College track and field off and running with season openers; Athens native joins Team USA

Posted March 19, 2013, at 3:39 p.m.
Last modified March 19, 2013, at 4:38 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — You wouldn’t know it by looking out the window this morning, but the college outdoor track and field season has begun.

Student-athletes at the University of Maine are already preparing in earnest for spring competitions, including a scheduled March 30 home meet at the Beckett Family and Track and Field Complex against New Hampshire and Bates.

A handful of Black Bears enjoyed a warm start to the campaign over the weekend at the Hurricane Invitational at the University of Miami.

Jesse Labreck kicked off her final season at UMaine by setting the school record in the heptathlon while winning the event.

The senior from Oakland scored 5,129 points in the competition, breaking her own standard of 4,922 and logging the best early point total in the NCAA East region.

Labreck, whose first indoor season was during 2008-2009, competed as unattached indoors after failing to receive a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA. She had sought the waiver for a fourth season of indoor eligibility during her fifth year of school.

At Miami, she won six of seven events in the heptathlon. Labreck established personal bests in winning the shot put with a throw of 32 feet, 5 3/4 inches and claiming fourth in the javelin with a heave of 69 feet, 4 3/4 inches.

She won the 100-meter hurdles in 14.06 seconds and took the high jump in 5 feet, 7 3/4 inches. Labreck also captured the 200 meters (25.46 seconds), the 800 (2:24.60) and the long jump (19-7).

During her last outdoor season in 2011, Labreck emerged as the America East champion in the 100-meter hurdles and the long jump.

The Bears were well represented in the heptathlon at the Hurricane Invitational. Allison Fereshetian of Turner finished third with 4,493 points, while Jessica McCarthy took sixth (3,660), and Ashten Hackett of Auburn was ninth (3,299).

Matthew Toothaker of Hampden set the tone for the UMaine men in Miami.

The junior finished second in the decathlon by scoring 5,939 points. His top efforts included victories in the shot put (37-8) and the 1,500 (4:44.93).

Conner an All-American again

UMaine distance standout Corey Conner capped her indoor season with a third career All-America honor.

The senior from West Townsend, Mass., was named to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-America Second Team after finishing 12th in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Conner’s time of 16:02.44 was the third best in UMaine history. She also owns the top two performances, 15:55.60 and 16:01.37.

Conner, who participated in her fifth NCAA Championship, had previously claimed All-America recognition in the 5,000 meters during the 2012 outdoor season (16th) and in the 2011 indoor campaign (11th).

McClintock at World Juniors

Matt McClintock, of Athens has departed for Poland, where he is a member of the United States team that will be competing Sunday in the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The freshman, who attends Purdue University, earned his way onto the squad with a third-place finish at the USA Cross Country Junior Championships last month.

The top six finishers in that meet were named to the U.S. squad.

McClintock described his feelings about the opportunity in his most recent blog entry on Derek Veilleux’s MaineTrackXC.com website.

“I received my Team USA uniform, and let me tell you I almost cried,” he said.

“I know that every runner out there dreams of being able to put on the singlet and shorts and represent their country,” McClintock said, “and I feel honored that I am able to be one of the lucky few that get to realize this dream.”

McClintock, who ran for Madison High School, was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year last fall after placing eighth at the conference championships. He went on to finish 103rd at the NCAA Division I Championships.

McClintock’s personal record in the 8,000 meters is 24:03.70, established last fall during the Big Ten Cross Country Championships.

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