Mercer Island cross country coach in running for national award

Mercer Island High School cross country and track coach Erica Hill has been a fixture in the running community on Mercer Island for years. She has helped inspire hundreds of young athletes to love running and now is up for the 2013 Inspiring Coach of the Year award.

“I’m completely humbled, and it’s such an amazing group of athletes, parents and families that nominated me,” said Hill. “I’m so thankful for the nomination.”

Twenty-six finalists from around the country were chosen from hundreds of nominations for the 2013 award.

Hill has coached for 17 years in both cross country and track.

In Hill’s nomination, Mercer Islanders wrote: “She is always there for her students outside of practice, allowing them to talk about problems they are having, helping them find a solution or just listening. Each year at the end-of-season banquet, Coach Hill brings all 120 kids on the team up in front of the room and says a few positive, encouraging words about their performance for the year. These special words make each runner feel like an important part of the team.”

Hill said she was inspired by her high school coach, who helped support her through a tough time in school. She said running is her chance to be free.

“Running makes me feel free,” she wrote on the Brooks website. “It’s my time to think, feel powerful and free centered.”

Coaches from around the country have been nominated, including two others from Washington state who teach in SeaTac and Seattle.

The top coach was to be chosen based on votes from the public online. The deadline to vote is July 21 at

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