One giant Leap

B-A alum Brian Leap ranks among the nation’s best college jumpers


Jim McClelland, Think On Photography

Bellwood-Antis graduate Brian Leap is set to begin his final season as a jumper for the Penn State track & field team and he’s eyeing All-American status.

Edyn Convery, Social Media Editor/Staff Writer

In February at the Big Ten Championship in Geneva, Ohio, Brian Leap became Bellwood-Antis’s most decorated track & field alum when he placed second in the triple jump, bounding to a personal best jump of 52’6”.

A springtime baseball player until his sophomore year at B-A, Leap has without a doubt come a long way.

“His friend Derek Montgomery talked him into (joining the team),” said high school track coach Mr. Nick Lovrich. “I always thought he would be good at track because when he was young he would come to the track with his older sister Lauren and do some jumping.”

Competing in a sport you love at the collegiate level can prove to be one of the most rewarding experiences of one’s life.

— 2011 B-A alum Brian Leap

Still the B-A record-holder in the triple jump (47-11 3/4) and high jump (6-7), Brian Leap recently gave the BluePrint an update on his Division I athletic life since graduating in 2011.

Leap sets the BA high jump mark in 2011.

The Penn State track & field team starts its spring competition schedule this weekend ranked No. 15 in the country.

Entering his final spring campaign as an Industrial Engineering major at Penn State, Leap said that playing sports in college is definitely not for everyone, but it can be well worth it.

“With a little practice at time management and discipline, competing in a sport you love at the collegiate level can prove to be one of the most rewarding experiences of one’s life,” Leap said.

Leap said that he didn’t even imagine competing at the Division I level until the end of his senior year in high school when everything fell into place at the perfect time.

He started out jumping 37 feet during his very first high school year of track & field in 2009.

Over the last seven years, he has made unbelievable improvements. Competing mainly in the long and triple jumps for the Nittany Lions, Leap had a stellar junior season in 2014. His highlights included winning the long jump at the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup with a jump of  23-6.75 and posting an indoor season-best mark of 50-9.25 in the triple jump to finish second at the SPIRE NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

As Leap approaches his senior season, he said there are just two more goals that would put the icing on the cake: a Big Ten gold medal and first-team All-American status at the national championships, which means placing in the top 8 in the United States.

With all of the stress of being a top NCAA athlete, Brian said competing at the highest level can be downright frustrating at times, especially when only fractions of inches measures success.

“At this year’s Big Ten tournament, I was ahead by nearly a foot after laying down a lifetime best jump with one round to go,” said Leap. “The very last jumper in the competition took his last jump, which appeared to be very close. When the tape measure pulled out to record the Iowa jumper’s mark, I experienced most likely the biggest heartbreak I ever experienced in an athletic competition. He had beaten me by just two inches, a tough but inevitable pill to swallow while competing at this level.”

Brian Leap jumps to Big 10 silver medal.

While representing the Blue Devils at Bellwood-Antis, Brian’s list of track & field accomplishments was impressive. A two-time District 6 triple jump champion, four-time PIAA medalist, three-time ICC all-star, Leap capped his career by making second All-State in 2011.

His success has continued at Penn State. He is a four-time Big Ten medalist and a two-time Second-Team All-American (top 16 in the country), and he’s posted the No. 2 indoor triple jump performance all-time Penn State.

He has also received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and the Penn State Track & Field Most Improved Award twice.

Leap said jokingly that Bellwood’s own Coach Lovrich is “to blame” for him getting involved in the triple jump.

Meanwhile, Lovrich said that Brian possessed great qualities to be a jumper, like speed and good leg strength, and he fit the profile of a jumper very well.

“With a last name like Leap, what did you expect?” asked Lovrich.

“He was very coachable and was always motivated to work hard to get better, along with a positive attitude. As he got more experience, he was a big help to the younger jumpers.”

Always being into some form of jumping, from skiing to motocross to basketball, Brian said it was just a natural fit for him.

“Having the last name Leap definitely helps too,” Brian said.

FUN FACT – Brian is an avid movie maker. You can check out his YouTube channel, or just click on the link below to view his senior English satire project. Note the distance he measures on his triple jump at the start of the video!

Bellwood-Antis: A High Class Society