Joe Dixon: scholar, scientist, son

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There are plenty of reasons for people to run. For senior Joe Dixon, running is a way to escape the struggles life throws at him and to follow his dreams.

Dixon is on the men’s cross country and track and field teams at UW-Whitewater. Dixon is a runner, an honors student, an aspiring chemist, a dancer and a loving son.

Senior Joe Dixon has battled through injuries during his tenure on the Warhawk cross country and track and field teams. Dixon is hoping to qualify for nationals this year. Photo by Brandon Feivor.

Dixon has tried to make the most of his career as a Warhawk, but has seen his performance limited by injuries. He said this season has been average by his standards.

“When I was looking at schools, I wanted to make an impact as a freshman so I came to UW-Whitewater,” Dixon said. “It’s been disappointing because I come into every season in great shape and then I get injured, but it’s my last season and I know I’m capable of more.

“This season I want to finish well at conference to give my team a chance to knock off UW-La Crosse. I’m also on the brink of qualifying for nationals.”

Head coach Mike Johnson said Dixon has been key in the half mile and distance medley relay events, but that his personality is what makes him indespensible.

“Joe is very quiet, but once he opens up, he’s a character,” Johnson said. “The guy can put a smile on anyone’s face and can dance like nobody’s business.”

Johnson said he hopes Dixon can stay healthy this season so he can see his time in the half mile drop to the low 1:50s and continue setting an example for his teammates.

“He is a very dedicated person and carries himself with great confidence,” Johnson said. “Joe has grown into a respectable young man in his four years here, and is a great role model for our younger athletes.”

Dixon said his education has always been important to him. Not just because he is a first-generation college student, but because he hopes to be a chemist. After graduation Dixon plans to attend the University of Southern Florida to obtain a Ph. D.

Eventually Dixon hopes to conduct cancer research. He said the women in his family have a history of being diagnosed with cancer, including his mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago. Running and religion have been escapes for Dixon.

“As a Christian, I believe we are given certain gifts and I feel running is a way to give glory to God,” Dixon said. “Running is also a way for me to get over things that happen in my life like not knowing my real father, dealing with injuries and my mom’s health issues. I just go out there and try to do the best that I can.”

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