Nolan Catholic track athlete blossoms into four-gold threat

Fort Worth Nolan Catholic's Daniel Walker will be showcasing his considerable skills this weekend at the TAPPS state track and field meet in Waco.

The senior has a legitimate opportunity to claim gold medals in four events, based on his performances over the season.

Walker set the standard for TAPPS 5A in the triple jump (46 feet, 8 3/4 inches), is No. 2 in the long jump (22-2) and is a top-five performer in the 200-meter dash (22.38 seconds) and the 4x400 relay (3:28.82).

"Daniel is a quiet young man," coach Larry Holmes said. "He leads by example and is one of those kind of guys that you like to have on your team. He is not really noticeable until that gun goes off."

This track season is just further proof of Walker's emergence as an athlete, following a fall as a receiver, defensive back and returner extraordinaire for the Vikings' state championship football team in 2011. Walker has gone from an unknown junior to big man on campus as a senior.

"He's really come into his own like he did in football this year," Holmes said. "I don't know what he had on his mind last year, but he's definitely on a mission this year. One coach asked me at a meet where we got this kid from, where was he last year, and I told him he's been here since he was a freshman."

Walker may have shocked himself more than anyone else with his accomplishments. While the 6-foot-3, 185 pound Walker definitely matured physically, he is also reaping the benefits of a stronger work ethic.

"It showed a little last year, I just didn't put as much hard work into track as I should have," Walker said. "Then this year in football I worked hard, and then when track came around, I worked hard at that also. I surprised myself at how good I was doing, so I guess it's about half and half of just me realizing my potential and what I can actually do."

Walker has talked with the TCU football coaches and will attempt to walk on this summer, but his high school athletic career will conclude Saturday in Waco. It would not surprise anyone at this point to see him return home with a handful of medals.

Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760