U of S track star sets sights on 2020 Summer Olympics

News source from CTV News

A University of Saskatchewan athlete has her eyes set on the Olympics.

Julie Labach, 22, grew up playing competitive soccer – most recently with the U of S Huskies.

Her time playing soccer quickly shifted to track when she was scouted a few years ago.

“One of the track coaches had seen me run a little bit in high school and elementary school. He was like, ‘We would really love to have you on the team,” she said.

Transitioning from soccer to track is working out well for her.

She has broken records, both local and national. Her specialty is middle distance, 800 metres.

The next Summer Olympics are in Tokyo in 2020. A time of 1:59:00 is needed to qualify for the 800-metre race.

Labach’s personal best is 2:02:00, three seconds shy of Olympic standards.

“That’s the big goal for right now, that’s what we’re focusing on,” she said.

The homegrown talent has been recognized for her speed, taking home the Huskies female athlete of the year in 2019 and 2018.

She also received national attention being named U Sports female track athlete of the year.

“I wasn’t really expecting it,” she said.

The awards came as a surprise for Labach, but not for her teammates.

“Everyone on the track knows that Julie’s fast. She alone scored about one-third of the girls’ points this year at Canwest,”said teammate Sam Girgis.

All of that hardware doesn’t come without its commitment and sacrifices.

“I’m on the track three days a week, and then I’m running off the track another three days a week. So I guess six days a week I’m running,” she said.

If that wasn’t enough on her plate, Labach is also studying law.

She’s tracking down a degree and hopefully a medal.

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