Freshman Diamond Dixon Prepares for Her First NCAA Championships
March 8, 2011
On the cusp of her first NCAA Indoor National Championships this weekend, Diamond Dixon will be the first to admit she is a little nervous, but also still has the confidence she has held through her entire first season as a Jayhawk.
“I’m really confident because I feel like I’ve been training really well, and have gotten the rest that I needed,” she explained before one of her final practices prior to the NCAA’s.
She should feel confident. In just three months into her first collegiate season, the freshman from El Paso, Texas has staked her claim as one of the country’s top female sprinters. She has recorded five top-three finishes in the 60, 200 and 400 meters so far this season. She has notched six top-three finishes as a member of the 4X400 meter relay team. That same team just last week broke the school record in the event with a time of 3:35.65. Two weeks ago, at the Big 12 Championships, Dixon broke the school record in the 400 meters, crossing the finish line in 55.10 and taking third place. With all these accomplishments coming so early in her KU career, her feelings of confidence are very much justified as she travels to College Station, Texas for Nationals this weekend.
“I can feel another PR coming,” she predicted of her performance this weekend. “I would love to break the school record again and get a top-three position.”
Even though many of her accolades have come as an individual, Dixon knows that her success this season could not have been accomplished without the help of others. She attributes much of her success to her teammates, who she says give her the motivation she needs when the chips are down.
“The thing I like best about KU track and field is their spirit,” she explained of her teammates. “We have a lot of team spirit and they root you on when you know you really need a win, and even when you’re down, they cheer you on.”
KU’s veteran track coach, Stanley Redwine, has also been a huge influence on Dixon as she has begun to develop as a top collegiate athlete.
“He’s been different. I’ve had so many coaches. It’s been nice to just have one coach who’s different. He’s been really good overall. I like him a lot.”
Coach Redwine was also a big reason for Dixon when choosing KU as her college destination. The highly touted recruit from Westside High School (El Paso) had offers from many other top programs from around the country, and for good reason. She was ranked number one in the country for the girls’ 400 meters, was a two time Texas State Champion in the 400 meters, and holds several school records. Even though many schools were offering, KU and Coach Redwine stood out above the rest.
“He was real,” Dixon said of what drew her most to her future coach. “He was all about what I wanted to do and make me the best athlete I could be. That stood out to me more than anything else.”
When she’s not competing at National Championship meets and breaking school records, Dixon is also working toward earning a Bachelor’s degree. Currently, she is undecided but is leaning toward an environmental science major. After her track career she would like to give college coaching a try as well. Her goals right now, though, mostly lend themselves to accomplishments on the track.
“I plan on being All-American this year, at this upcoming meet. I would really like to win nationals in the 400 meters and the 4X400 relay because I know we have the girls to do it,” Dixon said of her goals for the remaining indoor season. “I basically want to do that all four years if I can. After college I want to go pro, so we’ll see how that works out.”
Turning professional after college would mean going up against the world’s best female sprinters, which is something Dixon already has some experience with. Last summer, she joined the U.S. team for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada. She was a member of the 4X400 meter relay team and, en route to winning a gold medal, helped the team run the fastest time in the world last year. It’s easy to see why she says that has been her favorite track memory up to this point in her young career. If Dixon keeps performing at the same level she has shown throughout this season, perhaps she will be making some new life-long memories this weekend at the NCAA Championships.