Maine's 'Flex' Labreck punches ticket to ANW finals in Vegas

CLEVELAND (NEWS CENTER) — Oakland native Jesse Labreck extended her thrilling sophomore season on NBC's American Ninja Warrior by qualifying for the national finals in Las Vegas.

"Flex" Labreck was shown last month hitting her first-ever buzzer during the Cleveland qualifying round, which advanced her to Monday night's tape-delayed city finals episode.

A new obstacle called the "Nail Clipper" stole a chance for consecutive buzzers — and was responsible for the conclusion of 19 other ninjas' runs — however, the Messalonskee High School grad and former University of Maine heptathlete still finished as the top female competitor and will now compete in her second national finals.

Waterville native Jon Alexis Jr. and Labreck's boyfriend, Chris DiGangi also failed on the Nail Clipper, finishing third and 10th, respectively. They'll both join Labreck in Vegas for the finals.

In addition to the Nail Clipper, the Cleveland city final course included Floating Steps, Rolling Lob, Razor's Edge, Ring Jump, I-Beam Gap, Warped Wall, Salmon Ladder, The Clacker and Elevator Climb.

PHOTOS: Cleveland Finals - American Ninja Warrior 2017

Labreck, who is now considered one of the show's breakout athletes, was recently crowned 2017 champion of the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association (UNAA).

Last year, the 27-year-old became the fourth woman in American Ninja Warrior history to qualify for the national finals, and the first to ever qualify as a rookie. She failed to make it past Stage 1 in Vegas but was still one of only three women to make it that far.

Official air dates for the Vegas finals episodes have yet to be released, but you can expect to watch "Flex" compete sometime around the last week in August or first week of September.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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