By Jonathan Clink – Collegiate Staff
The year is 2010. An energetic seventh grader is handed a flyer advertising the intense sport of cross country. Presented with a positive activity at this impressionable age, Jessica Quist pursued the opportunity with all of her efforts and blossomed in the sport. Her life from that moment on was changed forever, and for the better. Destined to run. Her destiny’s alteration set in motion by a cross country flyer.
Quist came in 10th place among the 36 competing in Junior College division last Friday. This was a favorable result for her first 6K and her second collegiate event. Quist also came in at second among the five members of the women’s team, 18 seconds behind Freshman Jackie Jernigan, who came in sixth among junior college runners.
Quist said that it made “no difference” to win.
“I am happy for my teammates’ success and just work to be the best that I can be,” Quist said.
Two weeks earlier, Quist finished first among her teammates at the Calvin College invitational. Quist passed Jernigan down the final stretch and finished 10 seconds ahead of her teammate. She did not take pride in finishing first on her team, but was pleased with her own personal performance.
“I don’t compete with anyone, I compete with myself to get faster and stronger,” Quist said. She also noted that she had been sick the week leading up to the race.
One of the hardest things to find in youth today is a positive attitude accompanied by a desire to conquer and overcome. Jessica Quist, GRCC cross country runner, possesses these qualities. Quist believes that one of the most important traits of a cross country team is to maintain a positive attitude.
“You can either motivate yourself, or, you can just be miserable,” she said.
So what motivates Quist to run? Many are drawn to the evolutionary biological basis for the “runner’s high” one can experience. Quist had other reasons for her motivation. “My family didn’t run themselves, but encouraged me to keep going,” she said.
Where is she running to? The obvious answer is the finish line, but Quist has an additional response. Although highly competitive with herself and her previous performances, Quist does not necessarily possess a “winning is everything” mentality.
“Placing number one doesn’t really matter to me, more if I feel like I gave my all during the race,” Quist said.
One of the reasons for Quist’s success is her high level of focus. Quist exemplified this in her claim not to watch TV, even while it is on and she is in the room. While most people would be entertaining themselves, Quist has homework to do. When her sister or a friend is there watching and potentially providing distractions, she has focused vision on her homework.
“I don’t have free time now,” she said. “Running is my hobby.”
Off the track, Jessica said one of her purposes is to help others. She has taken two mission trips to Guatemala and hopes to go again. Jessica enjoys traveling and spending time with friends. In the future, Quist hopes to be married with kids, possibly leading a life as a personal trainer or perhaps a physical therapist assistant. She is currently planning on transferring to Grand Valley State after two or three years at GRCC improving as a runner.