In the three short years Jesse Labreck has been competing on American Ninja Warrior, it’s changed her life. This is thanks in no small part to her tremendous skills. As a rookie in season eight, she was the first woman to qualify for the National Finals in her first year, and things having slowed down yet. It’s opened the doors to new opportunities, like becoming a full time Ninja coach.
Her first season 10 run at the Indianapolis Qualifiers was another example of her still-growing skill set. On a difficult course that only saw 10 finishers our of 110 attempts, Jesse was one of them. She was also the first woman to attempt the 18 foot tall Mega Wall.
We talked to Jesse before her run to learn more about what happens in her mind on the course, and how her whole life has become Ninja.
“I get kids coming up to us all the time. People recognize Chris and I together a lot more than just me even by myself. But you get kids and families and people who are always telling you their personal stories of how we’ve helped them. And that’s amazing. I have a couple of families that have children with cerebral palsy, just telling me how awesome it is that I have such a friendship with Emeline. That has been hitting my heart a little harder than anything.”
“The types of obstacles that make me the most nervous, other than balance, which is like every Ninja, is something that you can’t really save yourself on if you make a little mistake. The ones where if you make a mistake, you pop off and you’re done. You’re in the water and you don’t even necessarily know what happened. Those are the types of obstacles that scare me.”
“You have to focus. It’s all about keeping your mind so focused. Or, like when it comes down to it, you kind of don’t think about it as much, you just do. You do what you naturally do. It’s either staying really focused or kind of blacking out and letting your body take over.
You can be extremely strong, but not know how to mentally get ready for it. Keep yourself in the moment. That will definitely effect your performance every time.”
“When I was in my early twenties, I started to stress out about where my life was going to be. What I was going to do with my future, with my career. I tried to force some things and it didn’t work out. Then this happened. And everything just started to fall into place.
Push yourself and go for your goals, but let things fall into place naturally and don’t force something. You’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be.”
“I’m hoping to hit a buzzer on night one. I would LOVE to hit a buzzer on night two. We’ll see what happens. I’m going to just take it one obstacle at a time.”
Well Jesse can check goal number one off her list! She’ll chase goal number two in a few weeks time when she returns for the Indianapolis City Finals.