Quinn Crispell Inspires Misericordia Community, Nation


Aimee Dilger Photography

Quinn Crispell runs in a cross country race during the Fall 2022 season.

Kobe Martin, Reporter

A young student athlete is inspiring the Misericordia University community.

Freshman Quinn Crispell has Down syndrome but that hasn’t stopped her from being a varsity cross country and track and field athlete at Misericordia.

As a student athlete with a disability, there are challenges and adversity.

 “My biggest challenge is having a disability,” Quinn said. “Everything like school and sports is harder for people with disabilities. I overcome that by always working as hard as I can.”

Not only can Quinn, her parents and Coach Wadas, who are her biggest supporters, see the hard work and challenges she battles through. So do President Dan Myers and his right hand man Jim Roberts, who had a lot to say about Crispell.

“Her story is a testament to the hard work she’s put in as an athlete and the support she’s received from her parents,” said Roberts. “The community and Misericordia all combine to provide people with opportunities. So even with the adversity, Quinn knows that we are all by her side through it,” said Roberts.

Despite her success, Quinn didn’t start out as a runner.

“I played all different sports growing up and I started running to train for junior high soccer tryouts,” she said. “I worked up to 1.5 miles over the summer and switched to cross country instead of soccer.

“I like to train and stay fit and to keep getting better and faster and competing, but my favorite part of running is beating people,” she added.

Quinn has been involved with the Misericordia University community since birth and Roberts remembers meeting her as an infant.

“I’ve known Scott Crispell, Quinn’s father, since I was hired here at Misericordia; we’ve been collaborating. He was the sports information director and I was marketing,” Roberts said. “We’ve been fortunate to collaborate as professionals for over 20 years and I met Quinn shortly after she was born when he brought her to work. Then later, she was often at the office. I got a chance to meet her many times when she was little and through her high school career.”

Roberts’ interactions with Scott Crispell have allowed him to know the student-athlete better.

“Scott and I would share time in the Misericordia football press box,” Roberts said. “I am a public address announcer for football so Scott sits two seats from me. Quinn often joins us on Saturday afternoons, doing her homework for hours alongside Scott. So I got to sit with her and get to know her over many years.” 

Quinn is an inspiration not only for the community of Misericordia but for others with disabilities. 

“The community and Misericordia all combine to provide people with opportunities.” Roberts said. “Trying to support people the best we can, but putting challenges in front of them and then focusing on getting them to a successful outcome. 

 “Not at Misericordia only, but probably around the nation or local schools, as well,” Roberts added. “We believe, although it hasn’t been fully verified, she may be the only Down syndrome varsity athlete running cross country in the nation. And, you know, those are the types of groundbreaking moments that tend to inspire others and they may see themselves in what Quinn is doing. Their parents or family members, they see the opportunity; it impacts someone to reach higher, try more and even inspire those around them to open doors of opportunity for those people with disabilities.”

Misericordia hopes Quinn’s story will inspire others to try something they may never have thought they were capable of.

 “I hope that people who haven’t thought about it will think about it differently or at least be inspired to think about what’s possible for everybody,” said Roberts. “People may have certain views that you can’t change but when you put an inspirational story like Quinn’s out there, the real hope is that people give credit to Quinn for her effort, but also they look at life a little bit differently.”

 As for Quinn, she said, “My favorite quote is from Walt Disney, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ I would tell children with Down syndrome to always give their best at whatever they do. I would tell them to believe in themselves.”