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Jaden Dix ends Eastside career on top, as a state champion
Jaden Dix
Jaden Dix on stage at his signing ceremony as he penned his national letter of intent to Jackson State on May 14. - photo by Garrett Pitts

After his junior track season ended in heartbreaking fashion, Eastside senior Jadyen Dix departed the Eagles program last Tuesday knowing he left it on top.

Dix signed his national letter of intent (NLI) to Jackson State University (JSU) last Tuesday in the Eagles’ auditorium in front of friends, coaches, teammates and family.

The senior  signed his NLI less than a week after he became a two-time state champion at the Class AAAAA championship.

In the boys’ 400-meter, Dix ran a time of 47.39 earned him first place. 

The 400-meter was a race Dix had on his mind going into the event, dating back to his junior season.

At the Region 8-AAAAA meet last year, Dix tripped in the final stages of the 400-meter, which led to him earning 15th place.

A year later, Dix stood at the top of the podium in the same event.

“With the 400-[meter], I didn’t even know I was going to win,” Dix said. “It was just me and Ian Hodge from Tucker at the 300-[meter mark], and all I had to do was just go.”

Eastside coach Frankey Iverson had nothing but great things to say about Dix following his signing on Tuesday.

“[Jaden is] a worker,” Iverson said. “He really brought in to our program, as far as track and field is concerned. He does everything we ask of him, and more. He is a teammate’s teammate. I am excited and elated that he was a part of our program and is able to continue his track career at Jackson State.”

After his 400-meter run, Dix was slated to run the 200-meter at the championship as well. However, he opted out.

The reason — keeping his legs fresh so he could put his all into the 4x400-meter relay with his teammates.

“After the 400-[meter] when I came back from the podium, coach Daniel and coach I had a talk with me saying, ‘Do you want to do the 200-[meter].’ I said, ‘No, If we want the school record I am going to have to have fresh legs, and I want my team to get it, too.’ 

As the last leg of Eastside’s relay team, Dix recalled what he saw leading up to him receiving the baton ahead of the final stretch.

“Going into the 4x400, we had the baton last going into the second leg,” Dix said. “Our second leg, William Sharpe, put us in fifth place, our third left, Jonas, tied us for first. When I got the baton, it was just me and Chapel Hill. All I had to do was go nonstop, that is all I had to do, just go.”

Dix completed the last leg and earned a time of 3:17.41, which became a new school record for Eastside in the boys’ 4x400-meter relay..

Getting across the finish line with his team is a moment that Dix described as his favorite as an Eagle.

“[It was] crossing the line on the 4x400 last Saturday, knowing it was my last meet running with my brothers,” Dix said.

The pair of first place finishes came just days before he signed to JSU.

On what was his final day inside the walls of Eastside as a student, Dix was thankful for it all.

“[It was] very overwhelming,” Dix said. “This is probably my last day at Eastside, [so] seeing all of them for the last time. A lot of emotions.”

The moment where Dix felt he could continue track at the next level came in just his second season.

“Sophomore year, after the region when I was running against Michael Simmons and I ran 49.7 [seconds],” Dix said. “That made me think I can really do something with track.”

Along with the track program, the attraction to JSU stemmed from his choice of major and being close to home.

“The coach found me, he just popped up and I went on my official visit,” Dix said. “Me and him talked and he was really cool. I looked into their engineering department because my major is electrical engineering. So I was like, ‘OK, this is very good, I like it.’ Everything was great about JSU. And plus, most of my family is from Mississippi, so I am back at home.”

After ups and downs as a member of Eastside track and field, Dix ended his career knowing he was a champion.

“‘I really did it,’” Dix said. “I like to say this all the time, “From falling in my regional meet last year to being a two-time state champ.’ All I can say is God is good.