Randolph Wrestling Community Fondly Recalls Career Of Ex-Cardinal Great

From the left, Bill Young of Randolph, Terry Green of Jamestown, PJ Wendel of Southwestern and Tom Meyers of Southwestern pose for a photo after the Section VI wrestling championships in 1988. P-J file photo

Bill Young passed away last Monday at 48, but his memory lives on vividly in the minds of those in Randolph’s wrestling community.

A 1988 graduate of Randolph Central School, Young was the first Cardinal to represent his school at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association wrestling tournament, compiling a record of 156-26-1, before heading to SUNY Delhi and eventually the NCAA Division II Nationals, where he defaulted in the finals while leading, due to injury.

“When I was at Southwestern High School he was a couple of years older than me. He was always one of those kids that you paid attention to because he was a special wrestler. He wrestled hard every time he went out on the mat,” recalled current Randolph coach Todd Conley. “When you thought of Randolph wrestling, you thought of Bill Young.

“You associate certain wrestlers with certain teams. If you thought of Randolph wrestling in my era, you thought of Bill Young. He was a very identifying person with that sport at our school for a long time. I still will mention him to this day.”

Conley noted that Young is someone his wrestlers can look up to.

“This is a kid that was fearless, a kid who gave everything that he had,” Conley noted. “He won the section tournament when there was no big and small school (division). He is Randolph’s only section champion.”

Growing up in the small town of Saegertown, Pa., Young and his family moved to Randolph in the early 1980s, where it did not take long for wrestling coach Doug Seamans to realize his potential on the mat.

An English teacher from 1970-2008, and wrestling coach from 1973-1988 for the Cardinals, Seamans still remembers the first impression that Young left on him.

“The first time he wrestled, he started in eighth grade, and I knew he had unbelievable potential,” recalled Seamans. “The first tournament he was in in Dunkirk, he was voted as the most outstanding wrestler there in his first year. He would wrestle stronger kids and use their strength against them. He was very balanced and fluid in motion. He was always thinking, a real strategist. He would never give up, and he was never pinned ever that I remember.”

Of the memories that Seamans has of Young, one that continues to stick in his mind was the 1988 postseason, which did not begin on the best note.

“It was the Section VI qualifying tournament, Bill was 30-0 at 132 and dropped down to 126,” said Seamans.

A combination of factors, including the drop in weight, meant that Young was defeated in qualifying, but rather than hang his head low, Young headed back to the wrestling room, training as much as he could with some of Falconer’s best grapplers on his weaknesses.

“A lot of wrestlers would have got down and not had the willpower to go on from that point,” Seamans said. “He spent the whole next week wrestling at Falconer to work on takedowns. … Bill needed a little more practice there. That actually helped him go to the state tournament.”

Young would go on to compete at the state tournament where he would lose a close 2-1 decision to the eventual state champion.

In addition to his obvious talent on the mat, Seamans’ memory of Young’s personality was just as glowing.

“He had a good sense of humor, a great laugh and smile,” he said. “He had a lot of friends, but he wasn’t a bragging type of person. He was pretty to himself a lot of times, but he would focus on the mat. It was nice to have him on the team and as a student as well.”

As Conley heads into his own postseason on the mat this year, he is privileged to have an example like Young to hold up to his wrestlers of today.

“I’m happy as a coach that I am a successor to those guys,” Conley said, speaking of Young and Seamans. “It makes me proud to know I followed in the footsteps of Doug Seamans and I can get my wrestlers to aspire to be a Bill Young. Bill Young is someone who has been unmatched to this point at our school.”