For senior Payton Chadwick, track has been a crucial aspect of her life. Now, as the end of her collegiate career is approaching, Chadwick is looking forward to the next chapter in her life.
At a young age, Chadwick’ parents introduced her to track and field, who both ran in college for a brief period. Her mother ran at University of Central Arkansas and her father ran at Northwestern State in Louisiana for two years and University of Arkansas for two years.
In fourth grade, Chadwick competed in a club-track-and-field team that her parents coached. At this meet, Chadwick performed best in sprints and hurdles, setting the tone for the rest of her track career.
During high school, she doubted whether she could compete with better competition like the SEC. These doubts led Chadwick to first commit to the University of Oklahoma where she ran for one year. After transferring to Arkansas, Chadwick realized her true potential, Chadwick said.
“When I transferred to the U of A is when I realized I was actually a good runner and could be running as a job, which is kinda where I am now,” Chadwick said.
Her freshman year at Oklahoma she ran the 100-meter hurdles in 13.07 seconds. In her first year as a Razorback, she cut her time down to 12.83, qualifying her for the olympic trials.
“That improvement was due to the coaching change and working harder,” Chadwick said.
Chadwick credits Lance Harter, the long-time UA women’s track and field coach, for creating an elite running program where he pushes athletes to perform their best.
“I have the best coach in the country in my opinion,” Chadwick said. “He has walk-on athletes that come into our program that are either banged up or not very good and leads them to scoring at SEC meets or improving their time immensely.”
For Chadwick, Harter is a strong and intense coach, but is also much more to the athletes off the track as he is on the track, Chadwick said.
“He has been a light in my life. I can call him and talk to him about anything. Practices can be miserable, but we get the job done, and overall they are fun,”Chadwick said.
Even after college, Chadwick hopes to stay involved in competitive running as a runner or a coach.
“After this year I plan to get a professional contract to run, and I will see where that takes me."Eventually I could become a collegiate coach,” said Chadwick, “Because I have been there and done that, I could put all my knowledge and experience into coaching.”
Aside from track, Chadwick has found an interest in cooking healthy food. With the help and encouragement of her husband Cannon Chadwick, who is a former UA baseball player, she started taking her hobby more seriously by creating her own brand called Prepping with Pay.
“My husband is social media savvy and encouraged me to post my recipes on Instagram to see if my followers liked it,” Chadwick said, “So that is where I am now, developing that brand aside from track but I have that following because of track.”
Chadwick has almost 5,000 followers on instagram and has gained 200 subscribers on YouTube just in the past four months of having the channel.
Chadwick’s parents imbedded healthy eating into her daily life as a child. In college she took it upon herself to stick to those healthy eating habits which led her to sharing her recipes with others through the platforms of Instagram and Youtube.
“I want to eventually write a cookbook, and open up my own food prepping business.”
Chadwick uses cooking as a way to take her mind off the stress and demand of a student athlete.
“Balancing friends, school and track is the hardest part of being a student athlete,” Chadwick said. “We have early morning lifts anywhere from 6-10 a.m., class, rehab, eat meals in between, practice after school and then you go home to a lot of homework while being exhausted.”
For Chadwick, putting in hard work on the track and academically each day is the only option — no matter how crazy her schedule gets.
“Some practices are not the greatest and bad days happen, but you have to leave practice and reset your mind and realize that was just one day. There are so many other days,” Chadwick said.
Chadwick redshirted last outdoor season and has not ran outdoor track in a year. She is looking forward to running this outdoor season.
“One of my goals is to be more consistent of having a time in the hurdles. I want to open up with a fast time in the hurdles, and I want to win the national title in the 100-meter hurdles,” Chadwick said.
Chadwick is excited to have another opportunity to potentially win more titles for her team.
“Our ultimate goal as a team is to win another national title and SEC title to complete the triple crown,” Chadwick said.