From the time Ada senior Landyn Owens woke up Friday morning, she had butterflies in her stomach. And Friday the 13th had nothing to do with it.

It was signing day for Owens, who will be headed to the University of Hartford in West Hartford Connecticut. It’s the home of the Harford Hawks. It’s easy to see why — and perfectly natural — Owens was a little anxious to sign a letter to attend a Division I college some 1,600 miles away.

“The whole day I was nervous but I’m excited to be able to go,” Owens told The Ada News during the signing ceremony that was attended by 30 or so of her family, friends and classmates. “I was nervous before I signed those papers, but now the pressure is off and it’s all good.”

Owens has already met her roommate Leah Butterbaugh of Waynesville, Ohio, and is looking forward to meeting everyone associated with the Hawks’ women’s basketball program.

“It’s really a great opportunity. I’m really excited. I’ve already met my roommate Leah. I’m so excited to meet all of them,” she said.

Second-year Hartford head coach Morgan Valley is anxious to get Owens on campus.

“Landyn is a crafty, smart, player. She can handle the ball and stretch the floor with her ability to shoot from deep. I am so excited to add Landyn and her family to our Hawk family,” Valley said. “We are beyond excited to add a player of her caliber to our program. I believe that the best is yet to come (for Owens).”

Owens said Valley was a big reason she’s heading to Connecticut. She said there were a lot of similarities between Valley and Ada head coach Christie Jennings.

“Coach Valley is a lot like coach Jennings. They have the same coaching methods. I’m really excited to be in her program,” Owens said.

Jennings is excited to see what the future holds for her prize senior.

“We are so proud of her. It has been a pleasure to watch her grow as a player and person,” she said. “The University of Hartford is getting a great player and even better person.”

It may be hard for some fans to believe, but — according to Jennings — Owens wasn’t always the basketball stud she is today.

“Landyn has always been a great athlete, but in the eighth grade she was just an average basketball player,” she said. “Our high school coaching staff started challenging her after that eighth grade season. We saw her start to become something special. She has worked her butt off over the last four years to become one of the best players in our state.”

Jennings said there was a time another coach had Owen’s convinced she was a Division I caliber of player. Jennings refused to hear that kind of talk.

“I remember when she was young she told me that a summer coach told her she wasn’t D1 material. She was crying and hurt,” she recalled. “I told her to quit crying, suck it up and go prove them wrong. I hope she never loses that fight and keeps proving people wrong.”

Hawks up!

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Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.

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