The Times Athlete of the Week: Ottawa track and field’s Shaylen Quinn

Quinn wins online vote after repeating as conference champ

Shaylen Quinn

After 501 votes were cast in an online poll, The Times Athlete of the Week, sponsored by SOCU, is Ottawa girls track and field’s Shaylen Quinn.

Quinn received 237 votes after repeating as the champion of the 400-meter run at the Interstate 8 Conference Meet, clocking in at 1 minute, 2.35 seconds. She finished first on a ballot that also included runner-up Emma Mino (Seneca softball), Alyssa Arambula (Streator girls soccer) and Zach Schultz (Streator boys track and field).

Here is regional sports editor J.T. Pedelty’s Q&A with Quinn.

Ottawa's Shaylen Quinn and L-P's Ashlee Lord run in the 800-meter race during the Interstate 8 Conference Meet on Friday, May 3, 2024, at the L-P Athletic Complex in La Salle.

Do you have any nicknames?

Quinn: Shay for close friends/family, Lenny for my teammates.

How old were you when you started competing in track and field? What made you want to try the sport?

Quinn: I decided to join in fifth grade. I really wanted to try hurdles because it seemed so cool that people were able to jump them while running.

You repeated as the 400-meter champion at the Interstate 8 Conference Meet. How does it feel to be a two-time conference champion?

Quinn: It feels amazing! I’m so grateful I’ve been able to experience and achieve this. I’m hoping for the third year in a row next year.

Being a junior, you still have one year to run in high school. What goals do you have for your senior season?

Quinn: My biggest goal is to go to state. It’s something I’ve been really wanting since I’ve started my track journey. I came super close this year in the 400 by running a 59.60. Another goal is to just PR [set a personal record] and see if I can break the school-record time for the 400.

What’s your favorite subject in school?

Quinn: I really enjoy psychology/science classes.

You and the team are going out to dinner to celebrate. Where do you go, and what do you order?

Quinn: Chipotle! I’ll get my go-to order of a bowl with white rice, black beans, chicken al Pastor, queso, pico, corn salsa, cheese, lettuce and have it with some hot sauce and chips.

What movie would you say you’ve seen more than any other? About how many times?

Quinn: Probably “The Princess and the Frog.” I’m guessing I’ve seen it around 30 times.

What is your favorite book now? How about your favorite when you were little?

Quinn: I don’t really read a lot of books now, but I’d say “The Help.” My favorite book when I was little was “May Bird and the Ever After.”

Is there a fact about you that might surprise people who only know you through sports?

Quinn: Probably that I’m an only child.

Do you have any college plans, and if so, do they involve sports?

Quinn: I’m still unsure what college currently, but I know I want to major in occupational therapy. I’m really hoping my college career will involve track and cross country.

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