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June 14, 2023

Owens finds enjoyment in unique experience as recreation major at Northwest

Amber Owens’ time at Northwest Missouri State University can most definitely be characterized as a success – but she admits her football-throwing skills need some improvement.

As a recreation major, Owens had some practice with students at Northwest’s Horace Mann Laboratory School. She spent a lot of time at Horace Mann students as part of an internship this spring with health and physical education instructor Gina McNeese. 

“I can throw, but I can’t throw far distances,” Owens said with a laugh. “A lot of them can throw really well, better than me. Or, they’ll be trying to catch footballs, and I was showing a demonstration of trying to catch a football. I dropped it. I said, ‘I’m not good at catching footballs.’ I'm not really a thrower or catcher but a runner.”

Nonetheless, Owens, who hails from Lincoln, England, appreciates learning different approaches to physical education in the United States.

“(In the United States) you have all these youth programs and stuff, which are different to what I would have at home,” she said. “It definitely better prepared me.”

American football aside, Owens found far more success at Northwest on the track and the hills of cross-country trails.

She came to Northwest from a North Carolina university after entering the NCAA’s transfer portal. She spent the last three years in Maryville, competing as a member of the Bearcat cross country and track and field teams.

Amber Owens (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Amber Owens (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

On May 6 – just hours after crossing Northwest’s commencement stage for the conferral of her bachelor’s degree in recreation with an emphasis in corporate recreation and wellness – she helped the Bearcat women’s track and field team claim a MIAA Outdoor Championship with her third-place finish in the 10,000-meter run.

Owens also was honored this spring with a 2022-23 Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Academic Award, receiving the Scholar-Athlete designation by achieving a grade-point average of at least 3.50.

Last fall, she finished second at the MIAA Cross Country Championships and helped the Bearcat women’s team qualify for the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships, where she placed 28th and became just the third female cross country runner in Northwest’s history to secure All-America status.

“It was super fun this year because I’d always wanted to go (to nationals) and I’d never had a good enough team to be able to go,” she said.

In addition to successful cross country and track seasons, Owens says she will hold on to fond memories of Northwest’s beautiful campus, her faculty mentors and the University’s annual international flag-raising ceremony, which she participated in each year. 

“All the faculty have been super supportive,” she said. “My advisors have been really supportive also.” 

Owens returned this spring to England after completing her degree and is seeking a corporate planning and training role in the British Armed Forces. 

“I am extremely grateful to all the staff and coaches at Northwest and the team for their continued support and for making my time at Northwest a very memorable and enjoyable experience,” she said.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215