Wilbur Owen (2010)
Conway High School and University of Central Arkansas (formerly ASTC)
At Conway HS he set state records in the 180 yard low hurdles and the 220 yard dash, ran on three state record setting relay teams, won the 100 yard dash and was named the Outstanding Performer as Conway won the 1960 AA State title. As a senior he was awarded the Frank E. Robins Award as the outstanding athlete at Conway High.
Following his successful senior year at Conway HS, Owen was recruited by Coach Raymond Bright to run track for Arkansas State Teacher’s College. Fall 1960, Wilbur, with his older brother Don, played a leading role as ASTC won four successive AIC track championships. Owen took part in three NAIA National Meets where he placed second in the 440 yard intermediate hurdles and ran on the 3rd place 440 relay team.
As a freshman he won the 220-yard dash and ran on record-setting 440 and 880 yard relays as ASTC won the AIC Championship in 1961.
As a sophomore he broke a 33-year old record in the 220 hurdles, placed 2nd in the 100 yard dash, and anchored a record-setting mile relay team as ASTC won the AIC Championship again in 1962.
In his junior year he won the 100, 220, and 440 dashes and ran on the winning 440-yard relay team while winning the High Point Award as ASTC won the AIC title the third straight year.
As a senior, Wilbur won the 100-yard dash in 9.9 seconds, broke his own record in the 220-yard low hurdles and tied the AIC record in the 220-yard dash as ASTC again won the AIC Championship. He won his second AIC High Point Award at this meet.
Throughout his track career, Wilbur ran multiple races in each meet. They included the 100, 220, and 440-yard dashes, the 220 low hurdles, and anchoring the 440, 880 yard and mile relays. In a typical meet he could be counted on to add from 12 to 16 points to the team total. He was a dominant force in the development of AIC track during the early 1960’s, an unselfish athlete with a “team-first” attitude.
During his four years at ASTC, Wilbur won 12 first place finishes in the AIC Conference Meets. He also placed in 6 events in the NAIA National Meets; was the ASTC Track High Point Winner in all 4 years of his college career and the AIC High Point Winner in 1963 and 1964.
In 1964 Owen was the Arkansas nominee for the Sullivan Award as the state’s Outstanding AAU Athlete.
Following graduation in 1964, Wilbur taught in high schools in Memphis, TN, and Stuttgart, AR. After two years of teaching he entered graduate school at the University of Arkansas receiving an MS in 1970 and a PhD in 1973. He has been a member of the faculty of UCA since 1973 where he holds the rank of Professor of Biology and is now retired.
Highlights 1960 Conway High School – Senior AA State Meet:
Conway High School – Junior