One-on-One with Quinn Cooney '19
This week, The Dartmouth sat down with Quinn Cooney ’19, a member of the cross country and track and field teams. In his first collegiate cross country meet, Cooney led the team to a win at the Dartmouth Invitational with a first-place finish in the 8-kilometer course, which he ran in 25:16:01.
After breaking his navicular bone in high school, Cooney redshirted his freshman fall, and now looks to lead the Big Green in a successful fall campaign.
How was your first collegiate cross country experience?
QC: It was a lot of fun. It was in a pretty controlled environment at the Dartmouth relays. With the course, it was something that I was pretty familiar with, and just being out there with my teammates was fun.
How did it feel to be the top collegiate runner in the Dartmouth Invitational?
QC: It feels good. It wasn’t that unexpected for me. I was ready to make the jump up this year, and I put in a lot of work this summer, so I was excited to do that, and realize that I accomplished the first step in my goals.
How does competing for your first year as a sophomore change how you approach the sport and your role on the team?
QC: I know what it takes to be at that next level. Last year we had some failures at the end, and I’ve seen what caused that, and I think that having that experience of seeing the team last year, and what happened to them, and just learning from that and changing up our mindset has been very beneficial to us.
What are your team goals for the rest of the season?
QC: We want to do some big stuff at [Ivy League Championships]. Our mindset this year has been that we want to take our eyes off of really big goals because that can become overwhelming for us, so right now our mind set is “today is your most important run, and today’s run [is what] you focus on.” I think that’s really been working for us.
What are some of your personal goals for the rest of the season?
QC: I just want to be the best teammate I can be and help the team out as much as I can. I don’t really have any specific goals in terms of times or places right now. Whenever the team needs me I’ll be there.
When did you realize cross country was something you wanted to pursue at the collegiate level?
QC: Probably my junior year of high school was when I really set my mind to it. I played baseball all throughout high school, I never ran outdoor track, and I’d been trying to decide between which one I really wanted to pursue my junior year. Things were really clicking [that year], and that’s when I actually knew that I was going to try to run at the collegiate level.
QC: A big reason was just the running around here. The trails are so beautiful...and just the environment in general; the academic environment is really good.
Cross country has a major mental control factor. What do you do to focus throughout competition?
QC: I just try to not think about the pain I’m in a lot of times. You know having teammates next to you in races and in workouts definitely helps a lot as well; that’s like the biggest thing that helps me get through it.
What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about distance running?
QC: I don’t like core that much or like any type of weight training. My favorite thing is just going out for a distance run with my teammates. We have this thing called “the sound of music,” where you climb up to the woods and pop up on a dirt road overlooking like all of Norwich. When you get up there, that’s one of the best feelings.
What is it like to be in season all year (for cross country and track)?
QC: It’s a grind, but that’s all I really know, so you just get used to it. We don’t miss that much school for meets or anything, but it can definitely become a grind towards the end of the year.
If you could describe your team culture in three words what would it be?
QC: Fun, goal-motivated and grinders.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.