Have you heard the incredible news?
Mountain View senior Ilene Dixon, running in her first cross country invitational, finished third. Not third in the junior varsity race, not third in the Milford Invitational, and not third on her team.She was third at the prestigious Oregon Trail Invitational in Vale, Ore. It's a national cross country meet that featured a good portion of the nation's top 20 teams.
Third. Wow. Let's check in at the Mountain View coaching office to get the reaction of some of her coaches.
Yep? That's it? No boasting from soccer coach Mike LaHargoue for letting her run? No sounding off the noisemakers confiscated during the basketball season?
For those who know Dixon, especially those who coach her, there's not much she can do that will surprise them. After all, as a freshman, she not only made the varsity soccer team, she started. She not only started, she played forward.
"She's been the leading scorer on the team the last three years," said LaHargoue. "She does four entirely different sports. I don't know how she does it. She always pushes herself."
Dixon has become an anchor on the No. 1-ranked Bruins soccer team. She led the team in scoring as a sophomore and a junior and so far this season tops Mountain View with 13 goals. She also has five assists.
Last week Dixon handed out two assists to help the Bruins upset Brighton 3-1 and climb back into the Region 3 title hunt.
"She's so quiet, she never causes any problems," LaHargoue added. "She leads by example."
It's actually soccer that's helped Dixon to run cross country. Even though she isn't participating in cross country workouts, the amount of running she does while playing soccer has kept her in good enough shape to elevate her to the No. 1 runner on the Bruins cross country team. That's especially impressive since it was ranked 14th nationally even before counting on Dixon.
She didn't decide to run cross country until after school started.
"I've always known she was a pretty decent distant runner," said Mtn. View cross country coach Dave Houle. "Right now I think she's among the top five runners in 5A. I wouldn't bet against her."
Saturday she proved her performance at the Vale meet was no fluke. She finished fourth at the Murray Invitational and helped the Bruins win the team championship.
Dixon actually ran distance races as a freshman in track. She competed in the 800, 1600 and 3200 and usually won all three, but she wasn't having much fun running and didn't especially like track.
So as a sophomore, Houle suggested to Dixon she try the 300 hurdles. She did and won the 5A state individual title. As a junior she competed in the 100 hurdles and 4X400 relay race at the state tournament. She repeated as 300 hurdle champ.
Dixon's also been working her way onto the basketball team. After playing sparingly on last year's state championship squad, she looks to be the starting off-guard this season.
She also finds time to study. She has a 3.8 GPA, all while dividing her time between four sports and never having an offseason.
As for her future, Dixon has no idea if or where she'll continue her athletic career in college. She's getting interest from BYU and Utah to play soccer.
"I guess you could say I've been blessed. I'm very self-motivated and I just want to do well for myself," Dixon said. "I'm in this to have fun. I'm not sure if I want to go on and play (in college)."
Whatever sport she decides, Houle knows Dixon will be successful. "You could pick any sport you want and Ilene Dixon would be the best or one of the best. She succeeds at whatever she does."