December 5, 2012

Steve Solloway: Sky's the limit for a UMaine athlete ready to fly

Jesse Labreck, an immense talent with a modest ego, is about to begin her final collegiate indoor season.

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Jesse Labreck not only holds the hurdles record at UMaine, but is attempting to become a national force in the pentathlon, which includes the hurdles.

Courtesy University of Maine

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Jesse Labreck of UMaine is used to victories in the jumps and hurdles, and now must work on the shot put and 800-meter run in the pentathlon.

Courtesy University of Maine

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At the national level, Labreck has competed twice in the hurdles against Olympian Lolo Jones.

They were in different heats once and Jones asked if she could use Labreck's starting blocks. Labreck was awestruck. Sure, she said. Anything else I can do for you?

The two did run head-to-head at another national meet at Louisiana State. "She's my hero," said Labreck, laughing. "I didn't finish last. I think another girl fell."

She hasn't tapped the super-hero in her. Yet. She could or should add swagger to her competitive inner self but hasn't. Yet.

"Being a multievent athlete has its highs and lows," said Labreck. She never ran the 800 meters before. Shot put? That was new to her, too.

After so many first places in the jumps and hurdles she felt the sting of finishing last in the other events. The modest athlete didn't really need more lessons in humility. Which is why she'll persevere.

Best athlete in Maine?

"Just as in the Olympics, the decathlon gold medal winner is called the greatest athlete in the world," said Lech. Jesse Labreck just needs to find her phone booth.


Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

Twitter: SteveSolloway


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Jesse Labreck of UMaine

Courtesy University of Maine


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