Title Chase | TheUnion.com

Title Chase

Chase Dixon will be the last man standing in the western Nevada County prep sports scene this spring, when he steps into the blocks at the CIF State Track and Field Championships Friday at Cerritos College.

But if the Nevada Union senior has anything to say about it, the local high school sports season will stretch into Saturday.

And considering the times he’s been clocking in both of his hurdles events, it’s likely he back on the track for the finals.

Dixon won a section championship last week in the 300-meter hurdles in a school record 37.71 seconds and ran a school record 14.11 seconds in the 110 hurdles to also qualify for the state finals with a third-place finish.

In the weeks leading up to the section Masters meet, Dixon set new meet records in the 300 hurdles at the Nevada Union Invitational, the Sierra Foothill League meet and the section Division II meet.

“Let’s just say if someone had told me back in February that I’d be running these times, I would have laughed in their face,” Dixon said Wednesday during his final training session before catching a flight to Southern California today.

“My goals this year weren’t to get to state or anything like that. My goal was to get on the (school’s) record board. And once I did that and got on the board, I realized that state might be a possibility.”

The way things are coming together for him, at apparently just the right time, he now knows there are more possibilities still ahead than simply qualifying for the state finals.

He will enter the 110 hurdles with the fifth-fastest qualifying time, with Dominguez senior Devron Walker posting the top time of 13.89 seconds. Dixon owns the second-fastest time in the 300 hurdles, as both Taft sophomore Dale Morgan and Lynbrook senior Eric Surprenant each recording a time of 37.65.

NU coaches Jim Worthy and Nordis Ostrom, who has worked with Dixon since he was a middle school runner, expected a strong showing in the 300 hurdles. But the 14.11 seconds he posted in the 110-meter event was somewhat surprising.

“That’s fast,” said Ostrom. “We had seen his times drop in the 100 and 200, so we were kind of getting an inkling.”

Ostrom has suspected Dixon had this type of talent – which she considers to be the best in her 31 years of coaching track and field – since she first started working with him at Lyman Gilmore. It wasn’t that he was always the fastest, as he was often left off the sprint relay events in middle school, but the potential was clearly there.

“He was always so fluid and coordinated,” said Ostrom. “You could see it. You could just see it. The other kids were totally more developed than him – even now he looks like a little kid, comparatively speaking – but the coordination factor was always there. He’s light on his feet.”

Ostrom said no matter what the outcome of this week’s state meet, she believes Dixon’s best days are still far ahead. He’s planning to run at Butte College next fall with hopes of transferring into a Division I program down the road.

“I think he could do just about anything he wants out there,” she said. “Earlier this year, after our relay team fell apart, he asked if he could high jump, which hadn’t done since junior high. He cleared 5-10.

“I told him he couldn’t jump again though, because he hit his nose with his knee. Otherwise, though, I think that he could have jumped 6-2 that day.”

His fast times are likely due to a combination of that grace Ostrom saw long ago and his own physical maturity, as he has worked to get stronger in the offseason. But what has impressed his coaches the most is his growth as leader.

“He was an extremely introverted, shy kid,” said Ostrom, who plans to step away from coaching after this weekend. “But now, he’s running the first 45 minutes of practice and we’re just standing there watching him. For me, being a mom and a teacher, that’s just incredibly satisfying.

“Going out with a kid like him is sweet.”

Dixon said he’s enjoyed the support Ostrom has shown for him as he has grown into his own. Now he hopes to help her go out with a bang this weekend.

“It’s meant a lot,” he said. “She definitely has been a big influence on what I’ve done in track and field. It’s good to have always had her there through the years. I know she does believe in me.

“It’s not my main goal, but I know winning the 300 hurdles is not out of the question. My goal really at this point is to really just do my best – and medal, at the very least.”

To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail bhamilton@theunion.com or call 477-4240.

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