By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
Wil Lash had never competed in the hurdles before his freshman season.
Two years later he was in the state finals. Five years after that, he gained All-American status running for Indiana State University.
Lash is being inducted into the Mt. Vernon Township High School Sports Hall of Fame as a part of the Class of 2013.
“It was such a shock,” Lash said. “I think the biggest shock was when I thought about it I was like wow I’ve been out of high school a long time. This is my 20 year high school reunion this year.”
Lash spent his high school career competing for the track and field team along with playing football. He also played basketball but quit after his sophomore season to focus more on track. The move paid off with his first of two state finals appearances.
“Luckily for me that was the best thing I could have ever done because that next season track and field, I was explosive,” Lash said. “I got all this conditioning and training that I wouldn’t have gotten if I had played basketball.”
His junior season Lash finished third in the 110 high hurdles.
“I’ve never really been a nervous athlete, but I remember during that time when I placed third I felt that even though I was one of the younger ones in the mix there,” Lash said. “At the same time it was my junior year, so if I didn’t win I knew I could come back.
Lash’s success continued into his final high season when he placed second in the same event at state. He also was ninth in the 300 intermediate hurdles. He signed a scholarship offer for Indiana State and was one of the first in his immediate family to attend a four-year university. The selection of a school was a new experience.
“I don’t think any of us really knew what we were doing,” Lash said. “I had my coaches there who were really very instrumental in getting me out there and getting my packets out to coaches and teams.”
His collegiate career culminated with being named an All-American his senior season but his four years included some adversity. He suffered an ankle sprain his junior season playing basketball. The injury lingered.
“You’re told over and over again what you should and shouldn’t be doing,” Lash said. “And I was playing basketball when I shouldn’t have been and sprained my ankle.”
Lash said he had to prove himself going through rehabilitation and returning stronger for his senior season. Eventually his career ended with All-American status in the 55 high hurdles.
Lash’s high school record of 13.9 seconds in the 110 high hurdles stood for 20 years before being broken by Spencer Allen.
“Records are made to be broken so I wasn’t heartbroken about it,” Lash said. “And he seemed to be a great athlete and seemed to be a great person from what I hear. So I definitely wish him well.”
He currently works in the Washington, D.C. area as a corporate recruiter for Dell. Several years ago he was a contestant on a pair of VH1 reality shows. He also hosts an entertainment show called DC Hots Spots that airs on the CW.