Quinn cements tennis status with Class 6A four-peat
The term "legend" gets thrown around a little too loosely at times when a star is instantly cemented as an all-time great without a sense of the past.
But get a load of Jesuit senior Michael Quinn's career accomplishments.
The Crusader tennis player won four Class 6A state championship doubles championships with three different partners from 2013-14. He was part of four Metro League district program titles and two Metro doubles championships. And to top it all off, Quinn was an integral piece of three 6A state championships for Jesuit under the direction of head coach Jeff Wood.
The ever humble Quinn wouldn't consider himself one of the program's best players ever, though his never-ending résumé of achievements would suffice as circumstantial evidence to that claim. Quinn is a team player, first and foremost. He could've played singles and been a state title contender in that realm, but selflessly stuck at the doubles level for the good of the program and the ultimate team attainment. His exploits, Quinn believes, will better the Jesuit program as a whole moving forward, not just his own self-fulfillment.
"I think it might inspire other eighth-graders to come to Jesuit and play tennis," Quinn said. "It definitely helps the team. (Head coach) Jeff Wood has been awesome all four years I've been here."
Quinn and fellow senior Edward Murphy made sure Quinn clinched his "four-peat" by fellow Crusader counterparts Thomas Kallgren and Thomas Remington 6-4, 6-2 at the 6A state championship final on May 20. A week after getting upended at the Metro district championship meet and settling for fourth overall, Murphy and Quinn rallied with a marathon stretch of practices that shortened the gap between themselves and the field.
"We had to work together more and support each other more on the court," Murphy said. "That was the main thing for us. And as a program, even the people that don't play (in the matches) are there to support you and cheer you on. I feel like we have each other's backs."
"We had to be super energized, but focused at the same time," Quinn said. "It was about being calm, but confident. We try to keep up the high fives and the fist bumps. With (Murphy), the more matches we played the better. We were able to find our rhythm."
The result helped Jesuit clinch its second straight state title as a team the Friday before the state championship matches unfolded. And in a day in age where some say the Crusaders are the imperious upper crest of the Oregon tennis, Quinn and Murphy were all too happy to embrace the so-called hate and turn it into something positive.
"It's kind of funny, everyone hates us," Quinn said with a smile. "It's fun to be the one team everyone hates because we're super talented and work super hard. That's what makes us special. I'm not saying other teams don't work hard, but it's fun that we have that. All I care about is doing what I can do to help the team."
"It's a little annoying sometimes because you feel like other schools are rooting against you and cheering for a school they're not even from," Murphy said. "But, if you have hard work, that'll pay off and not affect anything."
Murphy said getting the chemistry down between himself took time, seeing that the two had never played together before this spring. Going into the district meet, however, the cohesion fused. Quinn explained his game and Murphy's are similar in style. Both players are jacks off all trade who play the volley game well and overall are the sort of solid competitors that don't make mistakes.
"It's not really one shot that defines us from each other," Quinn said.
Quinn and Murphy are both tall, muscular, right-handed rangy types who swathe the court with speed and quick reflexed limbs.
"It's harder to get the ball past us, obviously, but more so I think it makes our presence felt," Murphy said.
Quinn came onto the state radar as a freshman when he and senior Nathan Lortz formed one of the more unlikely state champion pairings to push through the bracket and come out as champions. Subsequently, Quinn and Tommy Mulflur teamed up for two more state crowns, blending their mix of energy and love of the game to create a power duo that owned the 6A classification. Murphy and Quinn were on a singular mission to remove the sting of seeing a district title escape their grasp.