T.C. Williams High School graduate Noah Lyles capped off an astonishing 2019 by being named U.S. Men’s Athlete of the Year.
Track and Field News, the highly-regarded sporting publication, described Lyles as “the runaway choice” for their top spot in a ranking they have been compiling since 1959.
It was the second year in a row that the 22-year-old made the top of their prestigious list.
An international panel of 31 experts cast their votes. Lyles took 22 of those votes, it was announced last month.
Separately, Athletics Weekly, ranked him number one in the world in the 200m in 2019 and number two in the world in the 100m.
In September last year, the class of 2016 graduate became the fastest man in the world to run the 200m.
Lyles left his competitors in the dust as he raced to gold in 19.83 seconds at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Shortly after crossing the finishing line he told BBC Sport, “So many times I thought in my brain, ‘I’m going to be world champion this year.’ I have it on my phone, I’ve been saying it since the season started, every day I’ve been hitting my car window on the way back from practice saying, ‘I’m going to be world champion this year,’ as the music blasted out.”
In October, he and brother Josephus, also a world-class athlete, returned to T.C. to visit with students and his former teachers and track coaches.
The siblings spent three hours with the Titans track team and spoke with the student athletes.
Most of the things I do today are because I learned them in high school,” said Noah.
“I learned visualization in high school. I learned how to prepare days in advance for track meets. So by the time I became pro I already had the skills needed and could just take them along with me into the professional world.”
“We were going down the hall earlier and we saw some of our high school championships. It was really nostalgic. We saw the trophies from the relay races where we broke records in high school. Four years feels like ten years ago.”
The next 12 months promise to be more exciting still, for the former Alexandrian who now lives and trains in Florida with Josephus.
Already tipped as the next Usain Bolt, he is a hot favorite to pick up Olympic gold at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
He will be representing Team USA in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay.
Speaking of the Games, Lyles said, “I’m going to get three golds. I keep saying that to myself.”