Benalla Ensign

Star on rise

By Meg Saultry

Benalla teen Mitch Young is one of the best freestyle scooter riders in Australia.

In April of this year, Young travelled to Brisbane to compete in the National titles, the biggest scooter competition in Australia.

Freestyle scootering sees competitors use scooters to perform tricks, in a similar manner to a mix of BMXing and skateboarding.

Having last year competed in the open category and placing second, Young made the jump to the Pro category this year, where he competed against the best of the best in Australia.

In a pleasing result, the 18-year-old ranked 30th in a field of more than 40 scooter riders.

Placing in the top 14 would see Young rank in the top 50 in the world, where he could then travel to Barcelona to compete on the world stage.

Already looking ahead to next year’s National competition in Melbourne, Young said he would need to go big or go home if he was to push up the rankings.

‘‘This year I did the main runs I usually do,’’ Young said.

‘‘In this division I’ve got to step it up and get more creative.’’

In recent years, the former P-12 College student has had great success at state and national levels, having won the Victorian title before ranking second nationally in the open category in Sydney last year.

And to help with the costs of competing at Nationals, Young was named as the latest Benalla Young Sports Person Trust recipient where he received $1000 towards the cost of competing.

Bruce Walker of the Rotary Club of Benalla (which has donated $1500 to the trust in the past 12 months) said the trust played an important role in fostering Benalla’s younger sporting talent.

‘‘Anything you can do to get the young people in Benalla engaged in sports is a good thing,’’ Mr Walker said.

‘‘It’s a productive use of young people’s time, to achieve their goals on the sporting field.

‘‘And it can flow into all other areas of their lives.’’

While freestyle scooter rider may seem a unique choice of sport, Young chose to take up the skill when he saw fellow local Brendan Smith (who also competed on the national stage) down at the local skate park and wanted to follow suit.

Self-taught on the skate park, Young said if he saw someone better than him he would ask for help to perfect a trick.

Add in Youtube videos and tutorials and Young is now landing complicated tricks on the skate park, with practice sessions ranging from two to five times a week.

And while a professional career is the ultimate dream for Young, he said he would keep working away on his skills ahead of another go at Nationals next year.