Tallahassee, FL - It's in the late afternoon, a week before Nationals, and 18 Florida State track and field athletes are practicing. This season, the 'Noles have jumped more hurdles than quite possibly ever before.
Despite the loss of some of their top contenders, there's no sense of concern.
"It's been a bit crazy," head coach Bob Braman said. "You know, some ineligibilities. You know, okay, we this guy was gonna be eligbile, now this guy's hurt."
All-American freshman Marvin Bracy decided to turn pro mid-season. Top sprinters Stephen Newbold and Josh Mance rant into trouble with the law. Mance had his charges dropped.
"They're not concerned about who's not there," said Braman, who is in his 13th year at FSU. "They're concerned about what they can do to try to win a National Championship."
At preliminaries, the 4x100 relay team was hampered with injured, forced to change their lineup. Yet they placed second in their heat.
"I think we surprised all of ourselves out there," said James Harris, a junior sprinter and jumper. "So, I think it went really good for all of us."
It also went really well for the women: Chelsea Whalen qualified in the javelin and shot put; Anne Zagre in the 100-meter hurdles. They're among seven FSU women who qualified.
"You hear that a lot of schools have two or three, but it really feels like a team when you go in like that," sophomore long distance runner Colleen Quigley said.
That's 18 athletes racing toward their future, without a worry of what happened in the past.