Quinten Greiner was a fanatic about training. After preparing all year, he was ready to win the dune race at his senior cross country camp. Winning the race meant a great deal to the athletes on the team, and Quinten was determined to achieve his goal. Halfway up the hill, he saw a child who was notably distressed, and refused to budge. While in the lead, Quinten decided to stop and talk to him. After a few moments, the boy was calm, and Quinten put him on his shoulders, finishing the race with the child on his back and giving up his first place finish.
“That wasn’t something that he did for attention, it’s how he was,” Quinten’s father Bill Greiner said. “He wanted to serve.”
Quinten, a 2014 MHS graduate, passed away in a car accident on June 5. To honor the legacy he had left both at cross country and in the community, coach Marty Hollenbeck created a legacy award to be given to a senior at the cross country banquet in November.
“A lot of people were devastated with his death,” Hollenbeck said. “We decided to focus on his legacy, and talk about all the good things he did as a person. He taught us about being in the present. We’re taking the philosophy ‘Work hard, be successful, and then you’ll be happy’ and flipping it to ‘Work hard and be happy, and then you’ll be successful.”
The award will be given to a senior who embodies both the loving spirit of Quinten and his desire to leave a legacy. Throughout the cross country season, the team will be nominating teammates they believe are creating that culture of encouragement.
Senior Hanbyul Johnson is a captain on the team this year, and feels that the award is a good way to honor Quinten, while being beneficial to the team.
“It’s a good way for everyone to keep an eye out for how others are helping contribute to the team and give back,” Johnson said. “It’s a good reminder to seniors that they should be leaders and role models for the underclassmen.”
The award was funded by Saginaw Heritage High School. When they heard about the tragic death of Quinten, their cross country team raised $160. The money will be going towards purchasing the plaque for the award.
“Quinten wasn’t one of our best runners, so the fact that a team from across the district was willing to raise money for this speaks volumes as to who he was as a person,” Hollenbeck said.
Hollenbeck and Greiner agree that Quinten was a dedicated athlete who sought to see the success of his teammates over the success of himself. He would challenge others to push themselves harder, not for his personal glory, but for the satisfaction of seeing them reach their potential. The recipient of the award will have a similar mentality.
“They have to understand that to serve is to take the lower position, so as to be elevated,” Greiner said. “Those who want to gain their life must give it away.”
Jacob Krueger, a senior who knew Quinten, said that he was a mentor to him, as well as many others on the team. Krueger echoes what was said by both Hollenbeck and Greiner, saying that Quinten was a team player and would not only push his teammates to train harder, but also push them as people outside of cross country.
“He would always be going out and doing stuff, making the most of every day,” Krueger said. “Whereas people like me, who are more of an introvert, he pushed out to do more with each day.”
Hollenbeck reiterated that even at age 16, 17, or 18, students can build a legacy. He hopes his team carries this lesson throughout the season and their high school career. The legacy Quinten left serves as an example for the cross country team, but was not always as evident as it is now.
“We heard a lot of things,” Greiner said. “We saw things in his character that were growing, but we didn’t know a lot of stories that we heard. You leave a legacy and you don’t where the roots of that legacy reach out to.”
Written by Josh Danielson and Holly Stauffer
as appearing in the September 30, 2016 edition of FOCUS