Roland Quinn is not only fast on his feet, he s also quite persuasive.
Both attributes have contributed significantly to Start s boys track team building a reputation this season as one of the state s premier sprint teams.
Quinn, a senior, is the fastest among the Spartan sprinters and has been for four years. He swept the 100 and 200-meter events at the City League meet as a sophomore. He s virtually been unbeatable in the two events this season and is coming off arguably his best weekend ever.
Quinn, 5-11 and 193 pounds, dashed to record times Saturday to sweep the 100 and 200 at the prestigious Jesse Owens Classic in Columbus. Quinn s time of 10.89 in the 100 established a meet record, while his season-best time of 22.08 in the 200 set a meet and stadium record.
Quinn s exploits, which also included anchoring the 400 and 800 relay teams to first and second-place finishes, respectively, earned him the award as meet s outstanding performer. Asante White, Javon Haythorne and Jordy Franklin teamed with Quinn to win the 400 relay in a meet and stadium-record time of 42.43. That came less than 24 hours after the foursome won the event at the Knight Relays in a season-best time of 41.89.
“Once I saw all the people who were there, that had me hyped for it,” Quinn said of the Jesse Owens Classic, which included a second-place finish in the 800 relay (1:28.99). “We thought it would be cold in Columbus, but the weather was warm and we all got a good sweat during warm-ups.”
His performances speak volumes about the only four-year letterman currently involved in the Start program, according to coach John Flaminio. Yet, the work outside of the meets is what makes Quinn a special kind of student-athlete. He s as much responsible for the make-up of this year s Spartan team as anyone. It s because of him that White, Haythorne and Franklin are running.
White, a senior, has been a standout wide receiver on the football team the past three years. He is running track for the first time.
“All four years I ve been here I wanted to run track, but certain circumstances wouldn t allow me to,” White said. “Roland is one of the people that pushed me to come out and run.”
Quinn recruited White because he saw plenty of track potential in his football teammate. White has come on strong as Start s leadoff runner on the 400 and 800 relays.
“I played football for four years with him, so I finally asked him, why haven t you run track and you re playing football?” Quinn said. “He [White] said he didn t know why, but he s out here this year.”
Flaminio has leaned on Quinn for four years. He first named Quinn as a team captain when he was a sophomore.
Last spring Quinn basically spent the season serving as an assistant coach. Flaminio, who didn t have any assistants, called on Quinn to help. Quinn led workouts and even made sure others were at their assigned events.
“He is a real leader,” Flaminio said. “Roland has been a co-captain since his sophomore year. While he questions me from time to time and we talk about it, he s very interested in what he s doing. He s been a real pleasure to work with.
“Whenever I need to know what s going on with the team, he ll let me know. He doesn t just give lip service.”
Flaminio has a couple of assistants this season. However, Quinn admits he didn t mind the added responsibility.
“That made me more focused,” he said. “I knew that if everyone was depending on me and looking up to me I had to make sure I was doing what I needed to do.”
Haythorne, a junior, is running track for the second straight year. He also cites Quinn for being among the reasons why he and fellow junior Franklin are running.
“We listen to him because we know he can help us,” Haythorne said. “We have Roland s full trust because Roland likes to win and he s real strong with that.”
With Quinn leading the way the four have recorded 11 records in relay races this season, including the 400 relay mark eight times.
The times in the two events rank among the best in the state. Only Cleveland Glenville s 400 relay (41.11) and 800 relay (1:25.85) have posted better times regionally.
Quinn has yet to run at the state meet. That could change for Quinn and his relay teammates in this year s state meet in Columbus June 4-5.
“Barring injury and everything going according to the way our guys have been performing we could be right there,” Flaminio said.
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com or 419-724-6302.