Belen’s Lash qualifies for national Junior Olympics

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Jacob Lash says he was told all through the spring high school season that he had talent as a runner as he ran as an eighth-grader for Belen High School.

“People would tell me, ‘Keep at it. You’re running against seniors and juniors,’” the 14 year old says. “When I came to Junior Olympics, I felt better.”

Submitted photo: BELEN’S JACOB LASH, who recently broke a state record in the 200-yard dash, will run at the USATF Championships July 21-27.

Lash felt so much better that he captured the state title in the 13-14-year-old division’s 400-meter dash with a final time of 53.27. Lash also took second in the 200-meter dash.

Lash improved that time in the 400-meter dash preliminary at US Track and Field’s Region X Championship at the U.S Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., finishing with a time of 51.89, breaking the New Mexico state record.

But the final race was a bit more of a challenge, said Lash, because of second-place finisher Emmanuel Pyetunde, who finished second to Lash in both the preliminaries and finals.

“I was pretty nervous,” Lash said. “He made me go a little quicker. I was behind him quite a bit, so I picked it up. When I realized I got first, I was pretty happy.”

Lash’s older brother, Joseph, also won the state title in the boys 17-18-year old division, finishing with a time of 50.54 to also qualifying for the Region X Championship. The older Lash also finished second in the 200-meter dash at state. But at the regional, Joseph Lash finished 10th with a time of 52.16, missing out on the finals.

Joseph Lash now moves on to the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships in Houston, July 21-27.

“It’s my first time in Junior Olympics, so I’m hoping I can do well,” he said. “There’s some good competition, guys who are a little quicker than the times I’ve gotten. But I think if I work real hard, I’ll be a national champion.”

Lash’s parents, Susan and Richard Henderson, are currently working with Lash to raise the $2,000 for the trip to Houston and looking for donations. Those interested in donating or sponsoring Lash can call them at 859-2296 or 859-2308.