USA TODAY High School Sports is launching a series called “60 for ’16” to highlight 60 members of the Class of 2016 who we will be watching in the coming 12 months. The athletes were selected by the USA TODAY HSS staff.
Name: Noah and Josephus Lyles
School: T.C. Williams (Alexandria, Va.)
Sport: Boys track
Position: Short and middle distances
Growing up, track wasn’t at the forefront for two brothers who are now among the country’s best at what they do. Running was inevitably around them – both parents ran track – but basketball, swimming and even gymnastics and T-ball were on the laundry list of sports the Lyles brothers played.
Noah is older and they’re not twins, but the two constantly train together. When Noah was 10 and Josephus 9, they started taking running seriously. Then after a 2-3 year stint with basketball, they knew their future was exclusively in track.
Running is a lot more than just being fast, it requires precise nutrition, pin-point mechanics and delicate care of your body. If their body isn’t feeling up to par before a workout, Noah said, they won’t overexert themselves. It’s that cautious management that makes them a physical specimen come race day, and one that precedes a training regimen that’s molded two champions.
They started running with the T.C. Williams varsity team in eighth grade even though they couldn’t score points for the team because they were in middle school.
“It was going really well for both of us,” Noah said. “And we were like ‘we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this all the way.'”
And ever since, it’s stuck.
This past week, Josephus garnered two top-three finishes in the 200-meter and 400-meter finals at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Colombia to top off a summer that saw him earn a spot on the ALL-USA Boys Track and Field First Team.
Josephus’ second place finish in the 400:
Noah was named the All-USA Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. He won both the 100- and 200-meter races at this year’s USA Track and Field Junior Championships, setting the 17-year-old age record in both events.
In August, the brothers made a list of criteria they wanted in a college. They identified a national winning relay team, a coach they can connect with and an equally strong girls program as points of emphasis for a school they’d choose.
And whichever school gets one brother will likely get the other, too. Noah says he thinks he already knows where he wants to go, but he doesn’t want to officially finalize it before Josephus decides.
“I don’t think us splitting up would be the greatest idea,” Noah said.
The pair still has one more year of high school. They’re already the best at their respective races more often than not – now it’s just a matter of how high the ceiling can go.