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NICK AGRO , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Canyon junior Alexis Turley-Young has the county's top time in the 100 hurdles (14.6).

Canyon's Turley-Young showing right state of mind

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Fear can be a powerful motivator.

It has been a catalyst for one of the county’s most versatile track and field athletes. Canyon’s Alexis Turley-Young has learned to use her fear – in this case, a fear of losing – to her advantage.

A decorated career has left the junior with a lot to be proud of. She got a taste of success by qualifying for the CIF-Southern Section Finals in her first two years of high school, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy her. She wants a chance to compete on the biggest stage – the state meet in Clovis.

“I’m seeing state in sight this year,” she said. “I do not want to have another rehash of being eliminated at CIF Finals.”

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Orange County Championships
Saturday, at Mission Viejo High
First running and field events, 8:30 a.m.; gates  open at 7 a.m. 
Ticket info: adults, $8; students (without ASB card), $5, students (with ASB card), $3; children (under the age of 10), $2.
Parking: Free in the Mission Viejo High parking lot.
Events schedule: Click here

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Turley-Young is determined to not be denied this time. She has committed to a year-round training regimen for the first time in her career, a sign that she recognizes that the pain of effort and discipline is far less than the pain of regret.

Her increased training has made her a serious threat to win the four events she will participate in today at the Orange County Championships. Turley-Young will compete in the 100 meters, 100 hurdles, long jump and triple jump at Mission Viejo High.

High expectations are a new challenge for Turley-Young, who in the past thrived in the role of the underdog. At last year’s O.C. Championships, she was contesting the triple jump for just the second time in her career when she stunned the field by taking the title.

“A big part of (the performance) was that the pressure was off. Not a lot was expected of me,” said Turley-Young, who was an add-on for the event that day. “I’m a really good underdog.”

Staying focused on her year-end goals will be the key to Turley-Young’s success today. She knows things will be different now that she isn’t carrying a chip on her shoulder.

“At this point, it’s honestly about me and getting out of my mind,” she said. “I just have to stay aggressive. That’s my main problem in having high expectations sometimes.”

Turley-Young takes pride in setting an example for her teammates. As an underclassman, she learned to lead with her performance, instead of her words, by competing with former Canyon standout Mia Hummel. The duo joined forces, along with Tai Crumsey and Sahar Sardar, to form one of the county’s best 400 relay teams in 2014.

Canyon coach Dreux Valenti spoke of Turley-Young’s drive as an invaluable asset to Canyon’s program.

“She works her tail off every single day,” he said. “It’s what you want because our young kids are coming into a program that is perennially one of the top teams in the county. They don’t know how to work hard yet.

“Alexis is so focused on working hard. She knows that if she lets up, there are several girls throughout the county and CIF that are working hard that will go right by her.”

Turley-Young holds the county’s top marks this year in the 100 hurdles (14.6 seconds), long jump (18 feet, 3¼ inches) and triple jump (38-9). Her 100 time of 12.15 is bested only by Cypress’ Hilary Ojinnaka (12.14).

Other story lines to follow today at the O.C. Championships:

• Two teams are hoping to extend their recent success at the event. The Mater Dei girls will be going for a record-tying fifth straight team title. Mission Viejo is the two-time defending champion on the boys side.

• Santa Margarita senior Kaitlyn Merritt is seeking a career sweep in the pole vault.

• The sprints have carried the Woodbridge boys to the county’s No. 1 ranking. Will Gabe Warner, Scott Patton and Alex Young be able to run past the competition today?


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