For Michigan men’s track coach Ron Warhurst, optimism is crucial to his team’s success in the upcoming outdoor season.

“For me, the glass is half full,” Warhurst said. “It just looks a lot better that way.”

The team’s performance in last weekend’s NCAA Indoor National Championships, including Nate Brannen’s national title in the 800 meters, has left Warhurst feeling especially positive. Although trying not to rest on their laurels, Warhurst believes that his runners’ success this past weekend will be advantageous to his team’s success in the future.

While only four members of the team participated in the meet, 27 others made the trip to Fayetteville, Ark. to support their teammates, and Warhurst believes the exposure to the elite competition was a plus.

“Going to Nationals as a team and training with the best helps the whole team,” Warhurst said. “Maybe some of the success will rub off on the others.”

Many members of the team only attended last week’s meet as spectators. This weekend’s Florida State relays in Tallahassee, Fla. will be their chance to prove Warhurst right. The relays will basically be a three-day training session for the 20 Michigan athletes participating. Despite the fact that the meet is not scored, it will be an important tune-up for the team.

“Some guys are running three to four races, and it is critical for them to compete well,” Warhurst said.

Brannen and freshman Nick Willis will not be racing for the next three to four weeks, and their absence will give other runners an opportunity to compete. Warhurst is looking for strong performances from Seth Waits and Andrew Ellerton. Aside from the strong middle distance and distance squads, Warhurst needs solid contributions from the rest of the team if Michigan wants to succeed in the extremely competitive Big Ten.

The outdoor season will provide an opportunity to contribute for many athletes who did not get to compete during the winter due to the fewer number of events at indoor meets.

To prepare his team, especially those who have not participated competitively during the winter, Warhurst has the Wolverines training hard.

“You must train like you are going to compete, and when you get on the track, just go,” said Warhurst.

Warhurst hopes that his athletes that did not get a chance to compete in the winter will take advantage of their opportunities in the spring.

“When you get your chance, you must be ready both physically and mentally,” Warhurst said.”

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