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Moving Forward
After a stellar prep career, Young is ready to play college ball
Former Turlock High water polo star Zac Young developed his offensive skills during his prep career to become a complete player. Here, he looks to shoot. - photo by Journal file photo
During his early days on the Turlock High water polo team, Zac Young had the mentality not a lot of others around him carried, one coach said. He was all about defense. Not about shooting and attacking all the time, taking attention away from his teammates.
And maybe that’s why he’s so good today.
Young’s high school career is over, as he’s getting ready to play Division I competition at UC Davis. He’s taking with him a lot of experience, including playing on his club team, Modesto Stanislaus, and stints with the U.S. Developmental Zone 8 team, which is one step away from the national team in his age group.
“While playing club polo I am going to be getting in shape for college and getting ready to move in,” said Young.
He eventually developed into an all-around player, as his offensive prowess became apparent in his final two seasons as a Bulldog — especially in 2008, when he scored 89 goals to go along with 90 steals to lead the team to a share of the Central California Conference championship.
But life after high school hasn’t gotten any slower, thanks to all his commitments. He trains with his club team Mondays through Thursdays with practices twice each day, while the squad tries to qualify for the Junior Olympic tournament. He’s also trying to get himself situated at UC Davis, where his older sister Lauren also plays water polo for the Aggies.
He already knows who his roommate is, as Young met goalie Tony Dito of St. Francis High.
He will start training for UC Davis in mid-August.
Young is ready for the process. He’s also been known for his work ethic, the type that likes to stay in the pool to work on his skills as long as he can. Turlock High coach Steve Feaver remembers seeing Young as a freshman and thinking how thin he was, but recognizing the kid liked to work hard. Young eventually became a leader.
“It was kind of interesting to watch him grow,” Feaver said. “He was a tiny little kid. It’s been really impressive to see him grow. He has also grown as a leader in the pool, really lead by example. He would always encourage and challenge his teammates the best he could.”
Young’s club coach, Drew Clute, has also noticed that leadership, as well as watching him improve his skills in the pool. Clute said at first Young had a defense-first mentality. And then over time, he developed into an offensive threat.
“You could be a solid defensive player, but if you can’t operate in an offense, you won’t amount to anything,” Clute said. “He’s always been a solid defensive player. You can score six goals a game, but if you give up six goals a game, you’re not worth anything. Over the last three years, he has improved his offensive skills to become an offensive threat.
“He’s a complete player.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.