Owen States had a difficult scheduling choice to make this summer: experience running camp with his team, the Northern Nighthawks, or explore one of the service academies. In the end, he says, "I knew I needed to go [to the service academy camp] in order to really understand what these unique schools are like since it is such a major commitment."
He reveals, "it was really cool to get a feel for life at an Academy. I got to attend classes and experience the rigorous schedule. Probably the best part was military day where we did military movement courses, learned to throw grenades, and shoot machine guns. Overall it was unlike anything I had ever done before and I became obsessed with the idea of attending either West Point or the Air Force Academy that are my co-favorites."
In a previous summer, he trained with the Northern squad at a cross country camp in Ohio. He remembers, "while there we met a counselor who was a refugee from the Congo. He told us stories about his village and it was really inspiring to meet a guy who went through a lot and worked to help the children back home. Also, during the week we met Drew Hunter and talked to him for awhile. It was awesome to meet such a big distance runner at a random camp in Ohio. For me, it was a cool opportunity to be around these mentally tough guys and I learned a lot from the experience."
States is no stranger to commitment. His long-time running coach says, "Owen has accepted his senior leadership role and has really stepped it up this summer. He knows that he is now one of the senior leaders that many of the underclassmen look towards for guidance. It may be that he has his sights set on West Point and that leadership quality is now flourishing."
Coach Thanh Ngo continues, "Owen's biggest strengths are his perseverance and great attitude. Being the #2 runner on a team behind a very strong front man can be a gift and a curse, but Owen loves the challenge of being the one who can hang with David [Melville] and even push him in workouts. Owen has hit some rough patches with injuries in each of his first 3 years, but he never gave up and kept coming back to help his team in whatever way that he could." States says he "would love to compete in college if the opportunity presents itself."
States lists the WakeMed Course in Cary as his all-time favorite. He explains, "the competition is always fast and the course is great for new PRs." During his career he has improved at WakeMed from 17:18, a frosh effort, to 16:31 during last year's campaign. In track season he prefers the 1600 to the 3200. He earned a 4:31 PR in the shorter distance during his junior season. Ngo details States racing style as "grit, determination, and heart. He puts everything into each race and you can just see it emanating from him during the race."
States trains and races in New Balance socks and shoes. His black socks coordinate with his Nighthawk's purple and gray singlet. Although he claims to have no pre-race rituals, he always tries to "say a quick prayer before a race and wish all the competitors near me good luck before the gun goes off."
Wishing others luck converts into team leadership at practice. Whether training on his favorite Bur-Mil trails or around the school grounds, States describes himself as "the guy who always tries to be at practice. I try to get to know all the guys on the team, especially the incoming freshman each year."