LeBrun shines on the big stage
- David Ball
- Gresham Outlook - Sports
The Portland Lutheran senior set the 1A state record in the 100-meter dash to wrap up a stellar prep career
Portland Lutheran senior Lindsay LeBrun is a lot of things - a state sprint champion, an honors student, a school record holder. But above all else, LeBrun is not a quitter.
'Our motto has always been that if you start something, you see it through to the end,' her mother Judy says. 'It's an important lesson for kids to learn.'
LeBrun's varsity jacket tells her story.
There are symbols for everything from dance team and basketball to track and field and volleyball. Six stars run vertically next to the 'P' for Portland Lutheran, celebrating each time she has finished a season on the biggest stage - state.
You don't wear this kind of collection without putting in the work.
For LeBrun the work started before she ever put on a blue and white jersey.
A member of youth teams since middle school, she was excited to take that step into high school varsity sports. But before she could do that, she had to take a physical exam. Just weeks before starting high school, LeBrun was diagnosed with scoliosis - curvature of the spine.
It was nothing that was going to prevent her from competing. She could still fight for rebounds on the basketball court and dive after wayward volleyballs. It just meant that she would endure intense pain each match, each practice, each road run.
'She's suffered silently through a lot of back pain, but it's always been important to her that she goes out and does her best,' Judy says. 'When she sets her mind to something, she always sees it through. That has always impressed me.'
'For me sports is about never giving up, but also having fun at the same time,' Lindsay said. 'I enjoy being around my teammates and all that encouragement we give each other.'
Spectators would be hard-pressed to see that LeBrun was struggling at all. She was a go-to shooter on the basketball court, and on the track she was almost always the fastest girl in the lanes. The only visible clue about her ailment was the slight lean she would take when dribbling a ball down the court.
LeBrun decided that dealing with back pain was a minor nuisance, well worth staying active in her sports world. In fact, she expanded her athletic experiences upon first arriving on the high school landscape.
It began her freshman year with the Blue Jays, little more than a month into her first varsity season. Midway through fall sports, the school put out a notice looking for dance team members. The squad needed a few additional members in order to be eligible to compete at state.
LeBrun, already a member of the volleyball team, was first in line to pull double duty.
The stakes got higher at the start of her sophomore season.
Well on her way to becoming a main cog in the volleyball program, she was urged by cross country coach John Roady to spend her free weekends running the trails with his squad.
Her first race came at the Knappa Invitational on a unique course that takes runners up steep hills, through a barn and even across a river at a couple points. Roady knew of her speed from the previous track and field season, she was the district 100-meter champ as a freshman. But he never imagined the girl used to running straight-aways would still be in the lead pack when the distance was stretched to three miles.
'She was having a great race - running in the top-10 just on natural ability,' Roady said. 'She came into sight with about 100 meters and she's a sprinter, so I was expecting this great kick to end the race.'
Instead, the moment turned into slow motion.
LeBrun had pushed her body to its limit, and with the finish line in sight, it was about to push back.
With about 50 meters to go, she began vomiting.
A pack of runners was closing ground, but LeBrun wasn't about to surrender her spot. She twisted her body into a sideways stride, still heaving up the contents of her stomach. LeBrun entered the finishing chute exhausted in eighth place. The pack didn't overtake her.
'She's always been a person that's going to go out and give it her all - you never count her out,' Roady said.
LeBrun showed a different kind of endurance on the basketball court, joining classmates Morgan Grubb and Patricia Stein, as rookie members on a girls basketball team that had only five members. That meant no subs, no breaks and as it turned out no victories.
'She was one of our iron ladies,' Roady says. 'We were one ankle sprain away from having to end the season, but we made it through all 25 games. She's just a hard worker. She never complains.'
While their freshman season was a wash out, that trio of players helped the Blue Jays reach the Valley 10 playoffs during their final two high school seasons. As seniors the squad scored a playoff victory.
But LeBrun's calling card has long been the straight lanes of track and field. She is a rare four-time Valley 10 champion in the 100-meter dash, also winning that race at the 1A state meet the last two seasons.
LeBrun defended her title as a senior, despite losing to Condon-Wheeler's Ellie Logan during the regular season. When the duo lined up in the center lanes for the state final, it was LeBrun hitting the finish line in a state record time of 12.66 seconds.
But her favorite moment involved a team effort. It came in the 400-meter relay final during her junior season when the Blue Jays qualified as the No. 4 seed, but used a big finish by LeBrun to lean in front of Saint Paul at the finish to win by .11 hundredths.
'Winning that relay was pretty awesome,' Lindsay said. 'I was surprised I caught that girl, it was a great effort by all of us.'
The sprints will be her focus when she moves onto college where she has signed with Seattle Pacific University. She plans to undergo surgery this summer to relieve the twists in her spine before taking on her first college racing season.
For a look at the other honorees representing Damascus Christian, Portland Lutheran and Corbett, pick up a copy of our Friday, June 8, edition.