Owens will continue track career at Ohio Dominican University


John Henson

Harlan County High School senior Kassy Owens signed with Ohio Dominican University on Friday in ceremonies at HCHS. Owens is pictured with her parents, Joe and April Owens, and her grandfather, Howard Hensley, as well as HCHS athletic director Eugene Farmer, HCHS assistant principal Mike Hensley and HCHS track coach Ryan VItatoe.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

In search of a challenge both academically and athletically, Harlan County High School senior Kassy Owens did a little research before making Ohio Dominican University her college choice.
Owens, a track and basketball standout, chose the Division II school from Columbus, Ohio, after receiving interested from the Ohio Dominican coaching staff early in her senior season.
“I had never really heard of the school, but once the track coach got in contact with me, that’s when I looked it up,” Owens said. “I knew I wanted to go somewhere with more opportunities than Harlan, so that’s what really pushed me to go there. We visited in October and I loved the campus.”
Owens, who is.a valedictorian in her 2021 graduating class at HCHS with a 4.0 grade point average, said academics played a big role in her decision.
“I want to be a physician assistant, and they have the No. 1 ranked PA program in Ohio, so that really pushed me to go there,” Owens said. “I loved the coaching staff at LMU. I just think there were more opportunities in Columbus as a bigger city.”
Owens started her high school track career as a seventh-grader and qualified for state competition that spring in the high jump. She qualified for state as an eighth-grader in the high jump and 4 x 400 relay. She returned state competition in triple jump as a sophomore and hopes to qualify again as a senior after having her junior season wiped out by covid.
“I’m so happy for Kassy and this opportunity she’s earned,” said HCHS track coach Ryan Vitatoe. “She’s been such an important part of our program and was definitely a huge piece to our success. She’s always had a wonderful attitude, works hard and is willing to try any event that will help her team. She’s proficient in jumps, but there’s so many events she could compete in at the next level. I’m proud of her and know she will end up being just as important to that program as she has been to ours. I have no doubt.”
“We are very excited to add Kassy to our program,” added Ohio Dominican coach Connor Callahan. “I truly believe she can come in year one and make an impact on our team. She has a competitive nature to her coming in as a multi-sport athlete in high school. I’m excited to see Kassy progress here at Ohio Dominican. It’s exciting to have an out-of-state student athlete come in and help grow our program.”
Also a two-year starter in basketball at HCHS, Owens averaged 6.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game as a junior and 5.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game as a senior as the Lady Bears finished second in the 52nd District each of the past two years after winning the district the previous four seasons. Owens was a reserve as a freshman on the 2018 team that won the school’s first girls regional basketball title. Owens said she may consider trying basketball in college at some point but was going to focus on track as a freshman.