BAY CITY — Rueben Owens didn't rest on his laurels a day after announcing his commitment to the University of Texas.
Owens wasn’t resting at all as he joined his El Campo teammates at Joe Rogers Blackcat Relays on Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Owens won the 100-meter dash in a time of 11.30 seconds, and ran a leg on the winning 400 relay (43.59) and 800 relay (1:33.18) that finished second.
“I like running track,” Owens said. “It helps with your speed. It helps with your speed a lot.”
Owens’ speed, moves and toughness on the football field are what helped him become one of the top-ranked running backs of his sophomore class and attract 25 Division I offers.
He decided to make his commitment to the Longhorns even though he has two more seasons to play for the Ricebirds.
“I just wanted to find a home,” Owens said. “I like Texas because it’s close and my parents can come to my home games.”
Owens said a big part of his decision was the result of the relationship he developed with Texas running backs coach Stan Drayton.
“UT has been in touch with me since I was a freshman and they offered me face to face,” Owens said. “Coach Drayton has shown me a lot of love since I was young.”
Owens has spoken with Texas’ new head coach Steve Sarkisian about his role in the offense.
“I talked to Coach Sarkisian and he told me how he was going to use me,” Owens said. “He told me how I was a good back and so explosive that he would know how to work with me.”
El Campo also went through a head coaching change. Wayne Condra retired and was replaced by Chad Worrell, who coached at Brock last season.
“I love them,” Owens said of the new coaches. “They really push us hard. They want us to be great this year. They want us to be all gas and no brakes.”
Owens expects the Ricebirds to continue to be first and foremost a running team.
“I don’t think it will be that much different,” he said. “I think it’s going to have different pieces to it.”
Owens rushed for 1,511 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, and averaged over 10 yards per carry, while earning honorable mention on the all-state team.
“My freshman year was all right,” he said. “It wasn’t all that. My sophomore year I really exploded. It just felt like it was easy to me.”
Owens’ attempts were limited because he shared the ball with Johntre Davis, a second-team all-state fullback, and other backs.
“I’m perfectly fine with that,” he insisted. “It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Owens was disappointed with El Campo being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
He plans to attend camps and play 7-on-7 during the summer to prepare for his junior season.
“That’s my goal,” Owens said. “I want to have at least one state championship.”
On the track
Columbia and Needville won the boys and girls team titles, respectively.
El Campo’s Hendrick Hundl won the boys 110 and 300 hurdles.
Other El Campo boys winners were Kerry North in the shot put and Charles Shorter in the long jump.
Wharton’s Kameron Mitchell won the 800, and Bay City’s Brice Turner won the 200.
Alyssa Hudgins in the shot put, Alexus Abbott in the long jump and Emilee Schneider in the 3,200 captured girls wins for Van Vleck.
Bay City’s Haley Eidlebach won the pole vault and Iris Dewitt won the discus.
El Campo’s Jackesha Nichols won the triple jump, and the El Campo 400 relay team finished first.