Senior Sendoff: Madison Central's Benjamin Owens

LINK: Senior Sendoff Submission Survey

In this week's Milesplit Mississippi Senior Sendoff, we shine a spotlight on Benjamin Owens, an exceptional graduate from Madison Central HS. Owens is set to continue his academic and athletic journey at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

At William Carey, Owens will showcase his skills in both Cross Country and Track and Field. As a versatile distance runner, he excels in various events ranging from the 400 to 5,000 meters.

Owens has chosen to pursue a double major in Business Management and Criminal Justice. A Business Management major equips students with the skills needed to lead and manage businesses effectively, while a Criminal Justice major focuses on the study of the legal system, crime, law enforcement, and related fields. Graduates in these disciplines often find opportunities in business administration, entrepreneurship, law enforcement agencies, legal professions, and more.

With impressive lifetime bests of 1:57.8 in the 800m, 4:26.0 in the 1600m, and 15:48.2 in the 5K cross country race, Owens has consistently demonstrated his prowess as a distance runner. His achievements include a sixth-place finish at the 2022 MHSAA 6A Cross Country Championships and a notable seventh-place finish at the 2022 All-Mississippi Cross Country Championships, solidifying his position among the top distance runners in the state.

Although an unfortunate hamstring injury hindered his performance in the outdoor track season of 2023, Owens had promising prospects before the setback. Nonetheless, his talent and dedication will undoubtedly make him a valuable addition to the Crusaders program at William Carey University.

Owens will join a team of talented Mississippians such as Gavin Wheat, Miguel Bankston, Hannah Mitchell, and many others at William Carey. The men's team recently competed at the 2022 NAIA Cross Country Championships and secured a commendable 48th place at the 2023 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Congratulations to Benjamin Owens on his exceptional high school career, and we eagerly anticipate his future achievements as he represents the Crusaders on the Cross Country course, as well as the track. 

**Interview below!**

Q: Explain your 'track and field journey'... (How did you get into running, how did your senior season go, and how did you get connected with the college that you are going to?)

A: I started in 2nd grade. I ran the MSE mile for P.E. all the time, and sometimes during recess I would ask to run laps. My P.E. teacher told my parents a running club, and signed me up for Peak Performance XC/track club that season. My senior season went really well. Even if it ended shortly due to injury. My teammates and I broke many school records, and I broke a barrier I thought I never would have broken. Like sub 16 in the 5k. I didn't know much about William Carey at that time, but they came to our school and we had a meeting. They had the best impression out of any of the coaches I've talked too.

Q: What is your most memorable meet/race and why?

A: Breaking sub 10 in the 3200. Although I only did it once, I broke it my sophomore year. I would say that it was an eye opener. First big race really. I went in the race with a 10:27 pr I believe, and ran 9:56. My coach didn't even believe me when I told him I broke sub 10. It was a confidence booster, I learned I could run with the big dogs that year. Which helped me prep for my junior/senior year.

Q: Out of all your high school achievements, which one means the most to you and why?

A: Breaking sub 16 in the 5k. Mainly because I'm more of a track guy, and my XC record was pretty bad. I would have 2 good races and then get injured for the rest of the season. But breaking sub 16, it was a shocker. I was only hoping to get mid 16's that year, however I had a breakout season. It showed that anything was possible with the right mindset and smart training.

Q: If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

A: I would take strength training more serious. So I wouldn't get injured as much. I would also spend more time with the team.

Q: Who is somebody that you look up to/someone that helped you along your journey to get you where you are today?

A: Philip Wright

Q: What will you miss the most?

A: The memories made on the travel trips with the team, and seeing everyone pr and break barriers of their own.

Q: What piece of advice would you give to the younger athletes that are just getting started on their journey?

A: Running is not just an individual sport, it's also a team sport. Do your part as an individual athlete, while also being a team player. Take training serious, be focus, be consistent and have a positive mindset. But also, make time to make memories, have fun and be with your team.