Georgia Tech Grabs Versatile John Lyons Out Of Lake Mary

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets reached into Florida for the second year in a row and signed a versatile distance standout of the Sunshine State. Last year, it was Chiles Avery Bartlett. This year, John Lyons of Lake Mary. Two athletes with a range from 800 meters to the 5k. Lyons says unlike most standout athletes that see the recruitment come to them, he had to initiate the initial conversations.

"At first I was reaching out to schools to see if I might be able to get a spot on the team and what kind of times that would take. Then after I ran a 4:18 at the Jeff Wentworth Relays some schools started to reach out to me including the UF coaches who became very interested."

The Rams senior considered the Gators, Notre Dame, and FSU as well, but he says it was the Yellow Jackets that won him over.

"Ultimately I chose GT because of the great balance of academics and athletics, and the great group of guys. I can see the comparison to Avery (Bartlett). I had a chance to talk to him when I was up there and he loves it. Track will probably be the main focus, but cross country could also join that with a few years of development."

Lyons played soccer for Lake Mary his freshman year, but decided to focus on running following that season. Coach Bryan Corkins says he saw the true emergence of the youngster during a practice at the end of last season.

"As the second fastest leg of the sub 8:00 4x800 we began to notice he had an edge in the middle distance. Chrisitan (Aman) and John began to tussle a bit during workouts. We had a clear picture that John might have a breakout year. He's meant a lot to the program. He has showed that Lake Mary's rise to one of the best distance programs wasn't a fluke. His role shifted from an understudy of Ryan DeGale and Christian Aman to leader of the new pack."

During cross country, Lyons guided Lake Mary to the state finals for the third straight year in four years. Individually, he finished 11th two seconds off of a personal best in 16:18.82. Corkins wasted to no time checking out where he was for track season, entering him at Jimmy Carnes and seeing how far off they were in the mile. He says after he saw controlled aggression in his running they went forward with their miler program.

"Our focus was to develop his raw speed. For the first few weeks he ran the 400 and 4x800 relay. At the wentworth relays (third week) we decided to debut his mile. He was running in a heat with josh and Jordan from Lyman. Both of which has never won against. John ran the race pretty flawlessly and dropped a 4:18. That's when I knew he had something special."

The senior followed up with a huge personal best of 1:52.53 placing second at the Florida Relays. In his last ever conference meet scored 30 points for the Rams winning the 1,600, 800, and 400m. Corkins says Lyons and George Tech are a great fit.

"Alan Drosky and Georgia Tech have a history of great middle distance runners and programs. Lyons should fit right in with Avery (Bartlett) and the rest of the guys."

Now that the decision is behind him Lyons says he will turn his attention the state series and the 800 and 1,600m runs. 

"That's the focus. Running in a tough region definitely prepares you for the state meet in terms of racing and building confidence."

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