WILTON, Conn. – Wilton High School junior Shannon Quinlan is a lacrosse player who also runs track. But even two league championships in school-record time won’t change her ultimate direction.
Quinlan was selected The Wilton Daily Voice Athlete of the Month after winning the 55-meter dash and 300 meter run in last week’s Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championships.
She won the 55 in 7.46, tying Brynn Parsons’ school record that was set in 2009. In the 300, her time of 41.04 erased the record of 42.7 set by Julie Ring in 1984. It is also the third fastest time in the state this winter, according to the website MileSplit.com, and is 47th in the country.
But track is a secondary sport for Quinlan. She committed in December to play lacrosse at James Madison University.
“My heart is so set on lacrosse,’’ she said. “A lot of people use indoor track to get in shape for lacrosse and spring sports. My heart for the winter season is on track, but I know I’m playing college lacrosse.”
Her victories in the league championships will provide a lifetime of track memories. The one in the 55 was a surprise. Quinlan, who was second in the 45-meter dash at the Eastern Divisional championships, held off Greenwich’s Anna Black (7.49) and Norwalk’s Tamia Taylor (7.5).
The 300, however, was the highlight of Quinlan’s night. She charged to the lead at the start. Darien’s Anna Sulger, who finished second and had beaten Quinlan at the divisional meet, stayed hot on Quinlan’s heels. Quinlan dug deep, and her time shattered her previous best of 42.8.
“I knew Anna was close, and that I had to book it the whole time,’’ she said. “It was nerve-wracking. I was praying my legs wouldn’t give out on me. I wasted all of my energy in that last 100.”
Afterwards, Ring sent Quinlan a congratulatory e-mail for taking down the 29-year-old record.
Quinlan started running indoor track last year, and the experience paid big dividends. “I really didn’t know what to expect last year,’’ she said. “This year I’m more comfortable with everything.”
“She’s very strong and powerful,’’ coach Jeff Gee said. “She was chosen as one of the captains because of her personality, and I think that added responsibility has made her a better athlete.”
Quinlan, who is captain of the Wilton sprinters with Lindsay Lauricella and Katie Ward, said she found the right mind-set early in the day. “I knew it was going to be a huge deal, and I’m always more psyched up to run in the FCIACs,’’ she said. “I know all the girls, and I know it’s a big deal to compete against the athletes from the top conference in the state. I was just amped up to run.”
The result was a night she’ll remember forever — even when she’s playing lacrosse.
“When you win the FCIAC title, it’s a big deal because the league is kind of dominant in the state,’’ Gee said. “She was hot.”
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