A look at a year in sports on Mercer Island | Parts 1 and 2

It’s been a busy year in Mercer Island sports with teams earning top finishes and breaking records, and individuals striving and succeeding. Here is a brief snapshot of some of the biggest stories and events of the year.

MIHS tennis gets two new coaches

The boys and girls tennis programs at Mercer Island High School welcomed two new coaches this year, with Mindy Blakeslee leading the girls and Jamie Dieveney taking on the boys. The duo filled the role previously held by the former head coach, Joyce Hedlund.

MI high school gym dedication

On Jan. 8, 2010, prior to the boys basketball game against Bellevue, the Mercer Island High School gym was dedicated to former Islander coach Ed Pepple and his wife, Shirley. He coached for almost 50 years and is the winningest coach in state history. Later in the year he was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame.

Boys swim wins state title No. 5

The Mercer Island boys swim team won its fifth straight state championship in February. The team won with 396 points to Bellevue’s 188 for second place. Jimmy Deiparine won the 100-meter breaststroke race, while all the Islander relay teams won state titles.

Wrestlers have historic season

After sweeping the regular season, the Mercer Island wrestling team went on to win KingCo and the regional meet in the postseason, before posting a 12th-place team finish in the state tournament. It was the program’s best finish since 1984, with 11 wrestlers competing at state.

Northwest Yeshiva girls basketball makes state history

Members of the Northwest Yeshiva High School girls basketball team made state history in March when the team advanced to the 1B state tournament, a first for any Jewish high school in the state.

Islanders girls basketball earns sixth-place finish at state

The Mercer Island girls basketball program earned its best-ever finish at the state tournament in March, taking sixth place overall. The team beat Kennedy Catholic, the state champion the year before, in a major upset in the semi-finals.

Islander finds freedom on skis in Paralympics

Former Island resident Mark Bathum was profiled in the April 7 issue. Bathum, who can only see with his peripheral vision because of a degenerative disease, won a silver medal in the 2010 Paralympic Games in Whistler, British Columbia. He and guide Slater Storey took silver in the downhill race and was fourth overall in the super G.

MI baseball wins KingCo title, has best finish ever

The Mercer Island baseball team survived a tough KingCo tournament to win the program’s first KingCo crown since 1998. The team shared the crown with Liberty and Mount Si after a three-way tie in the tournament. The team went on to play in two state games, losing to Columbia River in the second round, the farthest any Islander team had made it.

MIHS girls tennis wins state two years in a row

For the second straight year the Mercer Island girls tennis team won the 3A state title, beating Bainbridge Island for the title in late May. The boys team had state finishes from Jordan Smith, with a fifth place in the singles, while Max Franklin and Andrew Smith took second overall.

Boys lacrosse falls just short of state title win in May

With an impressive record of state championship games under their belt, the Mercer Island boys fell just short last May, losing to rival Bellevue in overtime.

After running over the competition throughout the year, the team battled for state supremacy in the title game, losing 8-7 to the Wolverines.

Island weight lifter competes at World Master’s competition

Pat Hackett, a 61-year-old Island resident and weight lifter, became eligible to compete in the World Master’s competition in Poland in September. She took the top spot in the U.S. National Masters weight lifting contest, lifting 32 and 47 kilos in the two events. She started lifting just a year before the win and trains at Club Zum in Seattle with coach Scott Hughes.

Celtics player Nate Robinson returns for summer camp

Nate Robinson, a Seattle native and host of the Nate Robinson basketball camp, returned again this summer. The camp, held for the fourth straight year at the Community Center, teaches young players the game he has learned well after years in the NBA and playing in college.

Local softball players host Junior World Series

Several local softball players in the 13-14 age group were members of the combined team from Bellevue and Mercer Island that played host during the Little League Junior Softball World Series in Kirkland last August. The team finished the tournament with a 3-2 record. Players from Mercer Island included Makenna Pellerin, Claire McCarthy and Lea Gikas.

First-ever Island Aquathon a success

The first-ever Islander Aquathon, a race featuring swimming and running on Sept. 1, was a success with almost 200 local athletes. The course included a swim in Lake Washington off Luther Burbank Park and a run around the park.

Swimming across America at Luther Burbank Park

For the second year, the organization Swim Across America hit the beach at Luther Burbank Park to raise money for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The group, which operates across the country raising money for local cancer organizations, held a swim in the lake. Local Olympians Rick Colella, Camille Wright Thompson, Mary Wayte Bradburne and Jeff Float were on hand to show off their medals and support the cause.

Boys water polo wins 11th straight state title

Despite several head coaching changes in the last several years, the Mercer Island boys water polo team won its 11th straight state title, beating CPA in the title game, 8-5.

MI girls swim wins second state title

After last year’s historic win for the Mercer Island girls swimming team, the Islanders proved their dominance again this season, winning the 3A state title in November. The team won with 278 points, ahead of Bainbridge’s 220. Grace Wold won the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley, Lauren Poli won the 100 breaststroke, and the Islanders’ team in the 200-yard relay won the title.

Coaching changes at MIHS this year

• Baseball: Cory Smith

• Tennis: Mindy Blakeslee (girls) and Jamie Dieveney (boys)

• Girls soccer: Nicole Nelson

• Water polo: Ryan Hall

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