Gustavus Adolphus track and field athlete Josh Owen’s finished ninth after clearing a height of 15’ 9.25” on the opening day of the 2012 Indoor Track and Field Championships being held at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa on March 9-10. Owens was Gustavus’ lone representative at this season’s NCAA Championships.
Going into the national meet, Owens was ranked ninth in the pole vault with a qualifying height of 16’ 4.75”. Winning the event was North Central College’s Josh Winder with a mark of 16’ 11”. Winder’s teammate John Wood placed second (16’ 7.25”), while UW-Stout’s Daniel Drewek matched Wood’s mark to also finish runner-up.
“The experience of being around all these awesome vaulters at nationals was great. Going into the meet, I was definitely a lot more nervous than I thought I was going to be. But I embraced that, remembered to have fun, did what I knew how to do, and had a couple of nice jumps,” said Josh Owens.
Head Coach Dale Bahr was pleased with the poise showed by his junior pole vaulter.
“Going into his first NCAA meet, Josh was pretty relaxed and he seemed to understand the magnitude of it. In the morning you could tell he was a little bit on edge and a little bit nervous, but that’s ok for your first time at a meet like this,” said coach Bahr.
“After missing his first two attempts, he buckled down and knew what he needed to do, making the height on his third try. After that you could tell he was settled down and from that point it became just a regular meet.”
Owens is the first Gustavus athlete to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the pole vault.
“I didn’t finish exactly where I wanted going in, but I had a good time and took a lot from the meet. I have this experience now and hopefully I can carry that into the outdoor season and make a strong push there,” continued Owens.
Coach Bahr’s men’s and women’s teams will now gear up for the start of the outdoor season.
Bahr explained, “Anytime you have an athlete qualify for nationals it’s a pretty big deal for the program and we’re extremely proud of Josh. It’s now time for outdoors and I feel that our men’s and women’s teams are just starting to get warmed up for a strong push later this spring.”
Owens became Gustavus’ first MIAC Champion in the pole vault champion since Drew Hood took gold in 2008. The junior broke both the school and MIAC pole vault records on the way to this year’s NCAA Championships.
The Gustavus track and field teams will now gear up for the outdoor season beginning with the Carleton Invite on April 6th in Northfield, Minn.