A great defender for a girls soccer team that set a program record for wins and advanced further than it ever had in the playoffs.
A great gymnast, earning all-state elite honors in consecutive seasons and getting as high as third in the all-around as a junior.
And in track and field, she entered this season having been to state four times in the pole vault, clearing 10-feet, 6-inches in every trip.
But this spring, she was plenty pleased to shed that label. At least the consistent part … partially.
While 10-6 was certainly nothing to sneer at, putting her among the best in the state from the time she was an eighth grader, LeBlanc added an exclamation point to her lengthy laundry list of accomplishments this spring.
After snatching another pair of titles in the Granite Ridge Conference (10-feet, 6-inches) and at the Section 8AA meet (10-feet, 1-inches), LeBlanc cleared 11-feet in the Class AA state competition, earning fourth place.
“Because Rachelle is one of the top pole vaulters in the state, it comes as no surprise that my favorite moment in her high school career was her performance at the state meet this year,” Little Falls girls head coach Tara Schlagel said. “After her unforgettable (jump), she had a smile a mile wide and I was so happy to see her high school career ending with such an incredible performance. I was just happy to be a part of it.
“As a coach, I have never seen an athlete so focused, talented and hardworking as Rachelle was during her track and field career,” she said. “She made the whole team better just by being on it. She modeled success and leadership at both practice and in meets and it was extremely contagious to those on the team. Looking back at all of the top finishes she earned throughout her career, it speaks volumes as to how extraordinary her athletic talents are. Rachelle is one of those rare athletes that don’t come around very often.”
LeBlanc’s success in the pole vault overshadowed her contributions in a variety of other events, helping produce points in bulk for the Flyers en route to a second Granite Ridge Conference championship in a row.
“Rachelle is a very versatile athlete,” Schlagel said. “In her career, she has competed in the pole vault, long jump, 100-meter, 200-meter, 4×100 relay, 4×200 relay and high jump. I could’ve entered her into almost any event and she would’ve found success. Watching her compete is remarkable.”
A prime example of that versatility came at this year’s section 8AA meet.
“One of my favorite moments in Rachelle’s career came this year at the section meet in Thief River Falls,” Schlagel said. “This was the first year I used Rachelle in the 4×100 relay and going into the section meet the relay team was seeded 12th. They ended up finishing in sixth place while shaving over a second off their best overall time. I know Rachelle loved running in relays and it was so fun to see her celebrate with the team. They were all so excited to represent Little Falls on the awards stand together.”
LeBlanc will now head to the University of Minnesota-Duluth to compete in track and field, and see how much higher she can soar.
“I wish that Rachelle could forever compete as a Flyer, but I know she is ready to move forward and become a collegiate athlete,” Schlagel said. “I know that success will follow her and am so lucky to have been a part of Rachelle’s high school track and field career. She is truly a coach’s dream.”
MC Record Athletes of the Year:
2014: Rachelle LeBlanc, LF
2012: Megan Wiener, Royalton