After all these years, Jesse Labreck has finally reached a huge American Ninja Warrior goal. On the second night of the National Finals, with a huge smile on her face, Jesse hit the Stage One buzzer.
The moment felt deeply right. Jesse has worked for this. She’s earned this. After everything she’s accomplished in the sport, it was only right for her to join the elite ranks of the Stage Two competitors. Jesse is just the third woman to complete Stage One in the regular season, following Jessie Graff and Allyssa Beird.
We know how special this moment is, so we’re going to let Jesse tell you about it in her own words, including her goals for Stage Two.
What did you think about that Stage One course?
JL: The Stage One course was awesome! The changes in it were a little tricky but really run. I was really nervous for it. Every year it adds on more and more pressure. I was more and more nervous. Just really, really happy with how it went.
What were some of the changes that made you nervous?
JL: The first obstacle, the Surf Sliders, the fact that they tip down was just so intimidating. With it being the first obstacle, I was really nervous about that. Then I was like, “You know what? I’m just going to stride through those because I don’t even want to hang out on them for more than a split second.”
The second obstacle, the Swinging Blades, the fact that you have to change that direction and get your hips in the right trajectory to get over to it. That’s what I struggled on last year with the big red hoops. I was nervous about that as well. And we’re in Vegas! There could be dust everywhere or whatever. Anything with your shoes, Jumping Spider, Warped Wall, I was worried about my shoes. A lot of things to think about.
You hit that cargo net. The clock is still on your side. What’s going through your mind?
JL: I just started screaming. I knew I had it then. I wasn’t just going to fall off the cargo net once I was on it. I was screaming, “Yes! Let’s go!” Telling myself, “Go! Climb! Climb!”
How does it feel to have this giant checkmark off your list?
JL: It feels amazing. It feels so good to finally accomplish a goal that I’ve had set for years. Six years! I started really, really watching season seven. Seeing everyone on Stage One, that was my first goal for the whole thing. It’s been a long time. It took a while.
There was a part of me that wondered if it was ever going to happen. I’m not going to be doing this forever. I wondered if it was in the cards for me. I was like, “Okay, you’ve accomplished a lot in your Ninja Warrior career, you have to be okay that this might not happen.” Not that I would stop working for it every year. But sometimes you set big goals and sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t. I’m just very thankful that I accomplished this goal.
With that huge goal out of the way, how are you feeling heading into Stage Two?
JL: Honestly, I’m just so excited. The only way I’ll be disappointed is if I fail the first obstacle. Which can happen! It’s happened before. I just don’t want to let that happen. My first goal is to not fail the first obstacle. My second goal is to get past the Double Salmon Ladder and Hammer Drop. It’s so much upper body in a row. If I get past that and get a little bit of rest before each obstacle going forward, then it will really set me up well.
First goal, get past the first obstacle. Second goal, get past Hammer Drop. And have fun out there.
Jesse will take on Stage Two during the American Ninja Warrior season finale on Monday, September 13.