Payne, who is an Eastern Michigan University signee, outlasted Hudson's Adam Beucler in what was one of the meet's more entertaining races. Both athletes held the lead on multiple occasions, but it was Payne who made a definitive move late to secure the victory. Beucler finished second due to his 9:13.65 effort. Following the race, the Thomas Worthington senior credited much of his success to the training that he shares with teammate and good friend, Arjun Jha.
According to the Thomas Worthington coaching staff, Payne's triumph marks the first male athlete to win an individual indoor state championship in school history and the first male runner to win an individual track and field state championship of any kind since 2001.