Jon Quigley was remembered this weekend, not for what he did in the pool, but for everything he accomplished out of it.
The fourth annual Quigley Memorial Tournament was held this past weekend in honor of the late Quigley, who passed away in a car accident in June of 2009 after his freshman year at Penn State. The event is designed for Quigley’s friends, family and teammates to come together and remember his legacy.
It consisted of 22 exhibition matches played by the men’s and women’s water polo teams. There were seven teams competing on the men’s side, including Navy and Guelph University. The women’s side had five teams competing.
The tournament had a fun and cheerful atmosphere. Music was playing throughout the McCoy Natatorium and all the players were sitting together and watching the matches when they were not in the pool.
Right before the final match on Sunday, a few players spoke to the crowd to remember Jon Quigley. His younger brother, Drew Quigley, a junior on the team, spoke first.
“We come here each year to remember [Jon Quigley] and honor him,” Drew Quigley said. “To everyone who showed up this weekend, whether you just watched or were playing, it really means a lot.”
Tommy Miceli, a senior at Penn State and a friend of the Quigley’s from high school, spoke next. He spoke of how highly Jon Quigley was regarded in the community and how much he meant to everyone who knew him.
Mitch Palski, a graduate in 2010, then spoke of how he felt when he received the phone call that informed him of Jon Quigley’s passing. He remembered driving home from the beach and the silence that echoed throughout his car.
“His memory has made me a better person, a better brother, a better son and a better friend,” Palski said while choking down tears.
While the tournament was primarily designed to honor Jon Quigley, the teams still played competitive water polo.
The final match of the event was a thriller that pitted the current men’s team versus a group of alumni, including Palski. The current team jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but the alumni clawed their way back and eventually took a 7-6 lead with about three minutes left in the fourth and final quarter to win the game.
This tournament was also special because for the first time in its history, all of the proceeds went toward the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. The team was recently paired with a THON family, and they were able to attend the tournament and spend time with some players in the club.
“It’s phenomenal to see the amount of support we get, even from people that I’ve never even met,” Drew Quigley said. “A lot of the players who haven’t met my parents before the tournament will go up and talk to my parents and it’s just pretty remarkable.”