Cross country finishes strong at Bellevue Invitational

The Mercer Island boys and girls varsity cross country teams finished in sixth and 14th place, respectively, at the Bellevue Invitational on Saturday at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah.

The boys team earned sixth place with 146 points overall, while the girls team finished 14th with 223 points. The Eisenhower girls team finished in first place and the Bellevue boys team captured first place in the boys finals.

During the meet, the races were broken up into flight times based on runners’ previous performances due to the sheer number of runners and schools involved.

In the fastest boys flight race, Mercer Island’s Aaron Elefson finished 20th with a time of 16:43, and Nick Ford was 21st with a time of 16:45. Senior Molly O’Callahan finished 22nd in the girls fastest flight race with a time of 20:08, while Stephanie Pedreira was 36th with a time of 20:49.

Islander co-head coach Erica Hill said the girls team leader, Lindsay Benster, did not compete in the invitational because she was taking part in the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto over the weekend. Hill said she finished 33rd overall with a time of 19:27.

In the second flight race, Wil Clausen finished 11th in 17:01, while his teammate Zoe Spranger, was 31st in 21:58. In that same race James Kashima finished 36th with a time of 17:56, and Gabrielle Goyette was 46th with a time of 23:44.

The third flight race featured Mercer Island’s Leo Phillips, who posted a seventh-place finish in 17:17, while Robbie Frankel was 13th in 17:33. Julia Davis also finished the same flight in 21:49, and Carly Andersen was 22nd with a time of 22:00.

Hill said the team has been suffering from some sickness, and the runners just haven’t been at 100 percent lately.

“The boys team, finishing sixth, was an outstanding finish,” she said after the race. She added that, with Benster gone and others out sick, it was a chance for other members of the team to step up.

“It was a good wake up call ... if we want to get to the postseason,” said Hill. The team will be focusing on what it can do to achieve those goals.

Hill also said that while the team is strong when it comes to pack running, this meet was not one in which it could really showcase that strength given the way it was set up, but that it is something which will be a benefit during the rest of the season.

In the boys open race, Daniel Vu posted the Islanders’ top time, completing the 5,000-meter race in 18 minutes and 55 seconds for 19th place. Junior Tyler Goolsby finished 31st with a time of 19:26, while senior Charlie Landsman was 36th overall with 19:37.

In the girls open race, Mercer Island freshman Kaya McRuer finished in fourth place overall with a time of 23:44. The next Islander to cross the finish line was sophomore Alana Osborne, who earned 72nd with a time of 27:42.

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