MIXC girls take state title

In one of the biggest surprises in Washington high school cross country history, the Mercer Island girls beat Seattle Prep to win the state title.

“Wow!” said Islander coach Erica Hill. “Both teams were incredible.”

The Mercer Island boys team finished fifth in state, one of their best in school history.

Girls beat Prep

The girls’ victory was made more impressive by the fact that they defeated a team — Seattle Prep — that won the district meet by 35 points, double Mercer Island’s total.

“We were really surprised,” said Islander freshman Lindsay Benster, who finished third overall and was the first Mercer Island girl across the finish line. “It was a big shock. We just all got pumped up and knew we had to do our best. We were aiming for fourth.”

Phoebe Merritt took 15th overall for the Islanders with a time of 19:16, while Gabbi Goyette placed 31st with a time of 19:47.

“We were aiming for fourth, so winning it was so cool,” said Benster.

Islander Haley Piper took 52nd (20:09), Molly O’Callahan placed just behind in 53rd (20:10), while Lauren Sadler was 70th (20:29) and Lauren Davis rounded out the team in 77th (20:34).

Boys take fifth

On the boys side, Mercer Island had its best performance of the year, led by senior Tyler Benster, who placed 19th overall with a time of 16:13.

Fellow senior, Evan Sadler, finished his career with 23rd in state (16:19).

Islander Aaron Elefson crossed the finish line six seconds later in 33rd place, while teammate Quinn Chasan was 35th in a time of 16:26.

James Kashima (80 — 17:09), Leo Phillips (106 ­— 17:30) and Eric Bauer (118­ ­— 17:47) rounded out the boys team.

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