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Dixon boys are identical in more ways than one
By Sandy Stevens
Editor’s Note: The following column first appeared in WIN, Volume 19, Issue 11 and printed Aug. 1, 2013.
One weight after another, Lance, Joel and Andrew Dixon captured 2013 Oklahoma state championships at 182, 195 and 220 pounds. One after another, they’ve won multiple other tournaments, including the Tulsa and Reno national championships.
Now all three can add “Fargo All-American” to their resumes, an amazing feat for brothers. But the Dixons aren’t just any set of siblings. They are virtually identical triplets.
From birth on, this triple threat has sported similar heights and weights — now between 5-foot-11 and 6 inches tall and a natural 182 pounds.
“I’m only the heaviest because I chose to go (to that weight),” said Andrew of the Junior Duals. “We played Rock/Paper/Scissors and I lost.”
Seniors-to-be at Edmond North High School, the trio helped coach Andy Schneider’s Huskies capture their first-ever 6A state, academic state and dual state titles this past winter.
Sons of Tom and Linda Dixon — respectively, a machinist at The Daily Oklahoman and Cord Blood Manager at the Oklahoma Blood Institute — the boys entered Hardel Moore’s wrestling program at age 8.
“We started swimming when we were 4 or 5 and we absolutely hated it,” explained Andrew. “Mom said we had to pick another sport, so we started wrestling.”
They also played baseball until dropping it a year ago to concentrate on freestyle wrestling, but they still make up the gridiron defensive line, where the coaches struggle to tell them apart.
That’s not a problem for the wrestling coaches, however.
“They get to know us on a more personal level,” Andrew said.
Up close, Joel has a scar on his right cheek, left by a frightened stray cat when Joel was 7. Lance sports freckles in the shape of a triangle on his left cheek.
But more definitive differences exist; for example, Joel is considered the most laid-back.
“Lance is more talkative until … well, pretty much until dawn,” Joel said. “Andrew is the same way if you get him in his comfort zone, but I’m not really a talker.”
Their wrestling styles also differ, Linda said.
“Andrew’s very cautious; he wrestles every smart and capitalizes on other’s mistakes,” she said.
“Lance is the risk-taker. He’s going to be the one who’ll give you a heart attack.
“Joel is extremely physical but non-emotional. He’s the greatest poker player who ever lived.”
Even the way the threesome warms up is telling.
“Joel taps his foot. That means he’s excited,” Linda said. “Lance is pacing like a caged animal; Andrew’s not comatose like Joel, but he’s just very in control.
“Tom’s like Joel … quiet and he paces,” she added. “Nobody really knows he’s their dad.”
During high school meets, Linda announces on the Internet, forcing her to stay calm, she said. But when she’s in the stands, her distinctive loud whistle provides a positive way to encourage her sons.
Watching each other compete is tough on the brothers.
“Watching Lance makes me very nervous,” Joel said. “I feel like it’s my match; I can’t even warm up. I warm up before his match.
“When Andrew’s out there, I’ll stay and focus on him. I won’t stand up, but I will make sure I’m in the front row and watching him.”
And when Andrew’s the third to wrestle?
“When I get out on the mat, I’m sweating,” he said, “and it’s not just from the warm-up.”
At Fargo this summer, Lance placed sixth at 170 pounds and Joel was second at 195, while Andrew (who finished 4-2 at 182 pounds this summer) gained All-American status at the weight class in 2012. Had any competed in the same weight and met in the finals, though, they would have wrestled to determine a single winner. Joel and Lance have met in the finals of at least three tournaments with Joel edging his way to wins in all three.
As the wrestling triad grew up, Andrew recalled, “We had broken sofas all the time, windows breaking. And our sisters used to beat up on us all the time until we started getting muscles.”
Those sisters are outstanding athletes who have landed full rides to colleges.
Miranda, a softball pitcher and Gatorade Player of the Year, graduated from the University of Arkansas and is pursuing a Ph.D. in physical therapy.
Leslie, a catcher (and all-state swimmer), graduated from Arkansas and then joined the University of Central Oklahoma rowing team for her fifth year of eligibility while pursing a master’s degree.
Jordan, who pitched Edmond North to the 2013 6A state title, will head to Marshall University in West Virginia this fall.
The Dixon triplets plan to wrestle in college … preferably for the same school. Andrew, who carries a 3.8 GPA, anticipates heading toward orthopedic surgery; Joel, 3.7, is interested in criminology; and Lance, 3.7, who is involved in Edmund’s Youth Leadership program, looks to political science.
Joel credits wrestling for instilling discipline and a hard work ethic, along with “making sure I get my priorities straight.”
But having brothers cheering you on lends something special to the sport.
“I train with them; I do everything with them,” Joel said. “I couldn’t do it without them.”