SJ Youth Wrestler Sets Big Goals

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Kentucky Exposition Center

SJ Youth Wrestler Sets Big Goals
By Chris Hallead

The bigger someone’s goals are, the less I tend to doubt them….. this young man leaves no doubts at all.  I met up with Donovan Quinn at 8:30 last night at Simmons Academy of Wrestling.  He was finishing up practice as he prepares to head to Kentucky in the morning to represent Team Michigan in the NUWAY State Based National Duals 10U Division.  He weighs in tomorrow, competes in individuals on Friday (freestyle) and then Saturday and Sunday he’ll be wrestling the duals for Team Michigan (folkstyle.)

The bar for St. Johns wrestlers has been set really high so you need to have big goals to keep up in this town.  At 10 years old, his list of accomplishments may be the only thing longer than his list of goals.  “I want to be 1st at States (MYWAY) and First or 2nd at Nationals (NUWAY)”  As a team his father, Andrew Quinn, and Donovan started setting goals at the age of seven.  He was starting to work with Rodger Massa, who told him he needed to set small goals, large goals and really big goals.  “One of my role models, Taylor Massa, got 231 wins and zero losses in High School. I want 232 wins and zero losses”

Donovan and Logan Massa. Donovan considers Logan, Taylor and Rodger some of his greatest role models.

During the practice, Andrew and I talked about how Donovan got started in wrestling. “When he was little we saw in him an interest in running into things and knocking things over.”  “We needed a way to get some of this energy out for him.”  He tried basketball, baseball and football. “After football practice, we would come to wrestling practice, because he still had a ton of energy.”  Donovan started practicing when he was 4 and a half years old, working with Coach Parsons and St Johns Youth Wrestling.  He competed in his first tournament the following year. “We worked with Rodger and Taylor Massa for quite a while and then Nick opened up here (SAW) so we were going back and forth.  And then we were going between here and St. Johns.  Logan Massa came home the following summer and we started working a lot with him. Tyler Dickenson is another coach we worked a lot with last spring.  Its impressive the plethora of knowledge and wrestling talent we have in the area.”

School comes first for Donovan and practice is his reward for keeping up with his studies.  A typical week includes swimming on Tuesdays, a training regimen at home where he does 100 shots and stand-ups on our mat at home and 300- 400 sit-ups and push-ups a day and 5 to 6 days of wrestling practice at Simmons Academy of Wrestling.  “Kids from a lot of other areas are training with him as partners here. We’ve had Logan Massa and a couple other Olympic Redshirt Athletes from the University of Michigan wrestling team running practices on Saturdays.” Someone else who trained here was James Whitaker, 2018 State Champion from St. Johns at 140 lbs and current wrestler at the University of Virginia.  

Donovan with Coach Nick. 2nd at USA Freestyle Pre-National Regionals in Ohio.

Donovan finished up his practice, finishes up his rope climbs and then told me about some more of his goals. “I want to go to the University of Michigan for College, get 1st at Worlds and go on to be a Gold Medalist”  I asked him what he wanted to do when he grows up; “I want to be a Marine Biologist. I hope to get a scholarship for Grad School” “Did you tell him about your big goal?”, his dad asks… “I want to be a father. And do whats right for my kids.”

I told you he had big goals.




Thank you to Donovan and Andrew for sharing with us.  We look forward to the updates from Kentucky.  Thank you to Coach Nick for making this golfer/swimmer feel right at home in your wrestling facility.  We’d expect nothing less from someone who dedicates himself to helping youth athletes.

Donovan “Vanimal” Quinn
2019 USA Wrestling Freestyle State Champion
USA Wrestling Regionals/ Ohio qualified 2nd
6th Place National Finals

Sports Essay – Donovan Quinn (10)

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