Mercer Island finishes in top 15 at state cross country races

Mercer Island’s Aaron Elefson races during the boys 3A state meet last weekend. He took sixth place overall. - Contributed photo
Mercer Island’s Aaron Elefson races during the boys 3A state meet last weekend. He took sixth place overall.
— image credit: Contributed photo

While the weather was wet and miserable in Seattle this past weekend, the Mercer Island boys and girls cross country teams enjoyed better conditions at the 3A state championship races in Pasco.

The Islanders earned two top 15 finishes, with the girls taking 12th place overall and the boys team finishing in seventh place.

“It was unbelievable,” said co-head coach Erica Hill. “Both teams ran with incredible heart. It was impressive to watch the way they came together as a group.”

Islander Aaron Elefson had the top time for both teams, earning a sixth place finish overall with a time of 15:42. His race time in Pasco beat his own record, which he set at the KingCo meet with a time of 15:57. The top 10 finish earned Elefson a spot in the Border Clash, which pits the top Washington runners against those from Oregon.

“Aaron just ran a gutsy, strong and impressive race,” said Hill. “The boys ran with no regrets, and they knew at the end of the race they did well.”

The other boys runners who competed at state included: Nick Ford, in 31st with a time of 16:25; Will Clausen in 71st at 17:07; Carl Garrett in 88th with a time of 17:20; Andy Wingerson finished 90th at 17:21; Matt Wotipka was 105th in 17:39, and Tyler Goolsby finished 114th with a race time of 17:48.

The seventh-place finish was the second best state placing for the boys team. They finished fifth in 2008.

“They all just had phenomenal races,” said the coach.

In the girls race, Lindsay Benster had the team’s top time, finishing 43rd overall with a race of 20:00. Her teammate Alida Scalzo was 61st at 20:17, Mikayla Davis took 75 with a time of 20:36, Sarah Bjarnason was 91st at 20:49, and Laura Brindley took 96th at 21:03. Carly Anderson was 119th in 21:54 and Stephanie Pedreira was 133rd with a time of 22:56.

“The girls ran so well,” she said. “They are really a young team and you never know going into the state, but they stepped up and ran with composure. They’re excited because everyone is coming back and they felt really good, and there’s an excitement.”

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