May 26, 2018
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UMaine’s Labreck headed to NCAAs in heptathlon; Conner to compete in 10K

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff

ORONO, Maine — It’s not official yet, but it appears as though Jesse Labreck of the University of Maine will be competing in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships next month.

Labreck broke her own school record in the heptathlon at last weekend’s ECAC Championships, scoring 5,551 points to improve her position in the national rankings.

The fifth-year senior from Oakland went into Friday’s first day of ECAC competition seeded No. 25 in the heptathlon, one spot out of NCAA qualifying. On Monday she was ranked 12th, according to the Track and Field Results Reporting System.

“I’m really excited,” Labreck said Monday. “The meet just all came together those two days. My goal was to get [to the NCAAs]. Now, my goal is to get top 10.”

The NCAA qualifying list won’t be released until Thursday, but with no more meets scheduled, Labreck appears to have secured a spot in the Division I nationals set for June 5-8 at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field in Eugene.

“I try to keep telling myself, you weren’t going five days ago. I need to make sure that I’m keeping myself under control with my goals right now,” she said.

Labreck surpassed her previous UMaine heptathlon scoring mark of 5,345 points set April 17 at Holy Cross. It was her final chance to qualify, because the event isn’t contested at NCAA regionals.

Labreck established a UMaine record in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5 feet 11 1/2 inches on Friday’s first day of the ECAC competition.

“High jump went a lot better than expected,” she admitted, after saying last week she had not been doing well recently in the event.

The effort puts her rank at 20th in Division I and 15th in the East, which means Labreck could choose to compete in the open high jump at the regionals.

“I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet with that,” she said.

Labreck’s previous best in the high jump (5-10) had come during the America East indoor championships in February 2011. Friday’s leap provided her with a big boost at the ECACs.

“I was up 170 points for my PR right then, so I knew if I just did all the other events like I had done the previous weekend, I had it,” Labreck said.

“You never know when something can go wrong, so I just tried to stay calm and focus on each event afterwards,” she said.

The high jump was one of five personal records set by Labreck in heptathlon events. She also achieved bests in the 200 (25.15), 100 hurdles (13.67), long jump (19-9), shot put (35-9 1/2) and javelin (tie, 82-1).

Conner, McFetters gain regional

UMaine distance runner Corey Conner and hammer thrower Robyn McFetters also have earned the right to compete in the NCAA East Regional meet.

Conner, a fifth-year competitor from Townsend, Mass., has opted to run the 10,000 meters at the regional, which will be held May 23-25 at Greensboro, N.C. McFetters will compete in the hammer.

Conner has expanded her distance repertoire this spring. As of Monday afternoon, she was No. 19 in the country in the 10K after running a 33:34.13 at the Duke Invitational on April 5.

UMaine coach Mark Lech said Conner’s best shot to make an impact at the NCAA level is in the 10,000 meters, even though she has run the event only twice in her career — once in March and then in April.

“She’s higher up on the list in the 10,000 meters for the NCAAs than in the 5,000, and she wasn’t even competing against anybody,” Lech said.

He was referring to Conner’s 10K race at Duke, where she lapped almost the entire field twice on her way to victory and was not challenged.

Conner’s 10K time places her sixth in the NCAA East rankings, while her 5K standard of 16:07.59 puts her 24th in the regional picture. The top 12 individuals at each of the regionals earns a spot in the NCAA championships.

McFetters, a sophomore from Barrington, R.I., also will be in the regional qualifier. Her throw of 187-0 at the ECACs last weekend has her in 28th place among hammer throwers in the East.

McFetters’ toss helped her finish fifth in the meet and also established a UMaine record.

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