Boys Track and Field Runner of the Yeat

Charging ahead into a great senior season

North Montgomery’s Owen Utterback runs to 2024 JR Boys T&F Runner of the Year


LINDEN — North Montgomery senior Owen Utterback has been a focal point of the Charger boys track and field team for a vast majority of his career. Every athlete wants their senior year to be the best and Utterback can sit back and say that his senior year on the track was certainly that. This past season Utterback broke the school record in the 400 meter dash with a time of 50.07 at the Sagamore Conference meet. Utterback also qualified for the Lafayette Jeff  Regional in both the long jump and the 200 meter dash and in the 200 finished in fourth place and just barley missed out on qualifying for the IHSAA State Finals.

“This year was a great year for me,” Utterback said. “I ended with a PR in the 200 and got fourth and just missed out on qualifying for state in that and in the long jump. This entire year I knew that I was going to be counted on and that was a  good feeling for me personally. Whether it was the long jump, 200, 400 or anything else I was ready to whatever the team and Coach Thompson needed me to for us to be successful.”

Utterback’s success on the track this season had led to him being named the 2024 Journal Review Boys Track and Field Runner of the Year.

Charger coach Josh Thompson complimented his senior runner by beginning to talk about how his success just didn’t happen overnight. Utterback’s work ethic is a big reason why he is where he is.

“Owen has put the time and effort in to be where he’s at,” Thompson said. “He’s been one of those athletes that has listened to coaching very well and uses that to get better. He applies himself in practice and sometimes athletes don’t understand that. If you want the success in the big time meets like Owen had, you have to constantly work at it. Owen didn’t just show up at these meets either, he had the right effort and mindset to go along with it. He’s been a great athlete for us all four years and especially this year and he really saw those hours of hard work pay dividends this year.”

What has been another exciting thing for Owen over the course of his career is that his dad Kenyon Utterback has been on the coaching staff. Kenyon has had an up close view of getting to watch his son’s success.

“Of course from the dad side of things I’m so proud of what he’s been able to accomplish,” Kenyon said. “From a coaching standpoint getting to see the jump  that he’s made from last year to this year with his time drops and distance in the long jump. Coming into this season breaking the school record in the 400 really wasn’t even on his radar. His two events were the 200 and long jump, but he’s become such a versatile athlete. He ran the hurdles last year and now he got to add a another event to his repertoire and can say he has the school record which is pretty special.”

Owen first broke the 400 record for the Chargers at the county meet before breaking it again at the SAC meet a week later. Both he and Thompson spoke on having his name be up on the record boards and more specifically breaking a long standing record for the Chargers that was held since 1979.

“Being a record holder is something that I’ve always dreamed about,” Owen said. “To finally get that record and see my name up on the board feels pretty great.”

“That record is a 45 year-old record so for him to break something that ‘s stood for that long adds to the accomplishment,” Thompson added. “The good old saying is records are meant to be broken so it was nice to finally have Owen do it. Owen is racing in a new era of track too where everything is being electronically timed so we can’t get away with a few extra milliseconds or anything like that. Kudos to Owen and we hope that his name gets to stay up there for a long time.”

Utterback will look to continue his track career when he goes to Indiana State in the fall. He’ll look to walk on to the Sycamore team that already has fellow Montgomery County runner in Trent Jones.

“I felt like they had a great teaching program which is what I want to do and of course their track team is very good so it was a great balance,” Utterback said. “My education there comes first and track second but figured I’d give it a shot and see what happens.”

It’s been a great career for Utterback and with his work ethic and overall skill set, he just might have a few more races in him with the Sycamores. A senior that put everything into his final season and saw the rewards and accolades follow. Utterback will be remembered in Charger track history as one of the best.