NORTHFIELD, Vt. - Head Coach Mark Murnyack announced his team captains for the 123rd season of Norwich University football on Thursday morning, naming seniors Owen McKenna and Jacob Barr to lead the 2019 roster.
"I am excited to announce the men that have been chosen to lead this team in 2019," Coach Murnyack stated, "They are part of a battle-tested senior class that has gained tremendous experience over the past two seasons." Munryack continued by saying that both men "understand the responsibility associated with being a captain, accept the challenge, and have the courage to follow through."
Chosen from a senior class of nearly three dozen student-athletes, McKenna and Barr both appeared in all ten games of Norwich's second season in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and both were named Second Team All-Conference after the season.
Jacob Barr (Walpole, Mass.) returns to the offensive line to anchor a unit that helped the Cadets rank second in the NEWMAC in yards per game (334.7) and allowed just four sacks over the final four games of the season. With a 3.8 GPA as a Criminal Justice major, Barr looks to be one of the first Norwich athletes to earn three All-Academic awards from the NEWMAC after being named to the inaugural list in 2017 and repeating the accomplishment last year.
"Jacob has been a model of consistency throughout his time on campus both in the classroom and on the field," Coach Murnyack said, "and his football intelligence provides the coaching staff an opportunity to incorporate more sophisticated schemes into our gameplans." Barr also served as a tutor in the academic achievement center, mentoring students in both criminal justice and foreign language courses. "His eagerness to serve and give back speaks to his character on and off the field," Murnyack concluded.
Barr will share the captain responsibilities with classmate Owen McKenna (Attleboro, Mass.), who earned All-Conference honors for his work on the special teams unit a year ago while also providing stellar play at the linebacker position. He punted 46 times for an average of 36.3 yards an attempt, pinning opponents inside the 20-yard 11 times and only tallying one touchback all season. For good measure, he also recorded 50 tackles on the year (28 solo), a sack, and two interceptions from the linebacker position.
"Owen is a throwback, tough as nails football player," Murnyack stated. "An emotional leader that is always working to improve his game, he's a respected teammate for his tenacious motor and work ethic." Off the field, McKenna is a major in the Corps of Cadets, a member of Army ROTC, and a Construction Management major.
"Both of these guys understand their obligation to help establish standards and encourage buy-in to the process associated with winning. They understand the football program mission and the great responsibility that comes with being a leader. Just as important, they possess the qualities that leaders do," Murnyack finished by saying.
Norwich football preseason begins next week, with their season opener taking place on September 7th at Salve Regina before returning home on September 14th to take on St. Lawrence at 12:00 PM.