The reinging national champion in the decathlon is headed to SoCal.
Ayden Owens of North Allegheny chose the University of Southern California (USC) to continue his college career. Owens stars in the mulits, winning the decathlon at New Balance Nationals Outdoor in June with 7,009 points, beating second place by 530 points and setting a new meet record.
Before that, Owens won both the 110-meter hurdles (13.76) and the 300-meter hurdles (37.47) at the PIAA State Championships in May. Both times were personal bests. He also has a PR of 23-5.75 in the long jump, 8.08 in the 60-meter hurdles and 7.70 in the 55-meter hurdles.
Owens took some time to answer some questions for us on signing day where he talks about choosing USC, the recruiting process, and looks ahead to the upcoming track season. Check out what he had to say below.
Photo by Howard Anderson
What other schools were you considering?
I took official visits to Michigan, Stanford, and UVA.
What were some of the aspects of USC that attracted you to the school? Any one thing that put the Trojans over the top?
The friendly, motivated atmosphere of the team and the personalities of the coaches attracted me. It is a family oriented program and academics are the main focus. I plan to major in biomedical engineering, and USC seems like the perfect fit for me to chase my academic and athletic dreams. The comfortable and "at-home" feeling on campus is what set it apart, although it's 2,400 miles away.
What did you do on your official visit to USC?
On the first day I got the chance to talk with the USC athletic director and fellow Pittsburgher Lynn Swann. We also went bowling in the evening with some of the members of the USC team and recruits. On the second day, we visited the Manhattan Beach Pier, toured Los Angeles, and attended the USC football game against Utah. In the evening, we went to an amusement park called Knott's Scary Farm.
Did you enjoy the overall recruiting process?
I truly enjoyed the overall recruiting process. Was it stressful? Yes, but my parents and coaches did a stellar job of guiding me through it and not letting me get overwhelmed. I would do it again if I had the chance!
Do you plan on focusing on the decathlon at the collegiate level?
I do plan on focusing on the decathlon in college. Coach Blockburger is the multis coach at USC, and we have discussed me competing in other decathlon events including hurdles and long jump throughout the season in preparation for the few major decathlons I will do each year.
How has your training for the upcoming track season coming along?
My offseason training is going smoothly right now. I have found time to do more technical events like pole vault and javelin while maintaining my lifting and running schedule. My coaches and I have been focusing more on speed endurance and technical work to build a foundation for the upcoming season.
After such a strong junior season, how motivated are you to come back and win more state and national titles as a senior?
Each year I write down new goals for the season, and I try to forget about the old ones. This year I am more motivated than ever to chase state and national titles, and I have records in sight. I am thrilled to be able to compete in my last year of high school and hope to leave a lasting impression on high school track and field.