Rick’s Sports Corner: Burroughs’ Quiana Laughlin, Fast, Game-Changer, Smart

The Bears' speedster has one more season to play soccer and also run track and hopes to play the beautiful game in college.

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By Rick Assad

It takes just a few seconds to realize how Quiana Laughlin’s blistering foot speed has assisted her on the pitch.

Like a prime sprinter, Laughlin, a junior striker on the Burroughs High girls’ soccer team, resembles a big cat running, so graceful and powerful and with purpose.

Whether dribbling the soccer ball down field or chasing an opposing player, Laughlin possesses something not everyone has.

“My best asset on the pitch is my speed,” she admitted. “Usually if I can’t beat a girl, I can outrun her. I’ve always been pretty fast. I even started doing track when I was ten to help with soccer. I then got fully immersed with track and now love both sports about the same.”

Laughlin’s play is a tone-setter, and a game-changer that helped the Bears carve out a 9-8 overall record and a 9-5 mark for third place in the Pacific League this season.

Burroughs did play a CIF Southern Section Division V opening-round match versus Channel Islands, and it was tied at 1-1 after regulation, but fell short, losing in a shoot-out.

That day was miserable as the rain pounded Memorial Field and clearly wasn’t the best playing condition.

“Our match versus Channel Islands was brutal. It was pouring so it was more of a test of mental strength more than anything,” said Laughlin, who intends to play soccer in college. “We gave it our all and just didn’t get the ideal turnout in the end.”

When Laughlin is on the field, the outcome can be swayed sometimes by her mere presence.

Burroughs junior striker Quiana Laughlin shows off her speed. (Photo courtesy Quiana Laughlin)

“I wouldn’t say I take over matches,” said Laughlin, who finished with 11 goals and nine assists this season. “I would say I set the tone. Sometimes it just takes one push or one fast play to change everyone’s mindset, and I just try to be that person that gets it going.”

It seems soccer and track come naturally to Laughlin, who had an amazing sophomore season after knocking in 15 goals and with five assists as the Bears went 13-7-1 in all matches and 9-4-1 for third place in league.

Burroughs played two Division V playoff games that postseason as it defeated Thatcher 4-1 in the first-round but lost to St. Genevieve 2-1 in the next match.

Like so many, Laughlin started playing soccer at a young age.

“I got introduced to the sport when I was 10 months old,” she said. “My late father [Mark Laughlin] wanted me to play soccer and started coaching me as soon as I could walk.”

Laughlin’s parents have been instrumental in every aspect of the game.

“I never would’ve even started playing if it wasn’t for my father, and although he isn’t able to be with me now physically, I know he still watches me play,” she said. “My mother [Chaquanda] became my number one supporter throughout my whole life, and words cannot even begin to describe how thankful I am for her.”  

Experience and confidence can go a long way and it has made Laughlin a standout.

“I believe I have been successful due to the support from my family members as well as the hard work I have put into the sport my whole life,” she noted.

Even before the match begins, Laughlin has an idea of what she wants to accomplish.

When Quiana Laughlin isn’t playing soccer, she’s running track. (Photo courtesy Quiana Laughlin)

“I try to score at least once a game,” she said. “Or in general just make an impact through an assist or making a play. My overall goal is just to become a better player.”

Knowing that even the finest fail, it’s important to remember that improving can be equally important as winning.

“Whenever we lose, I try to stay strong,” said Laughlin, who in order to get ready for a match will listen to music as it gets her energy up. “A loss doesn’t define a team. How you handle it doesn’t. You have to take every loss as a lesson, but don’t get too down on yourself.”

Still there have been more wins than losses for Laughlin and her teammates and that’s the reason to play a sport.

Stepping on the pitch against city rival Burbank always brings out the best in Laughlin.

“My biggest matches would probably be the ones against Burbank because every year we have the same reputation to uphold against them,” she pointed out. “My best games for high school would probably be the first game against Burbank this year or last year. I also did very well in our first playoff game last year, putting up three assists.”

Burroughs coach Louie Binda has been coaching at Burroughs since 1995 and is impressed with Laughlin as an athlete and as a person.

“She’s a terrific young lady. She gets good grades and is smart,” said Binda, who is an assistant varsity girls’ soccer coach. “She plays hard. If we had 11 players like Quiana, nobody could beat us.”

It’s a good thing that Laughlin has another season to play soccer and run track.

“The most rewarding aspect of being on the girls’ soccer team is the people. I love my teammates,” she said. “Especially since being a freshman on the varsity. I’ve seen so many come and go. It’s nice to have those few girls. It feels like I’ve grown up with them.”

In a sense, Laughlin really has. 

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