DES MOINES, Iowa -- Walter Dix is on the way back. Dix is the new national outdoor champion in the 100 meters, though, and that's a good way for the once-emerging sprinter to keep putting a trying 2009 season behind him.
Dix captured his first 100 title at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday. Allyson Felix joined him as first-time winners at the national outdoor meet.
Dix won bronze medals in the 100 and 200 in Beijing two years ago before getting derailed last year by a hamstring injury and a contract dispute with his former agent.
Dix dominated a thin men's field at Drake Stadium, winning in 10.04 seconds and setting up a potential sprinters double. Dix should be among the favorites in Sunday's 200 final.
Felix, a two-time Olympic silver medalist in the 200, fought through the heat and a strong headwind and finished in 11.27 seconds -- the slowest at this meet since 1977.
Bernard Lagat won his seventh outdoor title and fourth in the 5,000, holding off Tim Nelson to win by less than a second.
Lauren Fleshman was the surprise winner of the women's 5,000, crossing in 15 minutes, 28.70 seconds.
Kara Patterson was the star of the field events, shattering the American record in the javelin with a toss of 218 feet, 9 inches. Patterson made the record-setting throw on her final attempt, breaking Kim Kreiner three-year-old mark of 210-7.
The men's 100, typically the glamour event of the sprinting world, lacked some serious sizzle this year in Iowa.
American record-holder Tyson Gay was sidelined by a hamstring injury and Shawn Crawford, a fourth-place finisher in Athens six years ago, scratched late to focus on his training.
The race got off to a rough start, too, when Travis Padgett lunged out too quickly and was disqualified. Dix had no troubles on the restart, making his push 60 meters in to beat Trell Kimmons by 0.23 seconds. Ivory Williams took third.
"It felt all right. Started out kind of sluggish but I finished where I wanted to. I felt good about it," Dix said.
Felix is a 200 specialist, having won five national outdoors 200s. Her slow time was caused in part by a warm and blustery evening in Des Moines, but she'll take it.
LaShaunte'a Moore took second in 11.34.
"I'm still sticking with my plan this year to focus on the 200 and the 400," Felix said. "This was really just all about getting some speed work in and a fun way to do it, to come to nationals and do it. I've always done it, but it's never been my strong point."
Kreiner was sidelined by injuries and missed the meet, but she texted her friendly rival with congratulations. Patterson said the crowd, which clapped before her final throw as though it were a long jump, gave her a much-needed boost.
"A little extra energy, I guess," Patterson said.
The biggest development from Friday's semifinals came from 400 star Sanya Richards-Ross, who ran 51.82 and said afterward that she might scratch from Saturday's final because of a lingering right quadriceps injury.
Richards-Ross got hurt the day before she was to run in the Penn Relays in late April and hadn't competed until Thursday. Richards-Ross, who's been ranked No. 1 in the world for the past five years, said she'll get treatment and decide if she'll run on Saturday morning.
A lot of that depends on her lane assignment. The further out Richards-Ross is seeded the better, because the sharp turn on the inside lane is much harder on her injury.
"I don't feel like I have the turnover that I'd like to have," Richards-Ross said. "I definitely want to be out there. I want to compete. I mean, I didn't come here to scratch either. But at the end of the day, it is somewhat of an off-year, so I just want to stay healthy this season."
Lolo Jones, who grew up in Des Moines and is favored to win the 100-meter hurdles on Saturday, topped the first round with a 12.82. It was an encouraging start for Jones, who showed up in her hometown feeling ill earlier this week.
"I just got a Kleenex right before the start line from the trainer, so that was nice of him," Jones joked. "It's all good."
Jones figures to get pushed by Ginnie Powell and Damu Cherry, who upset Jones on this track at the Drake Relays in late April.