PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

April 22, 2014

Memorial's Labrie has shot to reach Austin

PORT ARTHUR — Tayylor Labrie looks like a seasoned veteran on the track these days.

He qualified for the Friday and Saturday’s Class 5A Region III Regional Track Meet in three different events. He won last week’s long jump at the area meet with a leap of 23-00.05 and his triple jump of 45-05 was second best. Labrie also qualified for the regional meet with a third place finish in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.19.

So what makes all this special? Labrie had not competed at a UIL track meet since the seventh grade and this is his senior year at Port Arthur Memorial.

“The last time I long jumped was in the seventh grade,” Labrie said. “I was given the chance to do it by my coaches here and ever since then it has been a lot of work and a lot of practice.”

Labrie’s first jump at a Memorial track practice this year went over 21 feet. It was more than enough to impress boys’ track coach Darrell Granger.

“Tayylor is just a freak athlete,” Granger said. “He can do multiple things. We are even going to give him a chance to run a quarter in our relays. He is a competitor and has a drive to get the job done. If you have the heart like he does, you are going to be OK.”

Labrie really likes one aspect of all his events in track, the results are all on him. There are no teammates to either help his cause or let him down.

“It is like being the quarterback in football,” Labrie said. “In my events, I am the only one carrying the weight. It is up to me to add the points for my team and help the rest of them achieve our team goals. I do what I can to help this team get to state but the points in my event are all up to me.”

Labrie was the quarterback for the Titans this past season and his accomplishments led to him signing a scholarship with Kilgore Junior College. Labrie threw for 2,082 yards on 172-for-276 passing with 16 touchdowns.

Needless to say, it has been a great year for Labrie.

“This has been a fun year,” Labrie said. “It has definitely been the best year of my high school career.”

It is a high school career he now hopes is not over this weekend. He can reach the state meet if he qualifies in the top two in his events.

One of the hardest events for any trackster is the 300-meter hurdles. It is a race that combines quite a lot of skill that goes with mental preparation.

“When I first came out, I wasn’t sure I would ever be doing any running events,” Labrie said. “I put up to run hurdles and the fact is I hate to lose at anything. I still push myself the same way I did during the first few track meets this year. I always want to place higher. If you aren’t first, you’re last.

“The 300 hurdles is a hard race to run. You first have to know how to jump hurdles. When I first started, I was just trying to jump as high as I could every hurdle. That isn’t right because I almost fell on my face a few times. Then, you have to learn how to watch the other lanes to see where all the other runners are. It is a long race and can be very tough.”

For a guy who had not participated in track in over four years, Labrie is starting to make some hard things look every easy.

“Like I said, the kid is a freak,” Granger said.

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