Hailing from the hockey loving nation of Canada, Madelyn Quinn thrived on the ice.
As a right winger and defenseman in her home province of Nova Scotia, Quinn spent countless hours perfecting her shot at the net while stopping her opponents from scoring.
But after a childhood bout with mono left her unable to compete in the rink, Quinn traded her hockey stick for a javelin.
“I had to pick something to keep me in shape. My school was having track tryouts, so I went,” Quinn said. “I did really good about my third year, and so then it was like ‘OK, I’ll take this seriously.’”
Once Quinn was able to return to her previous sport, she played hockey in the winter and threw the javelin in the summer. She continued this routine until ultimately dedicating herself to javelin after her high school graduation.
Hoping to capture the attention of college coaches, Quinn created a recruiting profile online highlighting all her throwing distances. This introduced her to Belmont throws coach Joe Frye.
“I knew I wanted somebody to come in who was going to be a big-time javelin thrower,” Frye said. “I had to find somebody who was pretty good in high school but who also seemed like she had a pretty high ceiling.”
Connecting and speaking with Frye over the phone, Quinn traveled to Nashville, Tennessee for an official Belmont visit. Although her stats spoke for themselves, it was Quinn’s personality that sealed the deal.
“She seemed like a very personable being and a very likable person. I thought ‘okay, I can imagine myself coaching this person for the next four years,’” Frye said. “She could have thrown 10 meters farther, but if she’s not pleasant to be around, then that’s not good for our program.”
It wasn’t long before Quinn committed to Belmont, but as a Nova Scotia local, she found moving to Nashville difficult.
“As an international athlete, I feel like a lot of times, people overlook being independent and being on my own,” Quinn said. “My mom and dad aren’t just down the road. They’re a long way away.”
At Belmont, Quinn balances a rigorous track schedule as she practices her throws multiple times a week, while keeping up with her work as a nursing major.
“They’re both set schedules. My coach is very good at adjusting practice times to meet a lot of the athletes’ needs,” Quinn said. “And the nursing school is pretty good at adjusting class blocks so that I can kind of mix and match classes to make it work.”
On top of being a student athlete, Quinn was also able to represent Nova Scotia at the Niagara Canada Summer Games twice – in 2017 and 2022.
Quinn had to throw an impressive distance to even have a shot at making the team.
As a 17-year-old in the games, Quinn placed 5th in the javelin throw. But this past summer, she didn’t know what to expect.
“I tore my back last October, so I was not throwing until about February. I threw for the school trying to recover, and then I went home,” Quinn said. “My expectations weren’t really high to place like that. I just really wanted to place well.”
Her result? A third-place, bronze finish and a lifetime personal best throw of 47.40 meters – over half the length of a football field.
In the 2022 games, Quinn sat in second place for most of the competition until her best friend and fellow Nova Scotian Jenna Reid threw her own personal best of 47.58 m, knocking Quinn down to third.
And with her eyes set on the future, she looks to make a National Championship run in the upcoming season. Frye says she has been eager to work with him in fall workouts to put herself at an elite level.
Quinn will return to the Bruins next fall for her final season in Belmont blue.
PHOTO Courtesy of Belmont Athletics.
This article was written by Ty Wellemeyer.