By: Karlie Harris
For sophomore Abiola Owens, yes, that Owens – whose last name is forever connected to her brothers’ names etched behind Glenelg’s athletic display case – it’s a lot of things: motivating and inspiring, but, at times, a bit stressful.
Owens, sister of Bisi (‘22) and Wande Owens (‘19), Brent (‘15), Blake (‘12), and Bruce (‘08) Richardson, said she wants nothing more than for people to “see me as my own person.”
Owens comes from a competitive household, and said there are times when she feels hidden in Bisi’s shadow. A lot of people see Owens as “Bisi’s sister,” but she said she doesn’t see that as a hindrance. Bisi made his mark on Glenelg, and following in those footsteps is something Owens appreciates and admires.
Still, Owens looks to set her own mark. So far, after almost two years of high school, she has done just that.
In addition to being a member of the Black Student Union and Spanish Honor Society, and a potential induction into the National Honor Society, Owens competes on varsity fall cheer, winter track, and softball.
Recently, her athletic prowess was on display at the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex on Feb. 21, where she placed 5th in the 55-meter hurdles and was part of the 5th-place 4 x 200 relay at the 2A Track & Field Indoor State Championship Meet.
But, currently, it’s her play on the softball diamond that, as of May 4, has her team sitting at 13-3 overall and vying for a top seed when playoffs begin.
“Abiola has been key for us,” head coach Anna Pallozzi said. “Between her work in the outfield and speed on the base path, she is irreplaceable. Coach Huber and I frequently use her as a courtesy runner because of how fast she is ... Abiola has great potential to be a leader her junior and senior year, considering she is only a sophomore right now. She is a constant, positive voice in the dugout.”
Owens plans to apply to University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Cornell during her junior year. The thought of living far from home knocks Harvard or Dartmouth off her list. Bisi currently attends UPenn, Wande graduated from Yale, Brent graduated from Towson, and Bruce and Blake graduated University of Maryland.
“I wouldn’t want to go to the colleges my brothers go to, to be like them,” Owens said. “But visiting UPenn, I was with Bisi and ended up liking it a lot. It’s coincidental that we connected with the same school.”
Contrary to her driven, focused persona, Owens said she still frequently doubts herself due to her competitive nature, especially when it comes to her family. Not only is she trying to juggle the accomplishments of everyone before, she is also racing to the finish line of success like they did.
“Something that absolutely holds me back from doing what I want is not knowing what I even want to do yet,” she said. “I stress that I’m not going to figure it out, even though I know I still have plenty of time. What is really important to me is truly enjoying what I do, but it is still scary to think that my future may not even be mine.”
Owens said she feels that she is moving ahead at a good pace, despite how busy her schedule is when it comes to balancing academics and extracurricular activities. Choosing a concentration of study or a career as a sophomore is not her biggest focus, so she hasn’t decided.
Owens does know at least one thing, for now, about her future: “I love sports, but I don’t want them to become my whole life. My brothers influenced what I have done, but my family has made sure there is still room left to be me … and set my own mark.”