Catching Up with Payton Baker

Allison Weiss
By Allison Weiss
Student Assistant
APRIL 18, 2017

ayton Baker just wants to contribute. To the track and field team and, as a human relations major, eventually to society. During her four years at the University of Oklahoma, Baker has run the 200-meter, 400-meter, 600-yard, 600-meter, the 1,500-meter and the 800-meter. She is a three-time Big 12 indoor scorer and outdoor scorer in the 4x400-meter relay. She was a member of the 4x400-meter relay that won OU’s first Big 12 title in the event in 2016. Her contributions to the relay team resulted in her name being listed twice in the OU all-time top 10 performance list.  With a few months left in her collegiate career, she’ll have many more opportunities to contribute. The senior from Texas took some time to share what she likes to do when she’s not at the track, what she has in common with Gene Autry, and what she’ll remember most about her time here at OU. 

On when she got started in track: 

“I started track when I was in seventh grade, so probably about 12.  It kind of just built from there. I really enjoyed running, and I just continued to do it.”

On her favorite event to run: 

“Back then, I really liked the 100- and 200-meter because they were short and easy. Now, it’s definitely the 800-meter, just because I just really enjoy it.  I feel like it’s something that I can really excel in. It makes me happy that I can contribute as part of the team, not just on a relay, but also in my open event.”

On how she would describe her hometown of Tioga, Texas (a town in north Texas with a population of less than 1000 people and the birthplace of Gene Autry):  

“Very small. There’s not a lot of people. We’re just a little town where everybody knows everybody.  Coming here was like ‘Whoa.' It was a big shock.”

On how Norman compares to Tioga:

 “Everything is so close in Norman and easy to access. Coming from a small town, if I wanted something, I had to drive like 30 minutes to get it. I like just being here and everything is so close and comfortable. I’m not used to that. The University of Oklahoma gives you that home feeling. Even though Oklahoma isn’t one of the bigger campuses, it’s still big. It has that small feel to it where you can adjust easily here. This campus is easier to feel like I’m at home and I am comfortable here.”

On her hobbies and interests outside of track:

 “I just like to hang out and relax. I love Netflix. I watch all kinds of shows like "Grey’s Anatomy" and "Scandal".  I watch the newer shows like "13 Reasons Why".  I finished up "Supernatural" not too long ago and am watching "Dexter" right now. I like to hang out with a couple of the girls on the team that I’m really close to.”

On a lasting memory during her time at OU: 

“Just being able to get this experience and being part of a team. Being a part of this team has helped me learn so many skills and leadership qualities. I’ve been able to make so many friends being here and they are going to be a part of my life forever after this. This was just an amazing experience that I got to have.”

On what would be her proudest moment at OU:

 “On the track, I would say being a part of this team that is so accepting, and being able to contribute.  Even though I had already contributed, now I feel like I can really do so and be a part of this goal of us trying to win the Big 12. I feel like that is a proud moment to be able to say that I get to do this.  I feel so blessed to be a part of that.”

On how she feels she has grown as a person and as an athlete: 

“I’ve grown a lot through my time here at OU. Like I said, this was such a learning experience. I’ve learned things, whether they have been good or bad, that have helped me become more of well-rounded person. I’ll be able to use these lessons after my time here is done and I’m out in the real world.”

On being a human relations major:

 “I really like helping people and I’ve always been that kind of person. My major really stood out to me when I took a step back and looked at what I wanted to do. I want to do counseling at a school district. It stood out to me as a major that I was interested in and wanted to be in.  I like all of the classes that it offers.”


Favorite food: Grilled chicken and macaroni and cheese

Favorite spot on campus: The Memorial Union, because there is food and Starbucks. 

Most interesting class that you’ve taken at OU: I’m taking a Women’s and Gender Studies course called Race, Class and Gender. I’m learning so much more about diversity and topics that I’ve never been able to learn about.  Plus, being a human relations major, it’s given me a more in-depth look at what I’ll experience when I’m out in the real world. 

Three words you would use to describe yourself: Hard worker, shy, and easy to get along with.



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