T.C. Williams rising junior Josephus Lyles woke up at 9 a.m. this past Sunday morning and hurried downstairs at his father’s house in North Carolina. He, his father Kevin Lyles, and 14-year-old sister Abby huddled together to watch the International Association of Athletics Federations Youth Olympic Games.
Lyles’s brother and T.C. Williams teammate Noah Lyles was representing the United States at the world event in Nanjing, China and running in the finals of the 200-meter dash. The anticipation that morning quickly turned to excitement as Noah Lyles won a gold medal in his signature event in 20.80 seconds. As fast as that time was, it wasn’t even his best during the Youth Olympic Games. He ran a 20.71 during his preliminary race on Aug. 22, which set a national sophomore record and ranked third this year in the United States.
“We’re so proud of him,” Josephus Lyles said. “I definitely thought he was going to [have a personal record] or do something crazy.”
(Universal Sports video)
Noah Lyles, the 2014 track and field All-Met Athlete of the Year, and Josephus Lyles, a 2014 first-team All-Met, ramped up their training once the summer months began. After the school year ended, the brothers went to North Carolina to train with their father, who was a standout sprinter at Seton Hall in the 1990s before running professionally.
A month ago, Josephus Lyles was a part of the gold-medal winning U.S. 4×400 team at the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore. He ran the first leg on the first-place relay that finished with a time of 3:03.31, defeating teams from Jamaica and Japan in a close race. Former Forest Park sprinter Ricky Morgan, a two-time first-team All-Met now running for Southern California, was also on the 4×400 team. Tyler Brown, a rising sophomore at Eastern Michigan, and Michael Cherry, a Chesapeake, Va. native now at Florida State, rounded out the group.
“It didn’t sink in for a while,” Josephus Lyles said. “Even after, it was like did we really win the World Junior Championships?”
(Universal Sports video)
Summer preparation has been meticulous for the Lyles brothers. Josephus Lyles has focused on speed, along with strength, to trim his 400 outdoor and 500 indoor times down. His goal is to run a low-46 in the 400 and around a 1:01 or 1:02 in the 500. Noah Lyles, also a rising junior, worked on his base before turning his attention to speed and getting off the blocks faster prior to the Youth Olympic Games.
Further aiding his development, Josephus Lyles attended the Nike Elite Camp in Beaverton, Ore., this summer and met Olympians Allyson Felix, Ryan Bailey, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Dawn Harper, along with Coach Bob Kersee. That experience served as motivation for the upcoming track and field season.
“They’re talking to us like we’re the future,” Josephus Lyles said. “It means a lot to think that they think we can do it. It’s something to strive for.”
Related: 2014 All-Met boys’ track team