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John’s Journal: The Quinn Kids Play On In Winona

“Mom would have wanted us to play soccer”

Posted: Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 3:20 PM


The Quinns: Hope, Faith, Jason, Grace, Reagan.

The season ended for the Winona High School girls soccer team with a 1-0 loss to Kasson-Mantorville on Oct. 14 in the Class 2A Section 1 semifinals. It was a very good season, too; the Winhawks finished with a record of 12-4-2.

There were lots of highlights, with one of them coming when four members of the same family were in the starting lineup for a home game against Faribault in early October.

Grace Quinn is a senior, Faith is a sophomore (who was named All-State this fall), Hope is in ninth grade and Reagan is a seventh-grader. The youngest kids are Ireland (fourth grade) and Lincoln (second grade). Their dad, Jason, is an assistant coach on the Winhawks soccer team, working with head coach Katie Pearce.

“I was super pumped, I was really excited,” Grace said about the one-time sisters-in-the-starting-lineup game when I sat down with the Quinns earlier this week.

The four sisters were announced in birth order, youngest to oldest. Reagan was the first of them announced to the crowd, and she wasn’t quite sure what to do.

“I was excited but when I ran onto the field I didn’t know where to stand,” Reagan said. “I went up to Hope and said, ‘What do we do?’ ”

That night was lots of fun, and the soccer season as a whole has been a blessing for the Quinn kids and Jason. Their mother/wife, Dr. Laurel Quinn, was 44 when she passed away on July 14.

Laurel, a St. Cloud Tech graduate who was an ophthalmologist, had fought acute myeloid leukemia for years. The disease was diagnosed when she was pregnant with Lincoln. She had several rounds of chemotherapy, underwent a stem-cell transplant and other therapies. There was a period of two years when she was in good health, but the disease returned.

“I think it was great to get back to normal after everything,” Grace said of the soccer season. “It was my sixth year in high school soccer, dad’s been coaching for five years. It is kind of normal, along with school starting. Mom loved soccer, she was always there to watch.”

Faith said, “I thought the season was a lot of fun. We’ve been a young team and this year really reflected how far we’ve grown and improved and how much we want for next year.”

Laurel was a high-level athlete in her own right, competing in swimming, gymnastics and track and field in high school. While attending the University of Minnesota – where she earned undergraduate and medical degrees – she used her gymnastics skills to become a member of the Gophers cheer team for football and basketball, as well as a cheer team member with the Timberwolves.

Jason and Laurel knew each other in high school at Tech. He attended St. Cloud State and played soccer for the Huskies.

The Quinn kids stay busy with school, band, soccer, basketball and other activities. They compete in triathlons in the summer.

Grace hasn’t made a college decision but is thinking about taking biology or a similar pre-med track and becoming a surgeon. The University of Minnesota is on her list, “just like mom,” she said. “I think that would be cool to follow in her footsteps.”

The Quinns have received support from their family and friends, along with teammates and patients who were treated by Laurel.

“A bunch of basketball teammates came to the wake, a bunch of teachers, too,” said Grace. “And a lot of people I didn’t recognize. They said, ‘Your mom operated on me.’ ”

“There were a lot of hugs,” said Faith. “We didn’t know all of those people but they still came.”

Captain’s practices took place in July and summer soccer camp was held later that month. The Quinns and some of their friends participated in or watched games at the USA Cup in Blaine that same month.

“At one game, it seemed like mom’s whole side of the family was there,” Reagan said.

“We decided we didn’t want to sit home and cry,” said Hope. “We wanted to get back into things.”

Said Grace, “Mom would have wanted us to play soccer.”

--A memorial fund has been established to provide educational support for the Quinn children at Edward Jones. Checks should be paid to the order of Edward Jones, for Quinns and sent to 3760 Service Drive, Winona, MN 55987.

--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected] 


Laurel Quinn

Laurel Quinn was a cheer team member with the Timberwolves and Gophers.

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