When it comes to making the grade for the “Morgan’s Finest” hall of fame, we look for several characteristics. It’s important to have been a former high school athlete who excelled in their respective sport(s). Next, it helps to have gone on to collegiate status in that sport. Beyond that we look for student-athletes that are having a successful career or life in their chosen field. It didn’t take us long to see that Meredith Owen had all of these traits and much, much more.
The 24-year-old was part of a Morgan County golf squad that finished third in the state her junior year. She went on to stardom at Mercer University where she competed at the NCAA Division I level for four years. She said, “I played golf for the four years I was at Mercer University (NCAA Division I, Southern Conference). Much of my success in golf and in life is credited to the amazing support system that I have. My parents and my siblings spent countless hours driving me too and from practice and tournaments. There is no way I would have been able to play college golf without them.”
Her parents are Chip and Kim Owen along with a sister, Emily, and a brother, Will. Mom, Kim, said, “We are very proud of Meredith and her accomplishments. She is very hardworking and dedicated. We are grateful for the many mentors she had while at Morgan County High School including Mark Wilson, Pam (PT) Hooten, Coach Reeves, and many others.”
She currently holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Mercer University. She told us, “I have had numerous teachers and mentors throughout the years that have been instrumental in helping me get to where I am today.”
Owen says she first picked up a golf club when she was about six years old. “My uncle, who is an avid golfer himself, gave me one of his old clubs and that started it all. Although I don’t actually remember that happening, that’s just what I have been told. I played a few sports as a kid and up through middle school, but liked golf the most. I started focusing on it only in high school. My uncle was the one that first got me hooked on the game, but I have had a few swing coaches since then that really helped me both learn the game and improve upon it,” she commented.
The 2012 MCHS graduate gives a lot of credit to two of Morgan County’s golf coaches; Pam Hooten (PT as she’s known) and Josh Reeves for her success while playing for the Dogs. “I was on the high school team from 2009 through 2012. I think we had a pretty good team those years. It was a small team and our best year was my junior season, during which we placed third as a team in state. I had an amazing time on the high school team and much of that is to the credit of PT (Hooten) and Reeves and the other coaches and players. PT would always walk and play with us at practice and provided a great atmosphere. Reeves, while I don’t think he was ever an official coach while I was on the team, was always helping and cheering us on. We still play golf together at least once a year! The women’s golf team was always pretty small, but we practiced and traveled to matches with the guys’ team so the team actually felt much larger.”
Hooten made these remarks about her protégé saying, “Meredith was always a go-getter taking the most rigorous classes and stepped up to any challenge. She worked incredibly hard in the classroom and on the golf course. She excelled in all that she tried. It was that work ethic that contributed to much of her success. As she continues toward a PhD, she will keep working harder than ever. She will create that perfect prosthetic. She has already bettered the lives of so many from Morgan County. Now it is time for her to take her talents to the world. Good luck Meredith! Go for it!”
While at Mercer and playing for their team, she recalled some of her memories of playing Division I golf. “Yep, I graduated in 2016 from Mercer University in Macon. GO BEARS! I don’t know if I would have attended Mercer if I hadn’t played golf there, but I am so grateful that it led me there. I had an amazing time and truly enjoyed my entire time there. As a golf team our highest ranking was 56th in the nation. I was a pretty average team member while I was there (traveled to some tournaments, but not all). Had a couple decent finishes and some bad ones,” she laughed.
While attending Mercer, Owen was also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which was composed of athletes from each sport, where she served for four years. Their mission is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete welfare and fostering a positive student-athlete image. Their website states: “Though the focus of campus SAAC’s is intended to be more parochial in nature, communication among campus and national SAAC’s, it offers student-athletes the opportunity to shape the landscape of intercollegiate athletics through many avenues.
According to Owen, she served as the Secretary as a sophomore and the President her junior year. As president, she helped institute the Soap for Hope program, where student-athletes would save the hotel shampoos and soaps from when they traveled and donate all of them to the local homeless shelter. She also started the TOBYS awards while serving in that capacity. The TOBYs is an ESPYs style award show that allows student athletes to vote for fellow student athletes for awards. The event is still going on today. She also served as the Southern Conference SAAC representative for Mercer and attended conference and leadership summits. During her junior year she went on trip through the Mercer on Mission program to Vietnam and worked in a medical and prosthetic clinic. The team spent a few weeks at the beginning of the summer learning the basics of prosthetic fabrications and assembly and then spent a month in Vietnam working in the clinic. That’s pretty strong stuff. You can view a moving video of her on You Tube, that was produced by the College of Computing Engineering and Applied Sciences at Clemson University, by searching for Meredith Owen Clemson University. It’s one you don’t want to miss.
Currently, Owen is in her third year as a PhD student in Bioengineering at Clemson University working in orthopedic biomechanics, specifically lower limb prosthetics. Her research focuses specifically on the interface between the residual limb and the socket of the low limb prosthesis. According to her, this interface is one of the most troublesome aspects for prosthetic users and high interface pressures often lead to discomfort, pain, or skin breakdown, all of which can lead to discontinued prosthesis use. She is working to improve this interface to provide targeted and patient specific pressure offloading. Owen is also currently serving as the President of the Clemson Bioengineering Society (which is the graduate student organization affiliated with the national Biomedical Engineering Society) and works as a teaching assistant (TA) for the senior design course.
About her future plans, she had this to say, “I am terrible at deciding what I want to be, which is probably why I am still in school! I have really enjoyed working with students as a TA while at Clemson. I would love to continue that and maybe pursue a faculty position at a mid-sized university (something like Mercer’s size) teaching engineering design. However, I think I change my mind on what I want to do every other day so who knows! Whatever I end up doing, I know I want it to be near a coast!”
Wow! If you understood half of all that, then you have a higher brain capacity than most folks. Whatever the case may be, this young and talented lady has already made the Bulldog fan base proud in more ways than one. She most definitely deserves a place in the “Morgan’s Finest” community. Keep up the good work.