Payton Hinkle has won back-to-back cross country state titles, and now she has back-to-back Gatorade Awards to go with them.
The 5-foot-8 Broken Arrow junior was named Thursday as Gatorade’s Oklahoma girls cross country runner of the year for the second straight season.
The Gatorade Company made the announcement in its 36th year of honoring the nation’s top high school athletes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Hinkle won her second consecutive Class 6A cross country individual title last November (she finished second as a freshman), covering the 5K distance at Edmond Santa Fe in 18:23.64 seconds — nearly 11 seconds faster than her closest competition.
Ten days later, she won the Oklahoma/Arkansas Meet of Champions by 34 seconds.
“Payton is an extraordinary person and athlete,” BA cross country coach Shane Messinger said in a release from Gatorade. “She is a determined competitor who exemplifies how a relentless commitment to preparation can lead to great accomplishments.”
Hinkle’s state titles in cross country weren’t her first for the Tigers. As a freshman, she won the 3,200-meter race at the 6A state track meet and finished fourth in the mile, helping lead the Tigers to a runner-up finish in the team standings.
Last summer, she was named the Bill Knight Automotive girls cross country athlete of the year as part of the Tulsa World’s All-World Awards, and she is a finalist for the same award in 2021.
The Gatorade Award recognizes athletic and academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the track. Hinkle maintains a weighted 4.38 GPA and has volunteered as part of multiple community service initiatives through her church.
She is the first Broken Arrow athlete to win the award in cross country and the third athlete in the 14-year history of the award to win it at least twice in a row. She is now eligible for Gatorade’s national runner of the year award to be named later this month.