The Dixon Sisters
Marion County High School
Buena Vista, Georgia
by Beth Welch
photography by Beth Welch
People who know Anthony Dixon probably don’t ask him to commit to anything between 5-7 p.m. on weekdays during the school year. That’s because Dixon is more than likely tied up with retrieving five of his high school-aged daughters from their various sports practices.
“When they get started, we get the schedules and work out the time,” says Dixon of the logistical maneuvers required to ensure everyone is where they need to be each day. “It’s not so much the games because those are set. It’s the practices that require effort.”
It takes approximately two hours to transport all five of the girls from their sports practices or after-school activities at Marion County High School in Buena Vista, Georgia. Even with the oldest, Julia, 18, helping out sometimes with carpooling, the process is lengthy.
This spring might bring a little relief. Julia Dixon and her sisters - Elisabeth, 17; Rachel, 16; Sarah, soon to be 15; and Rebecca, 14 - will be members of the MCHS girls track and field team. Playing the same sport at the same time will be helpful but that hasn’t always been the case.
Rachel and Rebecca run cross country in the fall and play basketball in the winter. This is Rachel’s third season as a varsity basketball player for the Lady Eagles while Rebecca is just starting the sport. She was solely a middle school cross country athlete last year. This year, Rebecca joins her older sibling on the basketball court, where both girls are guards.
Last year, Sarah participated on the middle school track and field team and has moved up to the high school level for 2011. Julia, Elisabeth and Rachel have been members of the school’s track team since they began high school.
The Dixons are serious about their active lifestyles and strive to make everything come together as smoothly as possible for everyone’s benefit. They credit their brother, Abraham, with creating the desire to participate in sports.
“My older brother ran track. When he started running track I saw it and I wanted to do it,” says Julia. “We kind of joke about it now but on the first day of track practice I kind of hyperventilated and said I was never coming back but eventually I got my breathing right. I enjoy running now.”
Elisabeth adds that watching Abraham participate in track inspired her to give track a try, which had a domino effect in her family.
“They would come out and run with us at home before they were in the sixth grade so they were kind of unofficial members of the track team,” she says.
Elisabeth ran cross country one season but eventually settled in with two events in track and field, the 4x400-meter relay and the 400-meter dash. Of the five sisters, Rachel participates in the most athletic events with Rebecca coming in a close second.
This basketball season, Rachel is working hard to improve some areas she considers to be weak in her game but knows without a doubt her strengths.
“Defense,” she says. “Anticipating the ball is what I do best. But track is my favorite sport.”
The youngest two sisters, Sarah and Rebecca, are freshman and just beginning to find their way in high school. They laugh about being categorized as “Julia’s sister” or “Elisabeth’s sister” but know they are individuals looking to forge their own paths.
Sarah recently won the Punt, Pass and Kick 2011 Atlanta Falcons Team Championship event by placing first in the Female 14-15 division. She had previously placed first at the local and sectional levels. Rebecca participated in the Plains Peanut Festival 5K Road Race and took first place in the Female 11-14 age group.
All five girls will be on the school’s track team for the first time, which might produce a little sibling rivalry according to MCMS athletic director and assistant principal David Wells. Wells informed the sisters of a situation now brought on by having five instead of three as members of the girls 4x400m relay event.
“There are five of you out there now and only four of you can be on the relay team so which one of you is willing to step aside?” jokes Wells.
Besides attending school and playing sports together, the Dixon girls also share bedrooms and chores at home. That is a lot of “togetherness” but each girl notes they not only like it, they enjoy the time spent with one another.
“I like knowing Julia or Elizabeth or one of my sisters is on the same team with me because I know they have my back if I need them,” says Rebecca.
While Julia admits “siblings will be siblings,” the girls get along well. They share clothing and often lend a hand to one another. With two of the sisters looking at colleges for the fall, all five realize life is changing for them.
“Julia and I went to Princeton for a seven-week camp this summer and due to an odd number of girls who attended, I actually got a room by myself. It was very strange to be without everyone, well, except Julia,” says Elisabeth, adding, “It was quiet, too,” which brings laughter from the sisters.
All five Dixon daughters excel in academics. Their list of accomplishments, awards and honors (especially those of the two older sisters) is staggering. Each carries a perfect or near perfect grade point average. All are involved in community service work and participate in numerous school-related activities. The two seniors, Julia and Elisabeth, have been mind-bogglingly busy in their academic pursuits. They are still in the hunt for a college but their biggest problem is narrowing down their choices because they have had so many offers.
Julia, the unofficial spokesperson of the sisters, has a plan to pursue education in medicine, perhaps in pediatrics. She would like to play intramural sports in college but is not looking to extend her athletic abilities beyond that venue.
Elisabeth has her eye on a college in New York but regardless of where she winds up, she plans to major in broadcast journalism. Like her older sister, she isn’t planning on playing sports at the next level but values the lessons learned from participating in high school athletics.
Rachel, Sarah and Rebecca appear to be more content to let their elders speak but each possesses a quick smile and a warm, engaging nature. They still have a little while to think on their future plans and to bring their school resumes up to the level of their older sisters. The younger three are more open to the idea of being collegiate athletes as a means to attend college by way of sports scholarships. The three also are interested in pediatric nursing for careers after college.
For a few more months the sisters will continue to work diligently in school, play hard in sports and be good-natured about being known as “The Dixon Girls” instead of individuals. They are quite comfortable being confused for one another, often joking about it.
“We have one teacher who just calls us Dixon One, Dixon Two, Dixon Three…” says one of those Dixon Girls with a laugh.
No matter what names are used, Wells says the girls are everything any educator and coach would want in a student athlete.
“These girls don’t just set the example for others,” says Wells. “They are the example.”
Track and Field/Sports participation and accomplishments
All-Region Track and Field Team Member 2010, 2011
Region Champion Girls 1600-Meter Relay 2010, 2011
Region Champion Girls 800-Meter Run 2011
Placed ninth in state in Girls 1600-Meter Relay 2010
Region Champion Girls 4x400m Relay 2010, 2011
State participant in 4x400m Relay 2010, 2011
All-Region Track Team member 2010, 2011
All –Region Cross Country Team Member 2008
State participant in Cross Country 2008
4x400 m Relay
All-Region Cross Country Team Member 2009, 2010, 2011
Fifth-place Region Winner 2009, sixth place in 2010, seventh place in 2011
Region Track and Field Team Member 2009
All-Region Track and Field Team Member 2009, 2010
Placed first in Region in 4x400m Relay 2009, 2010
Selected by coach as Varsity Girls Basketball Defensive Player of the Year 2009, 2010
Placed second in Region in 100-Meter Dash 2010
Participated in all three events as an eighth-grader
Cross Country Regional Winner 2011
Member of Varsity Girls Cross Country 2011-12 (Placed third in Region)
Varsity Girls Basketball Player 2011-12