But by their junior year, when the nation’s top collegiate track and field programs recognized their talent and started recruiting the duo, any notion of splitting up had vanished.
“Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen,” Josephus, 17, said, recalling his sentiment at the time. “We’re really close. Me and Noah splitting up would be devastating. I don’t know what I would do without my other half.”
Roughly two weeks after their final official recruiting visit took them to College Station, Texas, the brothers announced their plans behind a desk in the second-floor rotunda at T.C. Williams in Alexandria. Amid a plethora of major Division I offers, they elected to return to the state where they were born to run for the University of Florida. The brothers signed their National Letters of Intent Wednesday afternoon in front of nearly 100 family members, friends, coaches and teachers.
“They turn out some of best 100, 200, 400 (meter) runners in the country,” Josephus said of Florida. “Also, when we were there, it felt like the atmosphere and the people around were friendly, they cared. Plus we’re from Gainesville. So, we’re going home.”
The brothers were born in the Gainesville area and moved to North Carolina when Noah was 8. They moved to Northern Virginia five years later and have been dominating locally ever since. (Noah repeated first grade due to health issues, and the two brothers have been in the same grade ever since despite their age difference.)
Noah, 18, was the All-Met Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year last winter and Josephus took the honor for the outdoor season last spring. Noah also earned outdoor athlete of the year honors in 2014.
At Florida, the two nationally-touted runners will be expected to help out immediately with a men’s program that has combined to win five indoor and outdoor NCAA championships this decade.
They both run a host of individual and relay events, and it is not yet clear what they will run at Florida. To date, Noah has done his best work in the 100- and 200-meter races — he ran a 10.14-second 100-meter at the 2015 USATF Juniors Championships last June, the No. 4 all-time mark in the United States — and Josephus has excelled at 400 meters.
But before they head South and trade their Titans’ red, white and blue for the Gators’ blue and orange, the two have plenty left on the docket.
“I’m just gonna say, no national record is safe,” Josephus said about the upcoming indoor and outdoor seasons.
“I’m gonna say that, too,” Noah fired back. “I’m going after every record”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s in the relays, the 100, 200, 400,” finished Josephus, the two tag-teaming as they’ve done for years. “No national record is safe from us.”
After graduation, the two will head to Eugene, Oregon, to compete in the Olympic Trials with hopes of running in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I remember four years ago we were watching (the Olympics or World Championships), and we turned around and we were like, ‘Mom, we’re going to be there for the next Olympics,'” Noah said. “And she was like ‘Okay guys, whatever.'”
“This is when we weren’t even in high school. We were eighth graders. And we were like ‘No, Mom, we’re going.'”
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