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Kate Murphy, Noah Lyles lead local contingent into Olympic track trials

Kate Murphy competes in a meet in February. She won the 3,000-meter run at the Junior Outdoor Championships this weekend. (Doug Kapustin/For The Washington Post)

Rising Lake Braddock senior Kate Murphy continued her torrid streak Saturday at the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships in Clovis, Calif, winning the 3,000-meter run in 9:10.51 , the fastest time in the country.

After qualifying on June 17 for the Olympic trials by winning the 1,500 at the Adidas Boost Boston Games, the All-Met Athlete of the Year solidified her spot on Team USA for the World Junior Championships in Poland with her 3K victory.

“I wasn’t going after a time,” said Murphy, who said she didn’t want to overexert herself ahead of this week’s Olympic trials. “I knew we were going to run pretty fast anyway when we came through the mile at like 4:58, but I was just trying to win.”

This week, the 16-year-old is focused on “trying to stay sharp and stay quick leading into the trials,” which run from July 1 to 10 in Eugene, Ore., and give her a chance to book a trip to Rio with a top-three finish in the 1,500.

Noah Lyles, a recent T.C. Williams graduate who will be attending Florida, burned a 10.08 to win the 100-meter final Friday. Like Murphy, Lyles had set his sights on the Olympic trials entering the weekend's events, and his main goal was to tune up his mechanics.

Lyles came just short of hitting his secondary goal of running the 100 in less than 10 seconds. Nonetheless, he ran fast enough to blow past the rest of the competition, despite being slower than usual out of the blocks.

“My start wasn’t really where I wanted it to be,” Lyles said. “I’m not really race-sharp yet because I haven’t raced in like three weeks. I’ve just been training, and it’s kind of hard to see where you are in your blocks when you’re just training by yourself.”

It didn’t take long for Lyles to shake off the rust, though, as he quickly found his footing and burst into another gear to pull away from the field.

“After about my fifth step, I was able to get up to my speed, to hit full-throttle on it and just start moving,” Lyles said.

Noah's brother Josephus, who will follow him from T.C. Williams to Florida, was in attendance but only in a spectating capacity, as he plans to use this summer to fully recover from the strained quadriceps he suffered in early May.

Chantilly rising senior Brandon McGorty fell just short of joining Murphy and Lyles in Poland. McGorty clocked a 1:49.79 to win his preliminary heat in the 800 and dipped slightly under the World Junior Championships standard of 1:49.21 in the finals, but his fifth-place finish excludes him from joining Team USA. Still, McGorty had ample reason to be proud of his performance.

“I’m obviously going up against some of the best collegiate [runners],” he said. “I think I ran really well — I ran back-to-back 1:49s, which is the first time I’ve done that. I felt really strong, so I felt like it was a good meet overall.”

The performance capped a stellar junior season for McGorty, who shattered numerous personal records and held several of the area’s and nation’s top times in the mid-distance events.

“I definitely grew a lot this year,” McGorty said. “I feel really good about how this year played out. I accomplished a lot of my time goals and I think I’ve just learned a lot mentally and the way I go about races. I’d say it’s all coming together.”

Carroll graduate Maxwell Willis, who will be attending Baylor, won his qualifying heat in the 200 with a 20.74 and finished third in the finals with a 21.01. Both times were well below the qualifying standard of 21.35, but his finish outside of the top two left him off Team USA. Similarly, rising Patriot senior Rachel McArthur finished third in the 1,500 while still hitting the qualifying time in 4:25.66.