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All-Region male athlete of the year: AJ Dixson, Prairie

Senior said he benefitted from being a three-sport standout

By , Columbian staff writer
4 Photos
All-Region multi-sport male athlete of the year, senior AJ Dixson, is pictured at Prairie High School on Monday morning, June 15, 2020.
All-Region multi-sport male athlete of the year, senior AJ Dixson, is pictured at Prairie High School on Monday morning, June 15, 2020. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Like all high school spring athletes whose seasons were cut short because of coronavirus concerns, Prairie High’s AJ Dixson didn’t get a chance to prove what he set out to achieve.

But he is certain of one thing: he would’ve left Prairie High School as a state champion.

“I’ll say that 100 times through,” Dixson said.

What Dixson is talking about is Prairie’s 4×100 relay team in track and field. It placed second at the 3A state meet in 2019 with Dixson part of that quartet.

“This year,” he said, “we were way faster.”

But having a season cut short has a silver lining for Dixson, The Columbian’s All-Region male multi-sport athlete of the year. He has a better appreciation for his accomplishments representing Prairie, and taking away true values of what being a multi-sport athlete can do for him post-high school.

Not only did Dixson shine as all-league in football and basketball, but had a breakout year as a leader in all three of his sports.

No Prairie football team since 1992 did what the Falcons did last fall behind Dixson’s league offensive MVP season at quarterback. The team won a league title and reached the 3A state playoffs while setting numerous program records. He finished with 1,000-plus yards in both passing and rushing and accounted for 38 touchdowns.

Two years ago is when Dixson transitioned from wide receiver to quarterback.

“I might’ve not been in the position that I was made to play,” he said, “but I think I did a good job filling that role and being a leader on the team. And letting the team become a family, really.

“It was a family more than a team.”

He took on an expanded role in basketball not only continuing to be a dominant defender, but a proven scorer. Dixson was one of three all-league Falcons on a team that reached bi-districts.

But never before had Dixson been more prepared for a spring track and field season like 2020. He worked with a personal trainer and was set to achieve his best season yet in the sprints and jumps before spring sports ended after two weeks and no competition.

“This year, I took pride in it,” Dixson said. “It’s disappointing it ended early. … We would’ve had that championship.”

Prairie pride means something special for Dixson. He and twin brother, Zeke, were home-school students who competed for Prairie all four years in football, basketball, and track and field.

Being a multisport athlete — especially three sports throughout high school — is important and can provide so much, AJ Dixson said, from better social skills to learning to showing true colors in leadership.

He knows those traits can only help him now as a high school graduate who gears up to play college football next season. He and Zeke Dixson signed letters of intent in February to play football at NCAA Division II Western Oregon.

“Sports helped me blossom into the social aspect of life,” Dixson said. “Speaking in front of others, and becoming a leader, and I feel like that will help me later in life.”

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