"Hard Work Changes Things..."

                                                ...Coach Joe Bill Dixon

Zizzer Tradition

Everyone wants to make a difference – to know that their life’s work was significant. At the end of your life satisfaction will come in knowing that the choices you made were made in the best interest of those you love most, and left you with dignity and integrity; that your life’s work had meaning and serves a greater good even at your departure; that people were positively affected by you when they were in your presence; and that you loved and were loved by one other person above all others.


Coach Dixon is a man that lives a life of significance as a teacher and coach. He is a man that chooses to live a simple life in an extraordinary way. He is a champion that does not seek the limelight or any glory, just the shear satisfaction that comes with the journey of winning. He is a man that has dedicated his entire life to molding young boys into men and young girls into ladies. Coach Dixon is a husband and father that never put his highly successful career ahead of doing that which is right. He is a disciple of Christ that has avoided taking any credit of successes for his own but has insisted that all his victories are due to the grace of God and his attempt to follow life’s principles set forth by God in His Holy Word.


From 1978 -1990 Coach Joe Bill Dixon had already led his cross-country teams at West Plains High School to six state championships and through the suggestion and urging of a number

of different coaches he established the Wilderness Running Camp. Some felt that sharing his secrets would ruin his own program, and Coach Dixon even admits to entertaining this doubt on occasion, but deep inside him he had a passion for helping others succeed and he knew that it wasn’t his knowledge that drew the success but the hard work and dedication of him and his athletes, and this was the rare quality that separated the Zizzers from their opponents across the state.


In fact in the decade following the inception of the Wilderness Running Camp the Zizzers won 8 state championships and have won 12 in all since the beginning of the camp accumulating 25 state championships in all since he became the head cross-country coach 34 years ago.


Zig Ziglar says, “You can get everything in life that you want if you help enough other people get what they want.” Coach Dixon has lived this philosophy out with his Wilderness Running Camp and it has improved his program tremendously while increasing the level of competition in distance running across the entire state of Missouri, and arguably the Midwest.


Team State Championship Trophies



1st Place Trophies: 13

2nd Place Trophies: 11

3rd Place Trophies: 5

4th Place Trophies: 3

Total Trophies: 32



1st Place Trophies: 12

2nd Place Trophies: 9

3rd Place Trophies: 2

4th Place Trophies: 1

Total Trophies: 24


Individual State Champions

1981: Chris Zinn- 16:19.1 (4A)

1982: Chris Zinn- 15:55.3 (4A)

1983: Chris Zinn- 15:46.7 (4A)

1985: Jon Hatley- 15:58.7 (4A)

1991: Lisa Brown-19:36.8 (4A)

1993: Sean Carlson-16:21.5 (4A)

1994: Sean Carlson- 16:31.0 (4A)

2000: Jason Sandfort-15:43.2 (4A)

2004: Jennifer Harper- 19:26.7 (3A)

2005: Brittani Johnson- 18:42.5 (3A)

2006: Brittani Johnson- 19:01.9 (3A)



Kinney/ Foot Locker Nationals

1983: Chris Zinn 5th Place- 15:09.7 (San Diego)

1985: Jon Hatley 7th Place- 14:53.3 (San Diego)

1991: Lisa Brown 8th Place- 18:12.3 (San Diego)

2000: Jason Sandfort 30th Place- 16:00 (Orlando)

2002: Joshua Harper 16th Place- 15:24.3 (San Diego)



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