — his mother is PEA Admissions Officer Lee Young ’82; P’16 — he remembers being the ball boy at age 7 at Academy lacrosse games. He was initially a three-sport athlete, competing in football, in basketball and lacrosse at Exeter High School, which he attended for two years before enrolling at PEA. His mother, a three-sport athlete at both Exeter and Hamilton College, was his lacrosse coach into his early high school years, when he began to focus exclusively on that sport. His father, Jim Young, has been a stalwart on the sidelines, too.
2016 Varsity lacrosse seniors Ben Ferrucci, Andrew Bowman, Adam MacKay (manager), Jimmy Young and Kevin Gilbert
Beyond the athletic fields, Young’s interest was in biology, with a focus on environmental science, his likely major in college. He particularly enjoyed his Ecology class with Science Instructor Chris Matlack, whom Young calls “a really great guy.” Other favorites included Human Populations and Resource Consumption, and Ornithology with his adviser and mentor, Science Instructor Rich Aaronian. At the Honors Assembly held last spring, Young was awarded the Frank Pinchot Prize in Environmental Science.
Away from the field and the classroom, Young volunteers at various youth lacrosse camps. He says, “It’s cool to be on the other side, switching to coaching players.” And he worked for two summers at a vegetable farm in Stratham, picking vegetables, weeding, washing the crops — “dirty, hard work” — but with a schedule that allowed him to work out in the weight room during afternoons. “I don’t like sitting down, so I like to get outdoors,” he says. “I’m a nature guy.” Birding is also one of his favorite pastimes, inspired by Aaronian. “I’ve seen bald eagles down by the river!” he says.
With many athletic and academic accomplishments to his name, Young treasures one moment above all others. At Exeter, he was part of the squad that “lost big” on the lacrosse field at Andover in his lower year. The next year, playing at home, the team lost a heartbreaker in overtime to its archrival. In his senior year, once again at Andover, the Big Red prevailed in a 7-6 nail-biter. “We held them off,” Young says. “It was great!”
—Lynn Horowitch ’81; P’19
This article first appeared in fall 2016 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.