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Quinn, Raines Named December Student-Athletes of the Month

December student athlete of the month
January 6, 2022

Lopes’ students become more than just athlete

By: Zach Melcher and Giovanni Hicks /GCU Club Sports Writing Staff

Stepping up to the challenge.

Grand Canyon University Club Sports student-athletes Brendan Quinn and Rachel Raines are both only juniors but have seized “senior-level authority”. No matter what the challenge is, these two athletes have chosen to embrace difficulty and have become leaders in the process, which is why they’ve been honored with the title of GCU Club Sports December Student-Athletes of the Month.

Brendan Quinn: Men’s Club Volleyball and Golf

Experience builds knowledge.

The Grand Canyon University Men’s Club Volleyball Head Coach Brendan Quinn doesn’t shy away from an opportunity to grow.

Quinn’s volleyball career started when a friend of his invited him to help with his high school’s girls’ volleyball team. The introduction to the sport inspired Quinn to try out for the school’s boys’ volleyball team.

“My first year, I was able to make the junior varsity team and started playing club that summer,” said Quinn. “I made varsity team the following year and continued playing club throughout high school.”

His passion for the sport leaked over into his collegiate career as he joined the Lopes’ Men’s Club Volleyball program as a player. After two years of playing and entering his final year of school at GCU, Quinn was ready for a new challenge.

On the links.

Golf was a hobby Quinn started when he got to GCU to meet new people and pass time. Over the course of time, his passion for the game grew and led him to join the GCU Club Golf team for his final year.

Soon, though, Quinn’s connection with volleyball would return.

“I loved being a captain and the leadership aspects of playing volleyball, but I wanted to play golf,” said Quinn. “When I was offered the chance to become the coach for the club volleyball program, I knew it would give me the best of both worlds.”

When he wasn’t out practicing his swing, Quinn spent most of his summer reading leadership books to prepare for his first role as a head coach.

Another major influence on his coaching style comes from his parents.

“My parents have always done things the right way and taught me that there is no shortcut in life worth taking,” said Quinn. “That lesson has translated over into my coaching, where I try to own 100% of my work, and I expect my players to do the same.”

With the majority of the golf season behind him, Quinn now shifts his focus on leading the Lopes to the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation Championships in April. Although winning the championship would be ideal, Quinn has a bigger goal in mind.

“The short-term goal is to perform to the best of our abilities at the NCVF Championships,” said Quinn. “However, the main goal is to focus on building a firm foundation and culture so the program will continue to succeed in the future.”

Quinn will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Spanish.      

Rachel Raines: CrossFit

Although Grand Canyon University CrossFit Head Coach Rachel Raines didn’t develop a passion for CrossFit until later in life, her appreciation for fitness and physical health was instilled in her from an early age. 

“I’ve always had a heart for physical fitness,” said Raines. “My mom is a personal fitness instructor, so it’s been a part of my life since I was a child.”

Raines has a sharp competitive edge as well, playing lacrosse from elementary through high school. While she decided not to play lacrosse in college, Raines was still in search of something that would satisfy her craving for fitness, as well as scratch her competitive itch. She found that place during her sophomore year when she decided to join the GCU CrossFit club.

“I had never done CrossFit before joining the club,” said Raines. “I had a lot of fun that year, and despite some challenges, I made sure to always attend the workouts and get the most out of the club.”

That initial taste of the world of CrossFit was enough to drive Raines to dive deeper into the sport. After the Lopes’ CrossFit season was over, Raines wanted to continue to practice her technique and stay in shape during the summer. That’s when she discovered the Acuo CrossFit gym in her hometown in Redmond, Washington.

She became a member and never looked back.

“From the moment I stepped into that gym, I fell in love with it,” said Raines. “I couldn’t get enough of it and would go multiple times per day. I went so often that they offered me a job at the gym for next summer.”

After her summer at Acuo, Raines returned to GCU this fall with a newly heightened passion for CrossFit. When the former Lopes’ CrossFit coach stepped down, Raines was presented with the special opportunity to fill the position as a student leader for the club and accepted.

“It’s been an incredible experience leading the club this year,” said Raines. “Of course, there have been challenges and learning curves, but the encouragement and support that I’ve received in my first year as head coach has been great.”

Raines has goals to grow the Lopes’ CrossFit Club into one of the top clubs on campus. While continuing to utilize CrossFit Uru as their home gym, the club plans on entering official CrossFit competitions and events during the spring semester.

Outside of CrossFit, Raines is an accomplished scholar at GCU. The junior exercise science major has is currently serving in the Lopes’ Honors College with an impressive 3.85 cumulative GPA. She also has a passion for painting and sells some of her artwork locally. After she graduates, Raines plans to continue to pursue opportunities in CrossFit, with goals of eventually owning her own CrossFit studio.

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