Ian Mas Wins U20 Central American 800m Championship

Many athletes dream of becoming State Champions, while others aspire to compete and win on the world stage. Between Friday, May 17th, and Sunday, May 19th, Weddington High School Senior Ian Mas achieved both. Under the guidance of Head Coach Rick Spencer, Mas has cemented himself as another name on the long and historic list of great distance runners that have walked the halls of Weddington High. However, Mas has now managed to separate himself from those names with some incredible and unique accomplishments during his High School career. Mas boasts High School PRs of 1:53.65 for 800m (Current NC #4 and Weddington #2 All-time), 4:15.36 for 1600m (Current NC #13 and Weddington #3 All-time) and now he is a state champion and the Central American U20 Champion.

On Friday, May 17th, Ian faced the daunting task of running three different 800m races over just three days. Nevertheless, Ian took the challenge head on beginning with the NCHSAA 4A State Championship. Going into the NCHSAA 4A state championships the Weddington Warriors' 4x800m squad comprised of Ian Mas, Anderson Taylor, Logan Bentley, and Hunter Bates was seeded 2nd with an NC #3 mark of 7:56.92. Mas took the line as the first leg getting the team off to a strong start with a 1:53 split. Mas handed off to Taylor who split 2:00, Bentley who split 1:54, and finally, Hunter Bates laid down a strong 1:53 to clinch the state title with an NC#1, US#6, and a HUGE PR of 7:42.68. This race crowned Mas a state champion in his very first race of the weekend. 

Only a few short hours later Mas toed the line once again in the open 800m race. This race was tightly seeded with some of the best 800m runners in the state. The race unfolded in an incredibly strategic manner and although not what he initially hoped for, Mas eventually took 4th place with a solid time of 1:56.48 and scored a valuable 5 points to contribute to Weddington's 2nd place finish as a team. However, Ian's weekend was far from over. He then flew to Costa Rica to compete in the Central American U20 Championships, representing Honduras, his birth country. 

"The state meet did have me tired for the race," Mas recalls, "but having Saturday to prepare and get ready helped me be less stressed and rested for the race." One of the hardest parts of running is recovery. And tripling up to run three all-out 800m races is no easy task for anybody. Luckily, Mas was able to use Saturday, May 18th as a day for travel and recovery before the big race at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, an athletic stadium in La Sabana, Costa Rica that seats upwards of 35,000 fans. 

Mas was given the unique opportunity of competing at the Central American U20 Championships because he was born and raised in Honduras until the age of 3 when he moved to North Carolina. Ian was proud to represent Honduras at the Central American U20 championships and there is no doubt that he represented them extremely well. At this championship race in Costa Rica Ian raced against athletes from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama. The race was slated to be fast and Mas was understandably very nervous. 

"The overall experience of racing in a different country is really cool and a more nerve-wracking experience," says Mas when talking about his experience at the race. He adds that "you are thinking you have to do everything you can to win". Luckily for Mas that mindset is exactly what helped him secure the win. 

On race day Ian knew that the goal of this race wasn't to run a fast time. He just wanted to win. Going out at the beginning of the race "sitting in second or third was ideal." A pack of Mas (Honduras), Camacho (Panama), Granja (Nicaragua), and Carranza (Costa Rica) led the race splitting a 58 for the first 400m, which is a slow but tactical start to a championship 800. This sort of start to the race was exactly what Ian wanted. "We came through at 58 high so I knew it was going to be a very fast 2nd lap so I stayed in second place," says Mas. And right he was. The group surged for a quicker second lap in which Mas stayed firmly in the second place position until the 200m mark when Ian "went all out like always and luckily I was able to close in a 54". A quick final 200m was all Ian needed to close it out and take home the U20 Central American title in the 800 winning it by nearly a full second. 

Three 800 races in the three days, a State Championship, an All-State performance, and a Central American Champion title. Ian Mas had one of the most eventful and impressive weekends a runner could have. And certainly a weekend he will remember for the rest of his life. 


Boys 800m Final
1Ian Richard MasHonduras1:53.65
2Diego CamachoPan1:54.30
3Alexander Ernesto GranjaNCA1:56.95
4Jordan Enrique CarranzaCRC1:57.29