Athlete Spotlight: Pearson Mixon


Photo by: Cullen Dore

Pearson Mixon, sophomore cross country athlete and track MVP, makes strides toward creating his own legacy at FMU.

Though he had a later start to his sport than most, cross country and track-and-field sophomore, Pearson Mixon, runs with a passion and drive that awarded him the MVP title for the track team in early 2021 and propels him towards even more success in the 2021-2022 season.

“I’m glad that I picked it up whenever I did and not so early on because I’d hate to be one of those people who gets burnt out of their sport,” Mixon said. “I don’t want to do it for so long that I’m like, ‘I don’t want to keep doing this;’ I’m at the point now that I really enjoy it.”

Mixon was never heavily involved in sports until his high school years. He started playing soccer as a freshman, but his junior year is when he adopted cross country and track. There was some difficulty at first, but he soon hit his stride.

“Cross country and track especially are all mental,” Mixon said. “When I am in a race, the only things I focus on are the people in front of me and the people behind me. I don’t really focus on myself too much. You are always chasing somebody, so you have to work to get to where they are at.”

That internal competitive instinct caused him to push through the initial pain of starting cross country. Though there is a significant amount of cardio in soccer, the switch to serious running involved a learning curve.

“After a while, your body gets used to it,” Mixon said. “The more and more you do, the more your body can withstand.”

He did, indeed, withstand it; he withstood it so well he now performs at the Division II collegiate level. This may not have been an initial childhood dream, but Mixon would not trade his experience with running for anything.

“During weekdays, we have practice at 6 a.m., and we usually get in anywhere from 8-10 miles per day,” Mixon said. “It was a big adjustment at first, but once you get used to it, you’re really grateful for it.”

His career at FMU is also enhanced because he is a Florence native with many family ties to the school.

“I just felt—considering this was my home, I grew up in Florence—I didn’t want to start over,” Mixon said.

He felt most comfortable here, so he jumped at the opportunity to continue his passion while staying in a place he loved.

“It just felt natural to come here,” Mixon said. “From an academic standpoint, from a social standpoint, everything just fell into place. I’ve loved it here so far; I wouldn’t want anything else.”

As a sophomore, he stands by his decision. One of his teammates, sophomore mass communications major Cullen Dore, and Mixon were Florence school rivals turned close friends. According to Mixon, Dore had a relatively big impact on his recruiting process and helped convince him to attend FMU. Along with his friendship with Dore, Mixon also attributed his love for the sport to his love for his teammates.

“They’re a great group of guys,” Mixon said. “We’re with each other every single day. I’m with them every morning at 6 a.m., so you get kind of used to having them around.”

In addition to his athletics, Mixon is pursuing a degree in marketing with plans to add another major down the road. He does not know what he would like to do with it yet, but he has a good cushion of time to figure it out. Though he is a sophomore, Mixon has an extra year of eligibility the plans on using to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration in his fifth year.

“Because of COVID-19 last year, the NCAA granted athletes another year of eligibility,” Mixon said. “I’ll be able to run and pursue my master’s at the same time. It works out very well.”

He is also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity on campus, a fraternity his father was a part of, too. As a legacy to the school and the fraternity, Mixon takes pride in his present position.

“My dad was a PIKE here,” Mixon said. “With the chapter just coming back, it just feels nice following my dad’s footsteps.”

A long-term product of Florence with plans to strengthen his roots, Mixon is here to stay. You can find him running along Florence roads almost every morning and participating in meets to represent FMU periodically through the fall and spring.