Seniors shine at final home meet

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Murray Longbotham wins the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:01.15, more than four seconds faster than the state qualifying mark.  -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Murray Longbotham wins the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:01.15, more than four seconds faster than the state qualifying mark.
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Senior Kristen Shibuya entered the Mercer Island High School gymnasium Thursday night, along with five other Islanders, for her final home meet of her career.

“I’m a little bummed that we are halfway through my senior year,” said Shibuya. “It has been cut shorter thanks to the meets that were canceled. I am kind of in denial.”

One thing that no one could deny was the senior’s performance on beam. With only two wobbles, no falls and a near-flawless dismount, her 9.3 was good enough to tie her for first place with Holly Stromgren of Skyline during the event.

Skyline would prove to be a formidable opponent as the Islanders’ 155.15 point effort was not enough. The Spartans finished the meet with a whopping 164 points to take first place, while Mercer Island narrowly edged out Bellevue’s score of 150.55.

The loss for Mercer Island makes it very tough for the Islanders to retain their 3A KingCo regular season title, despite the fact that Issaquah lost to Newport that same night, 174.25-168.7.

“I think we can still improve,” said Shibuya, who finished ninth in all-around score with a total of 31.1 points. “We’re going just keep on pushing and see where we can go in the post season.”

The Islanders’ score could have been even higher, but all-around gymnast Erika Reutimann sprained her ankle during the vault, the first event of the night. Despite the injury, she finished the event tied for fifth with a score of 8.2.

“She’ll be OK,” said Mercer Island head coach Lenny Lewis. “She should be back in a couple of weeks. The first thing she said was that she will be back in the gym to work on conditioning tomorrow. And she is on crutches. This team’s dedication is really exciting.”

Lewis admitted that the injury, along with other various issues, may hold the Islanders back from scoring in the high 150s as they did against Issaquah.

“It will be tough,” said Lewis. “Erika is an all-around gymnast and that is hard to replace. I would be happy if we stay in the mid 150s.”

The injury did not deter Reutimann’s teammates from giving their best on each event. Islander junior Laura Maruhashi tied for third on vault with a score of 8.3. Junior Olivia Harvey hit the bars with grace and earned a second place score of 7.9 for Mercer Island. Harvey (33) and Maruhashi (32.85) finished fifth and sixth overall in the all-around category.

Mercer Island resident Natalie Melin had a good showing for Bellevue during the meet as she placed second overall in all-around with a score of 34.85. Melin came just 0.1 points away from first place on vault as she scored an 8.7. Melin also placed third on beam with a score of 9.2 and second on floor with 9.65 points.

For senior Lauren Govier, the meet was less about scoring and more about competing. Govier returned to the bars and floor competitions for the first time this season following a preseason back injury. Govier tied for fourth with a score of 9.2 on floor and posted a 6.2 on bars.

“Last meet she competed on one event but it’s good that she is competing in floor exercise tonight,” said Lewis. “It also means a lot towards our scores.”

The Islanders made up two meets Monday (after Reporter deadline) as they traveled to Liberty High School to take on Mount Si and the host team the Patriots. Mercer Island will travel to Newport tomorrow for a 7 p.m. start against Interlake and the host team, the Knights.

Two of the Mercer Island meets, including one against traditional gymnastics power Bainbridge Island, were canceled and will not be rescheduled due to time constraints.

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