SPECIAL FEATURE (April 14, 2018) - Growing up, Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) alumna Sequestiny "Quest" O'Neal, a native of Midland, Texas, did not have the best childhood. Her parents divorced when she was in the fourth grade. Her father was in and out of the penitentiary, and her mother was addicted to drugs.
O'Neal had to grow up fast and help raise her little brother who is just three years younger than she is. Her younger brother was her motivation and the person who kept her going during her roller coaster of a childhood. O'Neal also had basketball. The game took her under its wing, helped her get out of her hometown and provided her with the opportunity to play collegiately.
Sequestiny O'Neil goes up for a jumper during a game
OLLU Women's Basketball Head Coach Christopher Minner recruited O'Neal in 2012 from Frank Phillips College in Borger,Texas. She transferred to OLLU and played two seasons for the Saints as a guard. In a Saints jersey, O'Neal proved to be a defensive powerhouse. She recorded 71 rebounds and 25 steals in her two seasons with OLLU. She also scored 125 points in 43 games as a Saint. In 2013-2014, she earned Red River Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete recognition
Minner said, "Quest was one of the most athletic players we have ever had here. She made us better every day by us trying to guard her. She was also a great teammate and always was positive and full of energy. Even after she graduated, she would come back and help us in practice and encourage our players."
In 2014, O'Neal fulfilled her educational dreams of obtaining an undergraduate degree. She graduated from OLLU with a bachelor's degree in business management. "Being a college athlete taught me sportsmanship and to be loyal to the game," O'Neal said. "I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to play basketball at OLLU and I am thankful to Coach Minner. I learned a lot from the coaching staff and my teammates while I attended OLLU."
After graduation, O'Neal worked at Pat O'Brien's, a restaurant/bar on the River Walk in San Antonio. She also provided personal training for numerous clients. In addition, she volunteered at women's shelters and schools. She continues to do this so to gain experience that will translate to her ultimately becoming a motivational speaker.
O'Neil continued to work out at the gym every day, but she felt something was missing. She was in a rut because her gym routine was becoming more of a chore, and she was losing that competitive environment that she craved. O'Neal managed her gym slump by picking up calisthenics, exercises that individuals perform with minimal equipment and generally consist of gross motor movements. She excelled at the newly acquired fitness routine, and she heard about American Ninja Warrior-style gyms - which specialize in this type of fitness routine - so she wanted to learn more about them. She attended a conference and later discovered, from a speaker, that there was in fact an American Ninja Warrior-style gym in the San Antonio area.
|O'Neal during her photo shoot in the 2013-2014 season.|
The gym that O'Neal found is called Power Park Fitness and it is located in Spring Branch, Texas. Power Park Fitness prides itself on offering Ninja Warrior training, obstacle course training and team building exercises. After a few months of hard work, the owners and trainers at Power Park Fitness saw O'Neal's dedication to the sport. These individuals were some of the first to tell O'Neal that she should try to make it on the competition, and they motivated her to actually submit a video to the producers of the popular television show, American Ninja Warrior.
Along with her second family at Power Park Fitness, O'Neal also made friends with other athletes who were training for the show. She began to train seriously for the show and asked other Ninja Warrior athletes for pointers on trainings. Additionally, she began to work with her trainer Cruz Salgado three times a week. He has mentored and encouraged her during the last two years of her training. Her trainings focused on a variety of calisthenics as well as endurance, grip strength and balance.
O'Neal created a video and submitted it to the producers of American Ninja Warrior for Season 9 of the show. She was not picked for that season of American Ninja Warrior, but she was chosen to become a "tester" for the show. As a tester, she was given the opportunity to try the American Ninja Warrior courses prior to the seasons and assist the production team in making necessary difficulty adjustments before the televised competition.
This opportunity provided O'Neal with exposure to the sport as well as made a name for herself with the producers of the show. She was invited to Las Vegas to complete a course. During her time there, O'Neal gained experience that assisted in her gaining the necessary exposure that would drive up her chances of being selected for American Ninja Warrior.
|O'Neal poses in front of the|
American Ninja Warrior backdrop in Dallas.
"My experience at OLLU as a student athlete helped me push forward with American Ninja Warrior," O'Neal said. "I have carried the things that I have learned with me and these lessons have made me into a better athlete/competitor on the show."
O'Neal received word that she would have the opportunity to compete on Season 10 of American Ninja Warrior. She recently competed in Dallas in a qualifying round. That competition is set to air on Wednesday, May 30 on NBC.
Minner commented, "Quest will do great on American Ninja because she always accomplishes what she puts her mind too. I know she has been working hard at this and I can't wait to watch her represent OLLU."
"Thank you for supporting me and continuing to support me throughout this process," O'Neal said. "I am appreciative of my OLLU family, Pat O'Brien's coworkers, my trainer, my family and my girlfriend Alisha Crump." Crump is also an OLLU alumna. She played for Coach Minner for four years, and is one of only six women to score more than 1,000 points. Crump graduated from OLLU in May 2013.
O'Neal encourages the OLLU community to tune in to the American Ninja Warrior television show and cheer her on as she vies for a chance to compete against Ninja Warrior athletes from around the nation and win the $1 million grand prize.
O'Neal dropped by OLLU on April 14 to participate in the university's Second Annual Confetti 5k Run/Walk. She and Crump planned on participating in the event, hoping that the experience would help her further her chances to have a successful outcome at the American Ninja Warrior competition.