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Athlete Spotlight

An Ambitious Leader: Mackenzie Dixon

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Athlete Spotlight

Rory Arnold

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“Coming down the home stretch—runner’s high!” proclaimed freshman track and cross country runner Mackenzie Dixon about her love of running.

While the drudgery and exercise associated with slipping on track shoes and hitting the streets is something most of us hate to do, this contempt doesn’t apply to Dixon’s attitude.

        “I really love what I’m doing—it’s hard, but I love it,” Dixon said. “Running is self-meditating.”

        Dixon’s ambitions don’t just stop with her love, though, as she aims to be the best runner possible. She is already achieving goals during her first year at Millikin, even with a full schedule of biology and pre-med courses, responsibilities in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and being a mentor in the “My College Buddy Program.” Her passionate drive in order to be such an involved student stems from within.

        “I self-motivate,” she said. “I want to be good and there’s no point in me showing up if I’m going to be mediocre, so why wouldn’t I put my full effort into what I’m doing, which is what you should do for everything.”

        This self-motivation has helped guide Dixon to the forefront of the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, where she has proved to be one of the top runners, excelling at the 800 meter dash, the Distance Medley Relay, as well as the 4×400 and 4×800 meter relays. While this is already impressive in itself, Dixon says that she can run pretty much anything from a 300 meter race to a mile. And there’s no doubt she will be dominant in whatever distance she takes on.

        Though this determined runner has a lot to her name already, she knows that she couldn’t continue to be successful without her team.

        “I really like the atmosphere of running, I really like the team,” Dixon said. “Track and cross country are really good about everybody encouraging each other and always really working together as a team. I’m the only one out there running for myself, but everyone is still motivated to work together and it’s still like a team sport—and that’s a really big deal for me.”

        It’s this sort of humble demeanor that gives hope for the future of the Millikin track program, which has historically not been too successful, but looks bright for the future, with a young team of freshmen, including Dixon, who are bringing a new prowess and power to the conference.

        “We have a really young team,” Dixon said. “We don’t have a super large captain role, so each of us individually are really trying to help bring the team together, and we all kind of have our own leadership roles individually.”

        This newfound strength can be seen Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24 in Kenosha, Wisconsin at Carthage College, where Millikin will compete at the indoor conference meet.

        Dixon ranks first in conference for the 800 meter dash, and is hopeful to become a conference champion. Though this is an exciting opportunity for her and the entire team, Dixon looks ahead to the outdoor season.

        “I’m hoping to get [my 800 meter time] down to 2:15 and that would take me to nationals, which is my goal.”

        Dixon, whose personal record for the 800 meter dash is already 2:17, finds herself closer than ever to the ultimate goal—and is still only in the second semester of her freshman year. With such ambitions and accomplishments, Dixon is certainly the Millikin runner to keep an eye out for this season, as well as the next few years, due to her competitive attitude, humble demeanor, and passionate hard work.

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