Michael Payne: No Payne, No Gain


Gina Nguyen

Michael Payne beams in excitement before running a meet.

Elijah Dosda, Sports Editor

With the cross country season coming to a close just as the fall Mississippi weather spikes between freezing and warm temperatures, it is seasonally appropriate to shine the athlete spotlight on co-cross country captain Michael Payne.

Michael Payne is a senior in the class of 2019 who’s involved with cross country, music and engineering, but who overall focuses on being a leader, a dependable friend and competitor in every activity he’s involved in.

Being a captain does not necessarily mean being the fastest or the strongest. It means being the first in and the last out.”

— Michael Payne

Interviewing Payne led to an interesting story. Coming from Russell Christian Academy in Meridian, Payne found that MSMS helped to expand his horizons and evolve as a person. Back at home he knew that he was interested in pursuing engineering, but now he has branched out and discovered new hobbies and furthered his interest in engineering.

“Politically and ideologically, that was a big shift coming from a private Baptist school to MSMS, and I like that I’ve changed that way as a person,” he remarked. One notable change he discussed was how living basically on his own he has “become a lot more responsible.”

“I’m almost like an adult at this point,” he said.

He described a lot of his junior year as hectic. “Lots of work, lot’s of just stuff going on all the time.” He prefers senior year because it’s a bit calmer for him with the workload being a bit less and the community of Frazer not being as wild in the late hours of the night like last year.

With his workload last year being so heavy, he also discovered new passions like playing music, which started simply as a fulfillment of his art credit. “I needed an art credit so I decided to take piano. [I] liked it, also decided to take guitar, and now I’ve went from playing no instruments before I came here, to playing four.”

In his spare time, Payne enjoys hanging out with his friends and also plays “Magic the Gathering” on the second floor with a group of friends. Being part of the cross country team and participating in all of these various activities contribute to him feeling “more ingrained and a part of the community.”

In terms of cross country, Payne reflects on his primary improvements this season over last as his times and better technique on the rough terrain as opposed to the flatter ground, but more so he’s noticed an improvement with his mentality towards every challenge that has come his way. “I’ve noticed that I’m becoming more determined.”

The position of Cross Captain has a special meaning to him.

“Being a captain does not necessarily mean being the fastest or the strongest. It means being the first in and the last out. You will carry the team, even if it might not be the easiest thing for you because you know that you can support (your teammates).”

He is also excited about the team’s future, believing the cross country team has a “good group of people.”

“I’m hoping that we have some great team captains that will help grow the team [next year],” he said.

One “important” detail about Michael is that his favorite food in the cafeteria is macaroni and cheese. “I remember when I would get an entire plate of it,” he said.

His favorite class is chemistry since “it’s always just fun playing around in the labs and they’re always a bit different with how everything interacts.”

He had a hard time picking a single favorite person, but he mentioned how he really got along well with Sawyer Neal, his roommate, Kelsey Hollingsworth, Chylar Gibson and Caleb Colley, as well as his other friends. He also stated, “And everyone else I’m just pretty chill with.”

Overall some advice he gave to the students of MSMS is to not procrastinate. “Put in the effort at the start or you will be dragging for the rest of the year.” He also stated that it was important to let yourself have a break. “You also don’t need to burn yourself out. Pacing yourself with work here is very useful.”

You can catch Michael at the last cross country meet, State Championships, on November 5. For everything else in MSMS sports, keep it tuned here to The Vision.