Noah Lyles of Williams (Alexandria, Va.) has been named the 2015-16 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
The ALL-USA teams are coordinated by Fred Baer, founder, Track and Field Writers of America. Boys selections by Jack Shepard, high school editor of Track and Field News.
Boys Track & Field Coach of the Year: Doug Soles, Great Oaks (Temecula, Calif.)
Name: Noah Lyles
School: Williams (Alexandria, Va.)
Highlights: Noah Lyles broke the 31-year-old high school record for the 200 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track Team Trials in Eugene, Ore. this month to repeat as the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. The senior at T.C. Williams (Alexandria, Va.) ran 20.09 seconds to finish fourth in a race won by multi-Olympic medalist Justin Gatlin in 19.75 and gained first alternate status for the Rio Olympic Games.
The wind-legal race was the decider between the top two AOY candidates. Michael Norman of Rancho Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.) finished a step back in fifth at 20.14 to rank co-No. 3 all-time (just .01 off the existing record of 20.13 set in 1985 by Roy Martin of Roosevelt, Dallas that Lyles eclipsed).
“I think that’s icing on the cake to what I had to do,” said Lyles regarding the record. “I came out and ran three of my best races and I got the PR at the end.” He also ran a wind-aided 20.04 to win a first round heat, well ahead of 2-time Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix. That was the second fastest high school time under all conditions, just .01 behind the “windy” 20.03 in 2014 by Trentavis Friday, then a senior at Cherryville, N.C. – and who was also beaten by Lyles in both sprints at the Trials.
Lyles also topped the 2016 high school lists at 100 meters, improving his season best by .01 to 10.16 in an Olympic Trials heat won by Gatlin (the current world leader). Lyles set a junior class record of 10.04 last year, which makes him the No. 5 all-time high school performer at the century distance.
Lyles had previously beaten Norman in the 200 meters in 2015 to claim the USATF National Junior championship – on the same University of Oregon track – and went onto win the Pan American Junior title. He was also the 2014 Youth Olympic Games gold medalist in the 200.
As an Olympic alternate, Lyles will await any change in the plans of defending Olympic 400 meter champion LaShawn Merritt to double back in the 200 at Rio after qualifying second in the Olympic Trials race.
“He might change his mind, so there’s still a possibility,” said Lyles. “But I can deal with it. I came in fourth in my first Olympic Trials. I’m very satisfied.”
No American high school boys track athlete has competed in the Olympic Games since 1976.