Florida State track coach Bob Braman knew he had a find when he convinced Walter Dix, one of the top runners in the state of Florida to attend FSU.
He just never knew how good Dix would be. Once he started to figure it out, he was shocked beyond all expectations.
Dix stunned a lot of people in the track and field world with a fourth place finish in the 100-meter final at the U.S. Track and Field championships at Carlsbad, Calif. on June 25 to qualify for the 4x100m relay team that will head for Helsinki, Finland, site of the AIAAF World Championships. He barely missed finishing in the top three which would have qualified him for the open 100m event, but the fourth through sixth finishers qualify for the relay team.
Braman was excited when he recruited Dix out of Coral Springs High School in south Florida, but he never expected Dix would be on the world class stage so soon.
"He had a better season than I could have ever dreamed for,'' Braman said. "He still has to work on his start, his strength, and his training, but he has plenty of time to improve.''
Dix's impressive summer started in late May when he set an American junior record in the men's 100 meters at the NCAA East Regional championships in New York City. He led the qualifying heat with a 10.06 time to top the record of 10.07. He ran the finals in 10.22 and ran the 200m at 20.23 which ranks fourth on the all-time list.
Braman said Dix has all the tools to be a potential Olympian. In fact, Dix has his sights set on the 2008 Games already.
"He has his eyes on it and he knows what he needs to do to get there,'' Braman said. "We have the best sprinters in the world here in the U.S., but Dix would already be an Olympian if he had finished one spot higher in California.
Dix and teammate Ricardo Chambers, out of Dwyer High School in South Florida, are the future of the Florida State track team. Chambers ran a 44.87 in the 400m and, with both of them returning to Florida State next year, the Seminoles might be the class of the country.
"With them coming back, we have the top ranked runners in two events,'' Braman said. "They can only get better. Walter has such a great work ethic and he decided to stay in school all summer to keep training. He knows what he wants.''
Dix may shut it down for a month or so after returning from the Caribbean Championships that start on July 8, but he's already preparing for the world championships in Helsinki.
Braman said he is encouraged by Dix's progress after only one year and said things can only get better.
"In 25 years as a track coach, I have never seen anyone perform like this,'' Braman said. "He's only starting to become everything he can be. This year was just a start.''