All Eyes photo gallery: Born to Run - Action and scenes from the Florida High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships.
A gunshot rings out across the stadium, the crowd goes wild. Tears, shouting, hugging; somehow this all seems like an under reaction to the athleticism portrayed at the FHSAA Track and Field ﬁnals.
Athletes from all around the Tampa Bay area competed recently at the IMG Academy, some arriving before sunrise and most staying until well after dark. Dashes and relays, shot-put and discus, long jump and high jump, each competition pushing the limits of the human body.
When you see the commitment and athleticism these students put forth, it's easy to forget that they're so young. They're all still in school, balancing their schoolwork, social life, and jobs, while still maintaining the discipline to be among the best athletes in the state.
I left the IMG stadium after more than 20 hours of work over two days. I felt nothing but appreciation and respect for these young athletes. Ofﬁcia Harold Pierce said it best, preluding the shot-put ﬁnals on Saturday afternoon: "I just want you all to realize that you've already made a huge accomplishment: you're here. The only reason you're here is because you're among the best in the state of Florida, one of the leading states in track and ﬁeld. That might not seem like a lot to you, I know you're all here to win. I just want you to remember how impressive you all are. Now let's get started, good luck!"