Funk’s running future is bright

Quinlyn Funk runs cross country and track for Hillsboro. Photo by Abbi Williams.

By Gary Van Cleave, Special to Hillsboro Free Press

Someone find the crystal ball that features the Hillsboro High girls 3,200-meter relay. Their future, you see, is as bright as a sterling Kansas sunset in June.

“The 4×8 team had a really great season this year,” incoming junior Quinlyn Funk said. “Our usual order was (2023-24) sophomore Jaidyn Frantz, her split was a 2:40. I ran second and my split was a 2:31. Freshman Riley Richert ran third with a split of 2:33. Sophomore Addison Jost finished for us running a 2:25. Our final time was 10:13 which was another personal best.”

They teamed up for a third-place finish at May’s state track meet in Wichita.

“It was so awesome to stand with those girls on the podium,” Funk said. “I really enjoyed the season with them and could not have done it without them.”

“Quinlyn is a great competitor and encourages everyone around her,” Jost said. “Having her on the 4×800 team this year was amazing, and we couldn’t have achieved what we did without her.”

Funk also placed seventh in the grueling 3,200 meters at state in a personal-best 12:16.

“State track was very exciting,” she said. “I went last year as the alternate for our 4×8 because I was injured most of the season, so I never ran quite how I wanted to. I was really happy that I had the chance to compete there this year in the 4×8 as well as in the 3,200. I ran against some really awesome runners and that pushed me to end the season with a personal record.”

Funk learned as a sophomore she can run faster than she thinks.

“I was proud of how my seasons went but I was especially surprised in track,” the standout cross-country runner noted. “At the beginning of the season I was running between 12:55 and 13 minutes in my 3,200. I didn’t really know what to expect since I was hurt last track season so I didn’t think I would get much better than that.”

Funk continued.

“But then I started consistently doing better at each meet and I really surprised myself by the end of the year,” she added. “I also learned that I need to push myself if I want to get faster. I set goals before meets that I wanted to achieve and if I didn’t, then I would figure out how I could get there next time.”

Funk finished 11th at state cross country with a time of 20:41.

“My personal best from the whole season was a 20:39 which I ran at Sterling golf course and I placed second,” she said. “I also placed at state last year as a freshman.”

She’s proud of her Trojan teammates for making successive trips to state cross country for the first time ever.

“I was surprised that I had placed as well as I did, and I was also really proud of my team,” Funk said. “The girls cross country team had never made it to state all together until my freshman year and we did it again this year so that was really exciting.”

“Quinlyn always runs 100% every race. It looks like she runs effortlessly and she helps us as a team in the 4×8 to reach our goals,” Richert said. “She has gone to state in cross country every year so far. She has proved she is an amazing runner and has a spot at the top.”

This summer, Funk is in cross-country training mode.

“It makes a huge difference in the fall if I’m already in shape,” she said. “I will run on my own for most of June, but in July our whole team will begin running and training together. I probably won’t start long runs until we are in season, but I would like to get up to 3-5 miles at least 3-4 times a week so I am ready for the season.”

Ready for another season of grinding on cross-country courses and tracks.

“As a runner, I have never been the most competitive person especially when I was younger,” Funk said. “But as I’ve gotten better, I have also become more competitive. I love running and it is one of my favorite hobbies even though it is very challenging.”

One thing she reminds herself is what tries to get in her head.

“Running is a mental sport and if I get in my head with negative thoughts, they can take over,” she continued. “I try to stay positive which gives me the best chance I have to succeed. I have also had the best coaches that really brought me to where I am. There is no way I could do it without them.”

As a junior, Funk aims to get faster.

“I can’t wait to see how cross country and track go. Hopefully I can continue improving and be even better than I was as a sophomore,” she said.

“My goals for next season are just to run like I know I can,” Funk resumed. “For cross country, I would love to run consistently around 20 minutes and maybe even in the 19s. We lost quite a few seniors so we are going to have to build up a team and hopefully gain a few more members so we have a good chance at going to state again. For track, I am really excited because we get to keep our same 4×8 team and we are getting closer to our school record of 10:01. For the 3,200, my goal is to run somewhere in the 11-minute range.”

That didn’t seem possible just a few years ago.

“As a middle schooler, I never thought I would be where I am today,” Funk said. “I have been running cross country and track since seventh grade, but I have come a long ways and I am really happy about that. As an eighth grader, I ran a two-mile cross country race in 13:45 and now I can run the first two miles of my three-mile race in less than that.”

“Quinlyn always has a good spirit all the time no matter what happens,” Frantz said. “She is also very supportive. She has improved a lot from the start of the season to the end.”

What would Funk tell her mini-self today?

“I would tell mini-me to not give up because clearly that paid off,” she said. “If I would have stopped running, I wouldn’t have had any of the opportunities that I do now. If I didn’t run, I don’t know what sports I would even do.”

Running, perhaps, could be in that proverbial crystal ball in college.

“I don’t have a very good idea of what I want to do in college yet, but I could definitely see myself running,” Funk said. “I’m not sure what college I want to go to, but that will be something I focus on a little more this year as I visit colleges and figure out exactly what I want to do. I think it would be good for me to run in college, but I will just see how things play out my junior and senior year.”

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