MIXC shows well at KingCo

It was a blustery day Thursday as the Mercer Island boys and girls cross country teams prepared for the KingCo championship meet at Lake Sammamish State Park. The good year that the girls team put together, losing just one in-league meet, continued as they finished second overall despite not having a single runner finish in the top 10. The Islander boys team took a different route by placing three runners in the top 25, but placed fifth overall as a team.

Girls battle the wind and Newport

Just prior to the start of the junior varsity girls 3A KingCo race, a strong wind blew over the Mercer Island tent. The win was so strong at times that some of the trees surrounding the staging area were at a 90 degree angle. The wind would prove to be an extra hurdle for all the varsity girls.

“It made it kind of hard to breathe at times,” said Islander Gabbi Goyette. “But I thought we pack ran really well.”

That pack running gave Mercer Island second place with 75 placing-points behind only Newport with 22. Skyline (90), Bellevue (126) and Issaquah (145) rounded out the top five. But the most amazing thing about Mercer Island’s second-place team finish was the fact that none of the Islander runners placed in the top 10, but most were in the top 20.

“The wind was killing me, but Gabbi was right there and we all usually run well as a pack,” said Merritt. “The pack held for a while.”

The pack held for nearly two-thirds of the race. During the final mile of the race, the Islander’s front runner began to kick.

Merritt came across the finish line first with a time of 20:42.46 and Goyette followed close behind to take 13th overall, completing the course in 20:46.57.

“We are doing really well this season, and we have a young team,” said Goyette. “Our team has gotten better every week.”

Islander Alison Ulie placed 15th (21:01.84), and Lauren Sadler took 17th with a time of 21:05.77. Islander Haley Piper rounded out the top 20 in 19th place with a time of 21:08.15.

“I think we all want to get better, stronger and learn a little bit each time out,” said Molly O’Callahan, who placed 38th overall with a time of 22:10.34. “We knew that Newport would be pretty strong. We just needed a few more front runners.”

Individual boys place high

The boys team did not fair as well as the girls, but two runners placed in the top 10. Mercer Island placed fifth overall with a team placing score of 109. Bellevue won the meet with a score of 41, while Issaquah (66), Skyline (86) and Liberty (94) rounded out the top five.

Islander Evan Sadler, who has won nearly every race he has been in this fall, took his performance to the next level with a second-place finish. But Sadler was not in second during the entire race. He dropped back as far as fifth halfway through the run. But his kick at the end of the race allowed him to pass three runners and finish in a time of 16:34.98.

“I just kept telling myself, ‘I have to keep going and catch the Bellevue guy,’” said Sadler, who beat his goal of placing third.

The Islanders’ Tyler Benster was as high as third place during the race and fought to place 10th overall with a time of 16:55.97. Teammate Quin Chasan placed 25th overall with a time of 17:26.53.

“We needed to be a little more bunched together,” said Chasan. “Benster and Sadler ran so well. The wind was strongest on the stretch by the water.”

Mercer Island senior captain John O’Meara placed 31st overall with a time of 17:30.63. O’Meara placed in the top 40 despite missing most of the season with an injury.

“In some respects it has been frustrating,” said O’Meara. “But I kind of like the roll of pushing the guys from the back of the pack.”

Islander David Yount placed 41st (18:04.97) with James Kashima 42nd (18:06.62). Islander Ari Schorr rounded out the Islanders placing with 45th in a time of 18:21.26.

The runners will compete in the Sea-King district meet at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday at Lake Sammamish State Park for the chance to race at the state meet in Pasco, Wash.

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