U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
Name: Julianne (Julie) Labach
School: University of Saskatchewan
Sport: Track and field (formerly soccer as well)
Position: Middle distance
Year of eligibility: Fifth
Hometown: Saskatoon, Sask.
1. What attracted you to the University of Saskatchewan?
Coming out of high school, I was recruited to both the U of S Huskie women’s soccer team and the Huskie track and field team. The opportunity to play both of the sports that I love at a varsity level was one I simply couldn’t pass up. Although I have decided to focus solely on track for my final year of eligibility, I spent four years as a dual-sport athlete, and I think it speaks volumes about both programs that they were willing to work together to accommodate my participation and help me to achieve success in both sports.
Upon completing my Bachelor of Commerce this spring, I found myself once again in the recruiting process as I decided where to go for law school. I opted to remain at the U of S because I felt that it would best allow me to balance the demands of, and achieve continued success in, both law school and track.
2. What’s your favourite memory, and your greatest athletic achievement as a U SPORTS student-athlete?
This past indoor track season was a really special one for me. At the Canada West Track and Field Championships, I won the 600m and 1000m, and placed second in the 1500m and 4x400m relay. At the U SPORTS national championships, I competed in those same four events, winning the 1000m and placing third in the 600m. So, I would say my favourite memory would be winning that national title. My greatest athletic achievement would be playing both soccer and track for the past four years.
3. Where are you hoping your path will take you after university?
Athletically, I plan to continue to run competitively post-collegiately. As my times continue to improve, there are a number of teams I would like to make and competitions I hope to attend. The 2019 FISU Summer Universiade team is definitely on my radar.
Professionally, I am looking forward to completing my law degree and excited to see where that may take me. I have a commerce undergrad with a finance major, so perhaps I’ll look to combine those two interests.
4. Who’s had the greatest influence on your athletic career?
My parents! My mom is a runner, and she is the one that first got me into running. Both she and my dad have always been my biggest fans. My little sister also plays varsity soccer for the Huskies, so it really is a family affair.
5. Who is someone in the sports world, past or present, with whom you’d love to have dinner with? Why?
Tough question, but I think I’d have to go with Serena Williams. Arguably the best tennis player of all time, she is also an entrepreneur and a mother and just a total boss. Need I say more?
6. What is your pre-game ritual? Do you have any superstitions/idiosyncrasies around preparing yourself for a game?
I have a ton, but one of my idiosyncrasies is that I don’t tell people about my idiosyncrasies. I can say that I am very big on mindfulness and visualization, so I definitely incorporate those types of exercises.
7. What’s your go-to song to get pumped up for practice or a game?
Every year I come up with a new playlist, and listen to it pretty much on repeat until I get sick of it. I just retired last year’s playlist, so I’m actually looking for a new go-to at the moment. Please send recommendations my way!
8. What’s your favourite social media account to follow?
I really enjoy following the fashion blog @manrepeller! It is quite funny and quirky, and I love that it provides insight into a world so different from my own student-athlete experience. But of course, @huskiestfcc and @huskiewsoc are a close second.
9. If you could try another sport, what would it be and why?
I’d love to be able to do gymnastics. I’m not very flexible, and I can’t even do a cartwheel, so I’ve always been in awe of gymnasts. I just love watching them during the Olympics. Those girls are such incredible athletes, and they just seem to have no fear! I was a big fan of the monkey bars as a kid, so the uneven bars seem particularly fun.
10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you as an athlete?
My first time at the outdoor senior nationals, I didn’t meet the required 800m time standard earlier so I had to run in the qualifying heats. I won my heat, which would have advanced me on to the semifinals, but ended up being disqualified because I stopped about two meters short of the finish line and stepped off the track too early. I misunderstood which line was the finish line and thought I had finished! There were big pylons on either side of the track where I stopped, which we often use in Saskatoon to signify the finish line, so when I saw them I just assumed it was the end. Definitely a rookie mistake!