Jan. 14, 2012
BERKELEY - As the California softball team prepares to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the 2002 national championship, it is quite fitting that one of this year's freshmen has direct ties to that team. Nikki Owens notes her biggest role model is former Golden Bear Jocelyn Forest, with whom Owens spent the past year training. Owens - who hails from Scotts Valley in the Santa Cruz mountains - only played part of her senior season at Scotts Valley High School but still went 8-4 in 74 innings of work the circle, with a 0.48 ERA and limited opposing teams to a combined .065. CalBears.com chatted with Owens to find out more about the freshman who was home schooled until eighth grade and is a full year younger than her first-year compatriots.
CalBears.com: What made you choose Cal?
Nikki Owens: I chose Cal because it was close to home and offered a great education as well as the opportunity to play on one of the best teams in the country. I fell in love with Berkeley on my visit.
CalBears.com: What is one thing you can't live without?
CalBears.com: What are your hobbies outside of softball?
NO: I like to hang out with my family, go out with my friends and read.
CalBears.com: Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?
NO: My biggest talent is my ability to write an eight-page paper in under an hour. I'm also a kind of legit rapper.
CalBears.com: Do you have any unique stories about yourself that set you apart from your teammates?
NO: I was homeschooled until eighth grade. I also skipped kindergarten, so I am a full year younger than the other girls in my recruiting class.
CalBears.com: What's your favorite part about Berkeley and/or the Cal campus?
CalBears.com: What is your biggest pet peeve?
NO: People who have bad manners. I also have a pretty serious foot phobia.
CalBears.com: What is the best thing about being a part of Cal softball?
NO: All the time you get to spend with the team, and how much of a family we are. You know someone always has your back and cares about you through whatever.
CalBears.com: What is the best piece of advice you've ever received? What's the worst?
NO: The best advice I have ever received was that success is the best revenge, especially when it comes to all of the people I had growing up who told me I would never be able to play in college, especially on a team like Cal.
CalBears.com: Did you grow up watching Cal athletics? What has it been like to represent them?
NO: I watched a lot of Cal softball growing up and can remember being so in awe of the players on the ﬁeld. It's still hard for me to believe that I get to wear the Cal uniform this season because it was my dream for a very, very long time.
CalBears.com: Which three people would you invite to dinner?
NO: Jesus, Tyga and Drake. But probably not all at the same time because that could get awkward.
CalBears.com: What has been your favorite part about college life so far?
NO: I love the memories I've made with the team as well as the other people I have met while living in the dorms and all of the hilarious stories I have from my experiences with them.
CalBears.com: What are you planning on or thinking of majoring in?
NO: Originally, I planned on majoring in astrophysics, but my interests have since shifted towards something in the mathematics realm. I would like to do something involving statistics in relation to advertising or marketing.
CalBears.com: What has been the hardest, most surprising aspect about transitioning from high school to college?
NO: At ﬁrst, it was a big struggle to balance all the new-found freedom with the load of responsibility suddenly dropped on your plate. As an athlete, we have a lot of people at Cal here to help us. But at the end of the day, it is on you to wake up on time for morning workouts, get your massive amount of homework done, and somehow ﬁnd time to sleep and eat in between the two.
CalBears.com: What class did you most enjoy this fall?
NO: My favorite class this fall was my English writing class. My professor was tight.
CalBears.com: Now that you've completed your ﬁrst semester of college, what advice do you wish someone had told you about college or would you give to incoming student-athletes?
NO: Be prepared to read, a lot. Get used to ﬁtting in 15-minute power naps whenever you can and wearing sweatpants every day of your life. Know yourself in regards to what works for you when it comes to study habits and time management.
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