Josh Owens is probably best known on campus for his athletic talent. He has been pole vaulting for eight years, most recently placing fourth at Nationals for Division III Indoor Track and Field. He has also been the MIAC champion in pole vaulting for two years. He doesn’t let his talents go to his head, though.
“I’m always learning,” he said. “It’s a sport that not a lot of people know about. There’s technique to it, you’re running as fast as you can so you can go 17 or 18 feet in the air.”
Josh knows the commitment it takes to be a great athlete.
“There’s set practices, but it’s so much more than that, there’s lifting, watching videos from previous meets, watching YouTube videos of other pole vaulters to learn what you could do better, just the preparation, making sure you’re in shape,” he said.
“I always think about pole vaulting. I dream about pole vaulting. It’s always a part of my life and affects every part of my life,” Josh said.
He is also thankful for the relationships he has gained through the track team.
“Our pole vault group is really close, and also the track team in general. Having the support of your team when you’re competing is so valuable. The camaraderie of a team that is made of individuals is great,” he said.
Senior Ally Voss appreciates Josh’s commitment to the track team.
“The passion that Josh shows for pole vaulting and the energy that he brings to practice is absolutely unparalleled. He is an inspiration for his teammates and his presence is always a day brightener. There is simply nothing like watching him dancing at the end of the runway just before skying 16 foot bars,” Voss said.
This passion for interpersonal relationships doesn’t go unnoticed on campus. Josh has been a Peer Assistant (PA) for two years. Josh decided to become a PA after seeing the effect they have on campus.
“My freshman and sophomore year there were some peer assistants that really helped me, and I wanted to take my experiences and help others,” he said.
“He has the most welcoming personality, an infectious smile, an ability to make everyone feel important, and a desire to learn and educate others: all of which make him an excellent PA,” Senior Katelyn Warburton said.
The experience of being a Peer Assistant hasn’t just helped Josh form connections at Gustavus, however. It has also helped him figure out what he wants to do after graduation.
“I want to go to physician’s assistant school. My experience as a Peer Assistant makes me want to go into college health, working with college students in a similar way as I did as a PA,” he said. “I shadowed with a physician’s assistant and saw how much he loved it, and saw the different things you can do with it.”
He hopes that becoming a physician’s assistant will leave more time for family than other health professions might allow. Medicine was always Josh’s ultimate goal, “I’ve always been interested in medicine, I’ve always been interested in the human body, it seemed like the natural path,” he said.
While he is still on campus for the next few months, his involvement will continue to make an impresssion upon fellow Gusties.
“There is nothing that Josh Owens has achieved that he hasn’t thoughtfully prepared himself for. His achievements are many and they speak to his dedication as an athlete, a peer, and a friend. Josh is incredibly selfless, evident in his desire to help other before himself and in him earning the Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout,” Senior Blake Gust said.
“Josh is amazingly involved on campus. He juggles being a team captain, a PA and an Eppie, yet he will still make time for his friends anytime they need a pick me up. Plus, the fact that he does it all with a huge smile on his face is proof enough for me that he just may be the energizer bunny, Gustie style,” Voss said.
“I am proud to call Josh Owens my fraternity brother and there are few on the Gustavus campus who, in my mind, better embody the values of this college,” Gust said.
“The concept of having fun with everything you do, finding joy in everything that you do. If you do that you’re going to do everything so much better,” Josh said.