Youth Track & Field
Quintessentials looking for more success at AAU Regionals
by Doug Gorman
When Scott Quinn was looking for a track and field team for his children to join two years ago, he decided his best bet was to start his own program.
It was a decision that struck gold literally, as in just a few short years the team has left behind a trail of medals and other honors.
The Quintessentials are now one of the most competitive youth track programs in Coweta County, with Quinn’s own children and other team members earning medals whenever they step on the track.
Starting today, the team will be well-represented at the AAU Regional Quali- fier at Twelve Oaks Stadium in Lovejoy. The event runs through Sunday.
The goal is simple for mem- bers of the local track team: Earn a spot at the AAU Junior Olympics July 28-August 2 in Des Moines, Iowa. In order to do that, runners must finish in the top eight of their individual events.
This week’s venue will be a familiar one for the Quintessentials.
Earlier this month, the AAU state qualifier was held at Twelve Oaks, with the team distinguishing itself thanks to gold-medal performances from 9-year-old Aaron Fen- imore (triathlon), 10-year-old Brady Judson (1500 race walk), and 9-year-old Josiah Quinn (1500 race walk, dis- cus, javalin), 9-year-old Samuel Quinn (high jump), 10-year-old Dylan Faulkner (triathlon), and 9-year-old Peyton Lainey (shot put).
The Quintessentials have already enjoyed plenty of success this season, winning the Crystal League track and field title. The six-meet series allowed athletes to compete in multiple events.
“It’s (the Crystal League) good because it is a devel- opmental series. It gives us a chance to see the strength and weakness of each athlete,” Quinn said.
Only 10 athletes competed for the Quintessentials during the Crystal League sea- son, but the squad flexed its muscles in both running and field events to run away with the title in the Division I group.
The Crystal League also offers a Division II and III competition for squads with bigger rosters.
“Our kids did a bang-up job, and ended up having twice as many points as the next team in our division,” Quinn said. “There were only five teams who scored over 1,000 points and the rest were bigger teams in Division II and III, so we are really proud of the kids.”
Josiah Quinn capped the Crystal season by earning the Beast Award, given to the athlete who scored the most points in his division.
The team’s early success is helping it grow as more young athletes join the winning track team.
“We have picked up another three or four athletes since the Crystal League,” Quinn said. “I think we are up to about 13 or 14 athletes now.”
This week, the Quintessentials shift their focus to the AAU Regionals, where they will compete against teams from both Georgia and South Carolina.
Quinn’s squad is no stranger to success at this meet. A year ago, the Quint- essentials earned 11 gold medals at the Sectionals.
“It is like last year,” Quinn said. “We use the same philosophy. We told the kids, I have a One A and a One B plan. First thing is, you have to be safe, we don’t want to get anybody hurt. The second thing is, it has to be fun. We can work hard and still have fun. We can be dead tired, and still have fun. If they are not having fun, it is not worth it.”
Quinn also knows the mea- sure of success is different with each athlete.
“We focus on develop- ment,” he said. “We don’t move a kid forward until they are ready. You have to take care of ABC before we worry about XYZ. We just build on fundamentals.”
Quinn points to the success his team in throwing events for how not rushing an ath- lete works in his favor.
“As our throwers become more advanced, we can apply more technique,” Quinn said. “The way we measure our success and progress is we tell the kids they are in com- petition with themselves. We let them know they can’t con- trol how fast somebody else runs, jumps or throws. The goal from meet to meet is to get a new personal record. My experience has been, if you do this, and you concentrate on getting a new personal record each time, you are going to eventual find yourself competing and doing well. Last time, we came home with a ton of medals and a ton of PRs. I think most of our kids had at least one, and most had two or three."
Personal records will again be the goal this week.
“If everybody concentrates on getting PRs, that should correlate into moving on to the Junior Olympics in Iowa,” he said.