JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was released over 10 years ago, but the opening lines of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" is the way four members of the VCU Track & Field program are thinking on a sunny afternoon in Florida.
The lyrics read, "if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted. One moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?"
Brandon Ruffin, Ryan Coles, Kiara Porter and Jaleesa Williams have elevated VCU Track & Field to new heights and will open up competition at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds this afternoon on the campus of the University of North Florida.
The Rams are in rare company with only 48 participants in each event and only the top 12 in each event advance to the NCAA Championships in Oregon.
Out of over 150 schools in the East Region, only 13 of them have two or more shot putters, VCU is one of them thanks to the efforts of Coles and Ruffin. The throwing duo hits the thrower's circle at an NCAA postseason event for the first times in their career at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
Porter will be making her third straight appearance at the regional meet. Last year, she became just the fourth female in VCU history to earn a top-20 finish at the NCAA Championships. This year, her quest to return to Oregon will begin at 7:45 p.m. on Thursday. The top of the 400-meter times advance to Friday's final round, which will start at 6:15 p.m.
Williams is pulling double duty, throwing in the both the discus and shot put. Her quest to return to Oregon in the discus will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, while the shot put is set for Saturday at 4 p.m.