Red Deer runner Jeremiah Lauzon (left) met the national qualifying standard on Sunday for two international competitions later this summer. (File Photo)

Red Deer sprinter Jeremiah Lauzon puts up fastest U20 200-metre time in Canada this season

At first, Jeremiah Lauzon was simply happy to set a new personal best.

Competing at the Calgary Spring Challenge on the weekend, the 18-year-old Red Deer sprinter did much more than that.

His qualifying time of 21.60 seconds in the preliminaries of the 200 metre on Sunday was better than any time he’d ever put up.

In the final, he one-upped himself.

Lauzon was trying to chase down sprinter Ben Williams of Edmonton, that was his only focus. Although he didn’t manage to catch Williams and finished second in the race, he thought his time of 21.20 was underwhelming.

“I didn’t really expect that I would do that well. I had already gotten a (personal best) so I was figured I would get around the same time as I did in my heat,” Lauzon recalled.

“Coming off the bend, I was ahead a bit of Ben Williams. The only thing I was thinking of was beating him. It didn’t feel particularly special.”

Little did he know, that mark met the national qualifying standard for the 2019 U20 Pan Am Games in San Jose, Costa Rica, as well as 2019 NACAC U23 Championships in Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico. Athletes have until June 9 to register a qualifying time for those events, before Athletics Canada selects the competitors for each event on June 10. Lauzon’s time will likely earn him a spot.

His 21.20 time comes early in the track and field this season but is still quite the achievement. Comparatively, from the 2018 season, only two runners under the age of 23 ran faster than 21.20. The fastest time of 2018 by a U20 runner, was 21.44.

For now, Lauzon is the fastest U20 200m runner in Canada and has the 11th best time of any 200-metre runner in the country this season.

“I smiled a bit, that was pretty much it,” Lauzon said when he found out about how strong his time really was.

Next up for the Lindsay Thurber Raiders track star is one final appearance at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Provincial Championships in June, where he hopes to collect a trio of medals.

From there, he’ll train in Alberta this summer and potentially make two international appearances. Beyond that, Lauzon is committed to run at Simon Fraser University in B.C., which competes in the NCAA.

That new experience is already bringing some nerves, yet a level of excitement for the talented sprinter.

“Pretty nervous about it. Six hours away and the competition is a lot high because you’re at the college level,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to it, hopeful for the future. Hoping I can really up my times by a lot.”

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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