Brian Leap: Big Ten Champion & going…


Jim McZClelland, Think On Photography

Brian Leap, a 2011 B-A grad, recently won the Big Ten triple jump championship and is now headed for NCAA nationals, with a shot at the US Olympic trials a real possibility.

Ethan McGee, Staff Writer

Brian Leap was a talented high school jumper, but he never quite got the acclaim on a statewide stage he may have deserved.

Certainly, he was good. As a high school jumper he was as dominant as any competitor, medaling in three jumps at the District 6-AA meet in 2011, before taking three PIAA medals a week later.

I never won a state championship in high school and to be able to work up the ranks, and finish on top in my career is really special for me.

— Brian Leap

However, while he graduated with four PIAA medals, he never claimed a state championship.

That changed two weeks ago when Leap, now a redshirt senior at Penn State, won the Big Ten championship in the triple jump.

Leap jumped a distance that at the time was a personal-best: 53′ 4 1/2″.

“It’s been a blessing to finally win a championship.  I never won a state championship in high school and to be able to work up the ranks, and finish on top in my career is really special for me,” said Leap.

He followed that up last week by placing second at the NCAA Eastern Preliminary with a jump of 53′ 8 1/2″ to earn a spot in the NCAA championships June 8-11 in Eugene, Oregon.

If he performs well enough there, there’s still an outside shot Leap couple be selected for the U.S. Olympic trials later this summer.

High school coach Mr. Nick Lovrich said his success all comes down to Leap’s work ethic.

“I thought Brian would be able to do well, but I’m not sure anyone really expected for him to be doing this good. It’s great to see his hard work and great work ethic to bring him to this point,” said Lovrich.

Last year, during Brian’s senior academic year, he redshirted to sit back from competition and allow Penn State to have a group to make a championship run in 2016. The move worked as Leap never lost in dual competition this season.

“The redshirt kind of took me by surprise.  I was planning on finishing my track career out last year, only having one semester left. I took the year off to train for more success and it really paid off,” said Leap.

Brian is going into his final meet with a lot of momentum in his favor.  While he never lost a dual meet, the biggest competitors are right ahead of him.  He spent much of the season ranked in the top 3 in the country for the triple jump, but on any given day someone could put out a great jump.

Being one of the top jumpers in the country, everyone is looking for big things.

Coach Lovrich will be one of the supporters from Central Pennsylvania there in Eugene to cheer Brian on.

“It’s nice to know that someone you coached is having the kind of success that doesn’t happen too often on such a high level. It’s very nice to see him do well on the field and in his career,” said Lovrich.

As for life after track? Brian gave a little inside on what he plans to do once his career at Penn State is over.

He said he plans on being a “regular old man,” and start his career at Sheetz as an industrial engineer at their distribution center.