Sophomore Runner Overcomes Illness to Win State Championship in Track, Cross Country
By Mike Moguin
GTR Sports Writer
Winning state last month was a special moment for Broken Arrow sophomore cross country runner Payton Hinkle.
Hinkle was diagnosed with fibromyalgia when she was in the seventh grade.
“I had to sit out the entire season,” she said.
Hinkle stayed active with the team by serving as a team manager. With some needed medical treatment, she got over the ailment fast and was able to run track when that season came around.
“It (fibromyalgia) just messes up my nervous system and joints,” she said. “I’ll have inflammation and pain one day, so I just take medicine for it and make sure I get lots of rest and lots of hydration and water.
That was what was needed to overcome the disease
“Yes, and lots of doctors and medicine,” Hinkle said with laughter.
She has been running consistently ever since, which led up to winning top individual medalist in the Class 6A girls cross country meet Nov. 2 in Shawnee.
“It was so special,” she said. “Last year, I got second and I think that really helped push me to want to win, to want it so much more, so it was really a big moment for me. I was just very proud and humbled.”
Hinkle won the championship with a time of 18:03.44, edging Jenks’ Avery Mazzei by less than 30 seconds (18:30.69).
“I’m very proud to be from B.A. I love B.A. and all the athletics, the coaching, all my friends and teammates,” Hinkle said. “They’re always so supportive. No matter what happens, they’re always here cheering me on.”
Winning as a sophomore was an exciting experience for Hinkle.
“I still feel like a tiny underdog being an underclassmen,” she said. “It was a very proud moment for all of us and it was very strange because that usually does not happen.”
Hinkle also won state last spring in track, where she finished first in the 3200-meter run with a time of 11:00.69.
She loves running for how athletic and competitive it is. “I’m a very competitive person, so, whenever I get the chance to compete, I take advantage of that,” she said. “And then, BA, just the whole community itself, we run not just individually, but as one big team, one big family, and we have such an amazing coaching staff and everybody here is so welcoming.”
The difference between running cross country and track, Hinkle said, is there is more endurance and longer distances.
“You have more time to think in cross country, but in track, it’s more like a fast-paced speed, like ‘Think fast. You got to go for it.’”
Hinkle says she still has her rough days from fighting fibromyalgia.
“I still have bad days where I don’t want to get out of bed, but I still have my regimen of my schedule I have to do and all my medicines I have to take,” she said. “So it works out for the best.”
But, rest assured, having to fight fibromyalgia in the past made winning state special.
“Yes. I think I’ve come a long way, so being able to accomplish one of my goals means so much to me,” Hinkle said.