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A journey from age seven to age 18, Quincey Hettinger achieves her goal at 2014 JOXC

When more than 3,000 young people toe the line for Saturday’s 2014 USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships at Whispering Pines Golf Course in Myrtle Beach, S.C., 18-year-old Quincey Hettinger will realize a dream that has been 11 years in the making. 
For Hettinger, every second weekend in December since she was seven years old meant a chance to compete at National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships with the ultimate goal of participating in every age category at every USATF National JO Cross Country Championships possible.
Her journey so far includes two team titles with the SoCal RoadRunners in San Diego and two overall second place team finishes. She narrowly missed USATF All-America honors, charting her best finish in 27th place.
Persistence and perseverance are the two lessons that shine through most for Hettinger. “It’s not always about the time, but it’s always about finishing the race,” she said. “You run to finish the race.” 
Prior to the introduction of a sub-bantam age category (8-9-year-olds), Hettinger experienced her first two national races as one of the youngest competitors in the bantam field (9-10-year-olds). Not only has she run against older athletes along the way, but she has also overcome running in the snow and completing the final three-quarters of a race without a shoe.
“This is the thing that is tying me to what I have done my entire life,” said Hettinger. “This has always been my goal, and to feel like there is a sense of achievement, I feel like this is a real feeling not that I’m going to do it, but that I did it - that I’m here, finally.”
If you or someone you know has also competed in every age category or at every National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, please email to share that story.
The 2014 National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13. All races will be available on-demand on

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