Mercer Island High School’s sophomore speedster and record-breaker hopes to notch even faster cross country times this season.
On Sept. 24, Owen Powell unleashed his mammoth 5K run of 15:33.2 to set a personal record and win the boys varsity Division 1 race at the Nike Portland XC 2022 at Blue Lake Regional Park in Fairview, Oregon.
While tackling the grueling race, the young Islander was en route to breaking the school record of 15:43, which was set by Aaron Elefson in 2010.
“I was feeling pretty good that day and our team was ready for a big race. A good day,” said Powell, whose team took second to Summit (178-181) in the team standings. “I wanted to go out pretty hard and then just hold and struggle for the rest and see how long I could hang on. I wanted to just run as fast as I can and try to run a PR. I’m glad I did.”
It was a painful and exhausting race, but Powell endured the journey and felt extremely accomplished afterward. It’s good pain, he said.
“For me, I think my fastest races have just been the ones when I go out really hard and I just hurt for the whole way, but it ends up paying off because the result ends up being pretty good most times,” said Powell, who sat in fifth in the boys 3A state standings at post time, according to athletic.net.
For his stellar race amongst a talented field of harriers, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association named Powell as one of its recent athletes of the week. Powell — who finished 13th in the state in the 1,600 run last spring — was noted by the association as being smart, humble, friendly, and a great role model for all of his teammates.
Speaking of his team, Powell feels the Islanders are on track to maintain last year’s success, which saw the squad take first in KingCo, third at districts and ninth at state.
To prepare for races, Powell runs about six to seven days a week and averages between 40-45 miles per week. Locally, he enjoys running loops around Pioneer Park and hitting some trails with friends. When Powell ventures out to Seward Park in Seattle, he likes to cap off a run by jumping into the lake.
The Reporter asked Powell a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People chewing with their mouth open.
What’s a binge-worthy TV series that you like?
I feel like you can’t go wrong with “The Office.” I’ve always liked that one.
What’s a skill that you’d like to learn?
I’ve always wanted to learn how to do a double back flip off a diving board.
What’s a super power you’d like to have?
Being able to fly would be pretty fun.
How do you spend your spare time when you’re not running?
Usually just hanging out with friends, just playing video games or playing other sports with them.
What about in the classroom, what subjects do you really like?
Usually I’m like a math guy, but I do not like geometry this year. Probably English is my favorite this year.
What’s a dream vacation spot for you?
I’ve always wanted to go up to Whistler, BC. That sounds pretty fun.