Michelle Young, a former Minnesota high school basketball star, has immediately captured Matt James' attention on ABC's "The Bachelor."
Young was among five late arrivals who surprised James and shook up the reality TV show during Monday night's episode.
Young was an All-State basketball player from Woodbury before going on to star at Bradley University in Chicago. According to her show profile, she's living in Edina and teaching, though it's unclear where exactly she's employed. She previously worked at Normandale Hills Elementary in Bloomington before moving on to a different district, a school spokesperson told BMTN.
The 27-year-old quickly became a frontrunner for James' heart, immediately receiving an invitation for a one-on-one date with James. That didn't sit well with the 20-plus other contestants who had been on the show for three weeks, including Anna Redman, the Owatonna, Minnesota, native who now lives in Chicago.
Young and James seemed to hit it off right away, mixing in smooches while talking about the importance of educating children (they both want three children of their own someday), while enjoying zip-lining together and riding in a hot air balloon.
“There’s something about her presence that kind of puts me at ease,” James said, noting that Young has the kind of "depth" that he's looking for.
Young also talked about the challenges of being a teacher during a pandemic and the civil unrest that followed George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, saying it "hit close to home."
"It's been a really difficult year for my students, especially my students of color and wanting to make sure that I can be there for them," Young said.
Young averaged 22.1 points per game as a senior at Woodbury High School, where she set the school's single-season scoring record and was named an Associated Press All-State selection in 2011. She was also named to the Star Tribune's All-Metro First Team, was a finalist for Minnesota's Miss Basketball award and was a McDonald's All-America nominee.
Here's what the Star Tribune wrote about her in 2011:
"Perhaps the fastest player on the first team, her speed creates matchup problems. Scored in double figures in all 28 games, averaging 22.1 points per game with a high of 36 (twice, against Roseville and Forest Lake). Her improved play-making skills were a big reason why the Royals won 20 games."
At Bradley University she led the team in scoring her senior season and finished 13th in scoring (1,062 points) in school history while also receiving numerous academic awards while majoring in Elementary Education.
Both Young and Redman received a rose in episode 4, so both Minnesota natives will be back for episode 5 next Monday night on ABC.