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PIKEVILLE — Individual records are steadily being established in the young Barton College men’s track and field program.
Standout Charles B. Aycock High middle-distance runner Deshaun Owens, a senior, is eager to join the assault.
During a signing ceremony Friday afternoon for a quartet of college-bound CBA athletes, Owens, the son of Angela and Charles Owens of Pikeville, announced he has signed a National Letter of Intent to receive athletic and academic scholarships to Barton College as a member of the track and field and cross-country programs.
The 6-foot, 180-pound Owens reported he also considered North Carolina Central University, Methodist and Lees-McRae. He narrowed his choices to Barton and NCCU.
“Barton made me the best offer,” Owens explained. “I want to be a lawyer and I found that Barton students do better on the bar exam.
“They are still building the (track and field and cross-country) programs; they are looking mid-range guys; and I liked both coaches.”
And Owens is all about breaking records.
He owns CBA record in the 800-meter (2 minutes, 2 seconds), 1,000 (2.47), 1,600 (4.37) and 3,200 (10:17) as well as precedents in the 5-kilometer run (17 minutes) and one-hour run (39 laps of 400 meters).
Earlier this week, Owens seized first-place finishes in the 800, 1,600, 3,200 and 4x800 relay in the Wayne County Championships. He possesses one 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference individual title and has qualified for the state 3-A meet in cross-country and indoor track. Owens had been proclaimed all-conference thrice in cross-country and is headed toward similar track and field recognition for the third time.
“He made an excellent (college) decision,” CBA boys track head coach Butch Bennett said of Owens. “He will fit in well. Deshaun has got a lot of potential and has made big strides every year. He’s pretty motivated. He’s a good student (4.47 weighted GPA), a great leader and a fine all-around person.”
Added assistant coach Scottie Rodgers: “He’s got a lot of determination.”
Owens expected to compete in wrestling at the high school level. But his freshman cross country venture proved promising and indoor track competition his freshman year produced unexpected success.
“I think I might keep on doing this,” Owens said of his reaction.
He estimates he runs 50-60 miles a week during cross country and at least 30 miles weekly during track season. Owens expects immediate improvement with the Bulldogs.
“They will push you even harder,” he reasoned. “The competition will be better and I will receive more training. It will be a part-time job; I expect to contribute.”
Owens mentions the 1,600 and 800 as his favorite events and expects to represent Barton in both. He considers the 1,600 more competitive.
He prefers running because “they are individual sports and I can be as good as I want to be.”
Owens, the CBA record-setter in the 800 this season, grasps his fortunate plight.
“I always wanted to run (in college) but I didn’t know that I would until now,” he remarked. “Receiving an athletic scholarship is the next step to something for me in the future.”