A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Payton Stumbaugh
School: Har-Ber (Springdale, Minn.)
Event(s): Sprints/hurdles/jumps/pole vault
Athletic achievement: Stumbaugh won five individual state championships this spring, leading the Wildcats to a third-place finish as a team at the Class 7A state meet. She won the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.35 seconds, the 100-meter hurdles in 14.98, the 300-meter hurdles in 44.74, the high jump with a leap of five feet, three inches and the pole vault, soaring 10 feet, six inches. The 2012 Northwest Arkansas Times All-Big 6 Girls Track Newcomer of the Year, Stumbaugh also won the girls’ state heptathlon with 4,260 points, earning individual titles in the 100 with a time of 15.15, the 200 in 25.23 and the 800-meter run in 2:49.15.
Academic excellence: Stumbaugh has maintained a 3.70 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of her church community, she has volunteered locally on behalf of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the Future Fisherman Foundation’s Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs program and as part of a literacy-outreach initiative.
“Payton Stumbaugh is an extraordinary talent and she has an extremely bright future ahead of her,” said Har-Ber head coach Jodi Unger. “She is focused, driven, disciplined and has a hunger for success. She is a tremendous student, a loyal friend and an overall kind person.”
THE FUTURE: Stumbaugh will begin her junior year of high school this fall.