KHQA STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK PRESENTED BY CELL TECH, SUBWAY, AND PETERS HEATING AND AIR
Class Rank: 1st
College Choice: Westminster (Basketball)
Intended Major: Athletic Training (with eventual goal of getting a Doctorate in Physical Therapy)
School Involvements: President of FBLA, National Honor Society Vice President, Senior Class President, President of 4-H Club, Captain's Club, Competed at FBLA State Leadership Conference for three years running. A+ Tutor for Paris Elementary School
On Tuesday, she scored the 1000th career point of her basketball career for the Paris Coyotes.
Today she is the first ever Student Athlete of the Week Honoree from her school
But lofty achievements are all in a day's work for Payton Gruber; a young lady whose reputation for great floor leadership doesn't end at the basketball court.
We're a small town so we need people to step up and lead. I just feel like, ever since I was little, I was a natural born leader. So like, if if someone was up against me to get President, I am like "i've got to have that, I've got to have that" (laughs) It's the same thing with being captain of our basketball team. It's all a leadership thing. And just it means so much to me that my entire school backs me up whenever I al leading something."
Or in Payton Gruber's case: everything. The Paris Senior has been a dynamic, dare I say irresistible force in trying to bring a touch of excellent to her every involvement. And that list, for a young lady who also just happens to be simultaneously caring a senior class best 3.96 GPA while starring in a pair of sports, is considerable.
"That's just me. Like..I love leading other people. And I love leading by example. Making programs the absolute best they can be. Like my FBLA Chapter. Senior Class President. My 4-H Club, even. I just want them all to be the best they can absolutely be."
But nowhere does that mission carry more weight with Payton the Point Guard than in spurring a Basketball renaissance in Coyote Country.
"When I got into high school, the Paris Lady Coyotes were not comparable to our boys. What I always wanted was people to show up to our games and be excited and want to watch us too. So when our Senior Class, of course we were Freshman at the time, but my senior class, when we got into high school we wanted to build a program that where after we left, it was going continue to be great. So basically, we just came in with that attitude that we want to be good, we want to be good. You know we've been playing together since 4th grade so we know each other really well. We just wanted to compete at the highest level we could for our high school."
"I want our fans to get excited. And they are. You can see our crowd out there and they are so excited to watch us. All I've ever wanted was to go to high school, be awesome, be great. Do all this stuff and hopefully go to college and play basketball. My dreams are just coming true right before my eyes and it's the best feeling I've ever had."
And next year that wish will come true for Payton Gruber by way of Fulton, Missouri.
" I've actually commited to Westminster in Fulton. I'm planning to play basketball in the fall. I plan on majoring in athletic training. And if everything goes well, I will transfer to another university and go my doctorate in Physical Therapy. I am so excited to be a Blue Jay next year.