Jamaica’s Owayne Owens, a sophomore at the University of Virginia (UVA), won the top honors in the triple jump event at the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Indoor Track & Field Championships. Owens, originally from Montego Bay in Jamaica won the fourth triple jump title for UVA in the past five years. In the 2020 season, Owens won a silver medal, but his jump of 16.48 meters (54 feet, 1 inch) brought him the gold at the recent competition and the 2021 championship. He also earned All-ACC honors with this jump.
Owens fouled on his first attempt, but improved on each of his next three jumps to move into the lead. He jumped last in the finals and had already won the title, but still attained his best result on the sixth and final run.
In addition to being a champion triple jumper, Owens is working toward a Master’s degree at UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. When he asked assistant coach Mario Wilson, who works with the UVA Cavaliers jumpers and decathletes, for a letter of recommendation to the Master’s program, Wilson said that he may have written too much because “I couldn’t stop writing about him.” Coach Wilson has been at UVA for almost nine years and said that Owens is currently the “bona fide leader of our team, and it’s much greater than his performance.” Wilson added that Owens has been very engaged in the leadership group from the start and that there is not one person on the UVA team who does not know who he is or who does not appreciate him. Wilson also said Owens is committed to making the most of the opportunities presented to him and does not want to let down those who support him.
Born and raised in Montego Bay, Owens has four sisters and a brother. At UVA, he is majoring in sociology and minoring in social entrepreneurship. He is hoping to begin the two-year Master’s program at the Batten School in 2021-2022. He is interested in attending Batten because he wants to help make positive changes in society. He said he has always wanted to help people and believes that if he can study the principles and learn to navigate and adjust them to benefit society overall, that is what he wants to do.