Owen earns All-Academic accolades from National Wrestling Coaches Association


May 13, 2002


DeKALB, IL---Two conference championships and three NCAA tournament appearances would be enough for many student-athletes. But Northern Illinois University wrestler Scott Owen (Carlsbad, NM) isn't a typical student-athlete. For proof, look no further than his latest accolade: First-Team All-Academic recognition from the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

The New Mexico native was honored for his excellence both on the mat and in the classroom, earning a spot among the nation's top ten all-around performers in his sport.

Owen capped his four-year career with a third trip to the NCAA Wrestling Championships in March. That third trip was the charm for the senior captain who earned All-America honors with a fifth-place showing in the 157-pound bracket. It was the highest finish by a Huskie grappler since 1973 and closed a season which included 34 victories in 37 bouts. Owen became the fifth Huskie to receive NCAA Division I All-America accolades, joining two-time honoree Jeremy Goeden (1997, 1998), Mark Tiffany (1975), Johnny B. Johnson (1973 with a second-place finish) and Larry Johnson (1972) in that elite group.

"This is a great honor for Scott to be recognized with the top ten student-athletes in the country," Huskie coach Dave Grant said. "Scott has been a leader for us, and now he ends his career not only as Division I All-America on the mat but as a national academic honoree as well.

Owen recorded nine pins and seven technical-fall triumphs as a senior. He was the Mid-American Conference Wrestler of the Year and also gained Outstanding Wrestler accolades at the MAC championship tournament, winning the 157-pound title for a second consecutive spring. He completed his Huskie career with a record of 94-19, one victory short of the all-time program record established by Mark Kuehl (95 victories from 1987-91). Owen's Huskie legacy includes NCAA tournament appearances in 1999, 2001 and 2002.

"Scott has been here for five years and has put himself among the elite wrestlers in Northern Illinois history," Grant said. "He was a leader and role model for our program, helping bring the team to a national Top 25 ranking and our (26th-place) finish at the NCAA tournament."

The senior grappler's efforts helped NIU post a 14-4 dual-meet record and claim second place at the MAC Championships. It was the best showing by a Northern Illinois program since the Huskies won the team title in 1985. Owen also led a group of four NCAA qualifiers, with fellow weight class champions Ben Heizer and Bill Lowney plus at-large entry Marlon Felton. In the classroom, he boasts a 3.61 grade-point-average as a biological sciences major.

Owen was an Honorable Mention All-Academic selection by the NWCA in 1999 after Goeden garnered First-Team accolades from the association in the previous spring.

All ten members of the First-Team All-Academic squad earned All-America accolades at the NCAA Championships in March. That list includes national champions Joseph Heskett of Iowa State University and Robert Rohn of Lehigh University, along with University of Michigan teammates Ryan Bertin and Otto Olson, Owen Elzen from the University of Minnesota, John Lockhart of the University of Illinois, Greg Parker from Princeton University, the University of Iowa's Jessman Smith and the University of Nebraska's Bryan Snyder.

The Second-Team featured a pair of Mid-American Conference representatives in Central Michigan University's Jordan Webster and Eastern Michigan University's Adam Gilmore. Also on that list were four All-America performers---Shane Roller of Oklahoma State University, Witt Durden of the University of Oklahoma, Paul Hynek from the University of Northern Iowa and Richard Springman of the University of Pennsylvania---plus NCAA qualifiers Patrick Owens of Boise State University, Anthony Reynolds from Sacred Heart University and John Wechter of Michigan State University. Rounding out the list of honorees were Patrick Diaz of James Madison University and Brian Watson of the University of Oregon.