Student athlete spotlight: Payten Vidourek, an overcomer


Kaleb Gauthier

That was why Payten Vidourek decided to come to NSU and why he joined it’s Track and Field team as a long distance runner.

What motivates athletes to train and compete varies. For some, it’s the glory and the chance to make a name for oneself in the sport.

That was why Payten Vidourek, a junior business administration major, decided to come to Northwestern State University of Louisiana and why he joined the track and field team as a long-distance runner.

“I always told my mom I wanted to make a name for myself somewhere,” said Vidourek.

Vidourek, however, first found his love of sports in basketball.

“The plan was to run cross country in middle school to get in shape for basketball. Turns out I was pretty decent at it,” Vidourek said.

After running with his middle school team, Vidourek got better and better each year. By the time he reached eighth grade, Vidourek was soaring through the competition.

With such a talent for running, Vidourek was able to achieve academic all-district for four years in high school, third place in 2015 at state, fourth place state finisher in 1600m in 2017 and fourth place state finisher in 800m in 2019. The last race Vidourek did before leaving high school was a mile run at a record of 4:28 improving that record to 4:20.

An improvement of eight seconds and maintenance of skill all while of course dealing with the hardships of COVID-19 and injuries.

“Whenever we started outdoor season, it got canceled. Going into fall of 2020, that season also got canceled,” Vidourek said. “It was hard keeping my motivation up, because there was no race to look forward to.”

Following a year of canceled races, Vidourek received a stress fracture in his left foot that left him unable to run. Vidourek had to rehabilitate for three months in his first race of the season of 2021.

According to Vidourek, not being able to run at that time saddened him because of COVID-19 and his injury, but it gave him the opportunity to reflect and even further motivate himself by focusing on other things to improve on like lifting.

This, along with other focuses such as finishing college and getting his degree, is what has pushed Vidourek this far and he shows no signs of stopping or slowing down.