This former UMaine track star will appear on “American Ninja Warrior” tonight

When the TV show “American Ninja Warrior” was brought up to me and to my coworker and deskmate Sarah Cottrell, Sarah proceeded to freak out a little bit. She and her son are huge fans of the show, which, if you haven’t seen it, asks insanely fit and upper body strength having individuals to run the hardest obstacle course you’ve ever seen. Few people finish the course, but the ones that do are almost frighteningly good at what they do.

Though one Mainer has already appeared on the show — Waterville’s Jon Alexis appeared last year, and is training to appear again this year — another Mainer is due to make her “American Ninja Warrior” debut on tonight’s show, set for 9 p.m. tonight on NBC. Jesse LaBreck, a 2009 graduate of Messalonskee High School and 2013 graduate of the University of Maine in Orono, is set to take on the course on tonight’s broadcast, which was taped in early June.


LaBreck, seen above in a 2013 Bangor Daily News photo, is one of the most accomplished athletes UMaine has ever produced. According to,  she won five events (100 meter hurdles, 13.78, 4X400 relay (3:41.22), high jump (5-08.50), long jump (19-06.00), triple jump (41-00.25),  at the 2010 America East Outdoor Championships to lead the team to a runner-up finish. She earned the Coaches’ Award (most points) and the Most Outstanding Field Performer award, and also was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the America East Indoor Championships after tying the America East record in the high jump (5-08.00) and also earning runner-up honors in the triple jump (40-02.75). She placed fifth in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 13.79 and in the long jump with a leap of 19-04.00 at the ECAC Outdoor Championships.

If you need a little context as to just what kind of a beast it takes to complete the “ANW” course, take a look at the below video. We watched this, slack-jawed, this morning in the newsroom. Good luck, Jesse!

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, UMaine graduate, proud Bangorian and a writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food to all the cool things going on in the Greater Bangor area. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra. She's interested in everything that happens in Maine.