Cayden Dawson started running track in the eighth grade and was forced into only doing a half-season as a freshman due to injury. Her sophomore year was also cut short only competing in two meets due to COVID-19.
During Dawson’s junior year, she finally got to compete in a full season and is now entering her senior year, Dawson is excited to get on the track and finish her high school career strong. Last season she was state runner-up in cross country and state champion in the two-mile for track season.
“The state championship in both cross country and track were extremely nerve racking. This is the first year that I fully devoted myself to running and had felt the pressure to perform well. Even though the state championship for cross country wasn’t my best race, that didn’t take away from the incredible season I had experienced. From my sophomore season to my junior season I had taken one minute and ten seconds off my 5K time, which only encourages me for the future knowing that with hard work and determination I can continue improving,” said Dawson. “As for the two-mile in track, words cannot describe the joy I felt that day. Winning my first state title and breaking the state record are moments I will never forget. It was extremely encouraging to see all the hard work and sacrifices I had made during the season pay off. After the race the only thing I wanted to do was run up to my friends and family and give them a huge hug. Without their encouragement and support mentally and physically, I couldn’t have done it.”
This season coming into cross country, Dawson has set some difficult goals for herself as she looks to go from runner-up to state champion.
“This year my personal goal for cross country is to break 18 minutes. With running 18 flat last year I want to break the barrier of 18 minutes that hasn’t been done by a girl in Oklahoma in several years,” said Dawson. “Once summer comes to a sad end and school picks back up, the first race back is never scary for me. It’s mostly exciting. I always start to get an itch to race again after the long break and I also get excited to see where I’ll be at compared to the previous year.”
Being part of this team is something special for Dawson.
“I love how my teammates at Bixby are so encouraging. They are so uplifting and always yell funny things when I run past them to try and make me laugh and distract me from any discomfort. During every two mile race this season, my teammates would yell about how they loved the braid in my hair,” said Dawson.
Academics are always a focus for Dawson.
“Academics are extremely important to me. I understand that running will not be forever, but my education will be. After college I hope to be a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist,” said Dawson
In her free time you can usually find her spending it with those closest to her.
“I love to spend time with friends swimming, hiking, or ham-mocking. I also found a love for baking and cooking things. I’m always trying out new recipes and whipping up desserts in the kitchen to enjoy with my family,” said Dawson.