ATHLETE Alexis Dickerson ’18 has participated in a sport every season since she was five. As a high school standout in volleyball, basketball and track, she realized that her athletic ability could build a bridge to higher education. “You know, you could probably get a scholarship in throwing,” her dad said offhandedly one day toward the end of her freshman year of high school. “From that moment on,” Alexis said, “track was the thing we pushed for.” Dickerson’s love for track and field began at the age of 10 while visiting relatives in New Zealand. She lived with her extended family there until the age of 13, participating in the sport in elementary and middle school. She said she was drawn to the aggressiveness of discus and shot put. “You have to pack a lot of punch in a really short amount of space. It’s all about being explosive,” she explained. Dickerson returned to the U.S. and excelled as a high school athlete, setting the NCHSAA Classification 3A state record in indoor shot put in 2014 and records for shot put and discus at Western Alamance High School in Elon, NC. Those records, by the way, still stand.
Her dad was right: athletic scholarships were not a long shot, so to speak. She received a scholarship for women’s track and field and the George W. and David A. Potter Memorial Endowed Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to student-athletes, and her UNCW journey began. “My goal is to set the school record in shot put and discus,” she said. Currently, she is third in all-time outdoor shot put and third in indoor shot put for Seahawk Track & Field. She also holds the fifth all-time record in discus, at 141 feet and 9 inches. “I’m in training to be number one in all three before I graduate!” she added with a grin. Dickerson applies her track and field work ethic to her film studies major: being a team player, learning to work with large groups and refining her skills when working with different personalities. As an only child, she said her team is a family to her. “Everyone is super-close. These are relationships I never thought I’d have. They have affected how I do things, because everything I do isn’t a reflection of me – it’s a reflection of my team as well.” Like all students, Dickerson has given some thought to where she will be in a couple of years. “As a college athlete, you get to that stage where you think about what you’ll do after you graduate. Once you take away the sport, who am I without it?” Focusing on a film career will take precedence, but of one thing she is sure. “Whatever I do, I want to influence the world in a positive way.” – Venita Jenkins and Jennifer Glatt
“Whatever I do, I want to influence the world in a positive way.”