Lakewood native competing in Paralympics

Lakewood native competing in Paralympics
Posted on 08/29/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Lakewood native competing in Paralympics Jaleesa Irizarry
https://www.9news.com/

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A Lakewood Paralympian is hoping to add to the U.S. medal count in Tokyo. D'Evelyn High graduate Beatriz Hatz will complete in the first heat of the track and field 200 meter race.

Hatz graduated from D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School in 2019. Olivia Schott, Hatz's high school Spanish teacher, has followed her career since graduation.

"It's tremendous being able to celebrate someone as a member of the alumni population at D'Evelyn is huge, but I think also a member of the Latina community is also really important for Colorado itself," Schott said. 

"When she was a senior I remember she showed me her new blade, at the time, her competition blade and she asked me to sign it and told me she had Tokyo dreams and Paralympics dreams and that was incredibly exciting to see three years ago."

Hatz was a stand-out in Schott's classes as one of the only bilingual students. She was more than willing to share her culture as well as her story of resilience. 

Hatz was born without a fibula. At 6 months, part of her right leg was amputated. She began to run track in high school. In 2018, she was the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field High School Female Athlete of the Year.

According to her Paralympics athlete page, Hatz finished 5th in the women's long jump finals on Saturday. On Monday, she will compete in the preliminary round of the women's 200 meter race. 

Schott's told 9NEWS she is proud of Hatz and thankful for the example she has set for other students. 

"That really you can reach for the stars and no matter where you land it’s going to be a success," she said. 

"That’s something that I tried to teach, that no matter what you do when passion and drive and excitement are behind it, I think it’s always a success."

Most of the Paralympics coverage is being streamed on NBCOlympics.com.

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