A few sprinters just stared in awe at Noah Lyles, smiling and shaking their head after finishing behind the T.C. Williams sophomore during the 100-meter dash at Saturday’s Crimson Tide Invitational in Northeast. Lyles had just blown the field away in what was perhaps the most impressive individual showing of the meet, spreading his arms wide and gliding through the finish line.
Eventually, after clocking 10.76 seconds for the victory, he looked back at his competitors, smiled and then nonchalantly said, “It’s genetics.”
That’s what he’s been saying more and more this season to opponents. The son of Kevin Lyles and Keisha Caine, who both ran track at Seton Hall in the 1990s, Lyles won titles in the 100- and 200-meter events to help T.C. Williams win the boys’ team title.
“When people ask how I’m fast, I go to my parents,” Lyles said. “This is a sprinter day, I guess. We’re trying to get all the sprinting out . . . we’re trying to get everyone ready.”
T.C. Williams (92 points) edged Oxon Hill and Atholton, which tied for second with 73 points. Eleanor Roosevelt took third place with 61 points.
Dunbar won the girls’ title with 87 points over Bishop McNamara (61) and Mount Vernon (58), on a day when several teams were trying to gain momentum heading into the Penn Relays in two weeks.
Philadelphia will be a major opportunity for exposure for Lyles, whose strong performance Saturday came just a week after he set the national youth standard with a 20.89 in the 200 at the U.S. Area Youth Selection Trials in Miramar, Fla. Although his time Saturday was considerably slower (21.40), he still judged the race as an important individual step ahead of Penn Relays.
The day started with a steady long-distance outing from Marshall’s Olivia Martin, who won the 3,200 in 11 minutes 46.89 seconds, a time that was later bookended with her teammate Zoe Scopa taking the 1,600 in 5:45:75.
Oxon Hill’s Todd Sampson had one of the meet’s best all-around showings, winning the 110 and 300 hurdles (in 14:74 and 39.30, respectively), the triple jump (45 feet 2 inches) and helping Oxon Hill take the 4x800 meter relay. Blake followed suit with its own trio, as Martha Sam won the 100 (12:39), Sarah Moore the 200 (25:63) and Elizabeth Adesanya the 400 in 56.96.
And then there was All-Met London Freeland, the Dunbar star who waited hours to run her one individual event, the 300 hurdles. She has been struggling with minor aches and pains in her legs as of late, and opted to skip the 400-meter race on Saturday. Instead, she wanted the meet to revolve around her preparation for the 400 hurdles at the Penn Relays – where she is expecting her future coaching staff from Tennessee to be in attendance.
She had a teammate rub her leg briefly before warmups, but Freeland still looked comfortable. She took control of the race during the second turn to post a dominant first place showing of 44:54 to help her team secure the overall title.
“[The Penn Relays] are really important. Since I’m a senior, I know my [college] coach is going to be there, so you know you got to put in a good performance for them,” said Freeland, who signed with the Volunteers in February. “So they can be like, ‘Yeah that’s my athlete.’ ”