Jeremiah Lauzon will run against Canada’s best later this month.
The 20-year-old sprinter from Red Deer got the news this week, that he was invited to compete in the 200 metre race at the Canadian Olympic Track and Field Trials from June 24-27 in Montreal, Que.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Does he belong there? Yes. He’s earned it,” said Ron Hewer, Lauzon’s coach with the Red Deer Titans.
“There’s two, maybe three guys in the final that have Olympic medal… you’re lining up against guys that have a resumé… I’m excited.”
Lauzon hasn’t been able to compete very much over the past year. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the border being closed to international travel, it’s been a tough stretch for the rising star.
He was in his second season at Simon Fraser University this past year, but the border issue didn’t allow the program to compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, which is based in the North-Western United States.
Lauzon also returned home to Red Deer this summer with a nagging hamstring injury that he suffered in training and has been getting back to full race shape over the past month.
That led to his first competition of the year in Ottawa on June 5, where he posted one of the 12 best 200m times among Canadian sprinters in 2021, most of which have been run in the United States.
His 20.31-second time earned him a first-place finish in his heat – it was also the fastest 200m time run on Canadian soil this year, although competitions have been few and far between. He ended up first in the final but ran a 20.36.
“For this competition, it wasn’t about winning. It was about analyzing where he was at and analyzing the time,” Hewer said.
Both times were slightly slower than Lauzon’s personal best time of 20.9 from the CALTAF Track Classic in 2019.
Lauzon will be back at the CALTAF event this weekend running the 200m while racing in the 100m Saturday. He will also race in Toronto ahead of the Canadian Trials.
“We were training at 75 per cent, now we’re at 100 per cent, but can I get him fast enough for Montreal? That’s the goal… I think competition right now because he’s been lacking competition, it can sometimes be better than a practice,” Hewer said.
Next year, Lauzon will transfer from SFU to West Texas A&M, an NCAA Division II school, that is home to one of the top track and field programs in the U.S.
“He had (Division I) offers, but we chose to stay in Div II because we think it’s still a good fit for him. He’s unproven in the outdoor system in Div II,” Hewer said.
“The main reason is he’s competing and he’s in a better conference. He’s getting tough competition all the time, as opposed to now and then… it’s a good fit.”
All that points to Lauzon chasing down his goal of competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“Next year our goal is World University Games and NCAC U23’s is the focus and then three more years, Paris is the ultimate plan that we’ve been talking about,” Hewer said.
“Obviously, these other international competitions are stepping stones to that.”