A Fast Freshman Season For The Very Fast Payton Sabourin
“I could not have asked for a better freshman year at Oakland, other than not getting the opportunity to compete in the Outdoor track season,” she said, referencing the shortened year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “It took a little bit of time to adjust to the new academic environment, but there were a lot of resources for students that helped. I made a lot of new friends with my teammates and look forward to competing with them for years to come. My coaches were great and I look forward to them challenging me and teaching me in the future.”
Sabourin, who competed last year for the Windsor Legion Track and Field team, had success this year in the 400m, 200m, and most notably, as part of Oakland’s Distance Medley team, who won a Horizon League conference title. A perennial star at the provincial level back home in Chatham, Ontario, Sabourin found the step up to the NCAA Division I level a welcomed challenge.
“Competing at the NCAA Division 1 level was a little overwhelming to be honest,” she said. “There are just so many athletes and you are competing against athletes that could be two and three years older than you. You just have to focus on yourself.”
Unfortunately, her season long focus and training didn’t get to finish, as the NCAA cancelled the track and field spring outdoor season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“To say I was disappointed would be an understatement,” Sabourin said of learning the outdoor season would be cancelled. “My favourite event is the 400m hurdles and I was looking forward to competing in this at the University level. There is no similar event indoor so I was kind of just waiting for my time and then everything was shut down.”
Despite her season being cut short, Sabourin is making the most of her time at home training, and getting ready for next season.
“The good thing for my training is that I don’t need much to do it,” she explained. “I have been able to run outdoors quite a few times since being home and on a treadmill when the weather was a little too cold. I am looking forward to do a little work on the track and hurdles in the coming weeks.”
Hopefully for Sabourin, year two in the NCAA goes a little slower, but with faster times.