St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

QB to engineer in a nanosecond

Central's Gary Owen, who plans to attend Vanderbilt, is comfortable breaking down football plays or the ins and outs of his field of study.

Published June 29, 2006

BROOKSVILLE - If you are like most of the world, you probably don't know what nanotechnology is.

You don't know that it refers to the development of technology at the atomic, molecular or macromolecular range of approximately 1 to 100 nanometers.

You don't know that it could change the very fabric of our existence.

Heck, you might not even know how to spell it.

But don't worry. That's why God created people like Gary Owen.

To get a 1,440 on the SAT. To go to Vanderbilt. To major in bio-medical engineering. And, in the process, to make the rest of us feel stupid.

"Rather than trying to make things smaller and smaller, you take individual atoms and rearrange them for things like cancer treatments, drug delivery, different coatings on medals and plastics," Owen says when asked to explain the field he hopes to enter.

"When nanotechnology takes off, it will revolutionize the world as we know it. One day we could have a lining for our clothes where you'll never have to wash them."

That's bad news for laundry detergent manufacturers but good news for Owen, who over the past four years has established himself as one of the most impressive student-athletes in Hernando County.

If someone is accomplishing something - anything - in the area, chances are the 2006 Central graduate has something to do with it.

Starting quarterback?

Starting linebacker?

Commander of his high school's ROTC unit?

Yeah, that's Owen.

Last year, he was even part of a team that entered a human submarine in the International Submarine Races in Bethesda, Md.

"Obviously," Central football coach Cliff Lohrey said earlier this week, "he is going to be successful in whatever he does."

It didn't take long for Lohrey to come to this realization when he joined the staff of then-Central football coach John Wilkinson three years ago. Even as a sophomore, Owen was a leader, explaining plays to teammates both young and old.

"It was pretty clear early on that he was much more mature in his thinking," Lohrey said.

That maturity bleeds through in most of what Owen does.

While discussing his choice of Vanderbilt for college, he explains that, in addition to the challenging academic environment, the city of Nashville and its plethora of churches will provide an excellent opportunity for him to grow as a Christian. While explaining his choice of major, he says he is excited about one day being able to "design something that can have an enormous impact on human life."

An honors student who scored 32 on his ACT and graduated seventh in his class, Owen seems bound to do something special with his life.

"I've played sports my whole life, baseball my whole life, football my whole life," he says. "Now I see it as a time where I can get out and go to college and explore different interests."

Like, for instance, nanotechnology.

[Last modified June 28, 2006, 23:41:21]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters