Olympic sprint star Walter Dix, a man of few words, raised a few eyebrows this past summer when he proclaimed South Broward sprint star Kahlil Henderson a future Olympian.
Dix led workouts with Henderson and witnessed the build, long strides, work habits and rare ability to “go get someone” on the straightaway which makes Henderson a 200-meter prototype. Even with those attributes and a ringing endorsement from one of the all-time great Florida prep sprinters, Henderson can silence all questions about his consistency with a 200-meter title at the BCAA track championships at Dillard on Saturday.
“I believe I’m a little under the radar but I plan on changing that.” Henderson said. “Right now I fit in with the top sprinters in the state but at the end of the year I plan on being number one in the 200.”
Henderson can take a big step toward that goal by proving he’s the top 200 runner in what is expected to be a hotly contested BCAA field and running the most pivotal legs on the Bulldogs’ 400-meter relay and 1,600-meter relay teams.
Fort Lauderdale’s Lamark Campbell (21.73), St. Thomas Aquinas’ Dion Collier (22.06), Piper’s Andre Ewers (21.93) and Blanche Ely’s Rashard Robinson (22.00) poise the biggest challenge to Henderson claiming his first BCAA title and second 200 crown since he went a U.S. No. 4 21.21 at the Hallandale Invitational on March 9.
As if the 200 didn’t already have enough buzz, Robinson stoked the fire even more at the BCAA North qualifier on Wednesday when he boldly predicted a sweep of the 100- and 200-meter titles. Campbell, Ewers, Collier, Robinson and Henderson might also play a huge role in which team takes the coveted boys 400-meter relay.
Henderson made a splash as a sophomore when he ran 21.09 in the 200. Since that time, Henderson’s biggest drawback to matching that personal-best has been inconsistency running through the tape. Henderson appears to glide out of the blocks and can pick off runners with the best of them. What ultimately separates Henderson from the split second between first or second is whether he attacks the finish line as he does running the curve.
At the 2012 FHSAA Class 4A state championships, Henderson ran a season best 21.24 in the 200 prelims only to come back and run 21.55 to finish second in the finals.
South Broward coach Washington Dix, Walter Dix’s father, has made Henderson’s finish a point of emphasis and projects Henderson will be in position to break the 20.58 state record at this year’s state finals.
“At times Kahlil sees that finish line and starts breaking down,” Washington Dix said. “We’ve been working to set his mind past the finish line. Once he starts running through that line, we will see a tremendous drop in time. Kahlil will be the state champion. I’m looking for him to take the 200 and run away with it.”