Mercer Island Islanders senior cross country athlete Maggie Baker advanced to the Class 3A state meet for four consecutive seasons from 2015 through 2018. Photo courtesy of Jay Na

Mercer Island Islanders senior cross country athlete Maggie Baker advanced to the Class 3A state meet for four consecutive seasons from 2015 through 2018. Photo courtesy of Jay Na

A pillar of the program

Mercer Island senior Maggie Baker advances to the state cross country meet for fourth straight year.

Mercer Island Islanders senior cross country runner Maggie Baker has epitomized consistency for the past four seasons on a myriad of courses throughout Washington.

Baker, who will compete in her fourth consecutive Class 3A state cross country meet on Nov. 3 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, relishes being one of the undisputed leaders of the Islanders cross country program.

“Being an upperclassman, I have been able to make some really good bonds with the underclassmen and really mentor them a lot. I have become really close with some of the freshmen and run with them in practice every day. I feel like I’m leaving part of my own legacy with them, so when they become juniors and seniors hopefully they can mentor the freshmen too and just keep the cycle going,” Baker explained.

Baker clinched a berth at the Class 3A state meet courtesy of a fourth-place finish with a time of 18:52.10 at the Class 3A Sea-King District II championships on Oct. 25 in Seattle. Baker, who has a long-term goal of attending medical school, is still mulling her collegiate options.

“There has been a lot of schools who have shown interest in me. For me, it all depends on find the balancing between finding a high academic school and a really good (cross country) team. It has to be a place where I love the team and I love the school,” Baker said.

Baker’s offseason preparation leading up to her senior season of cross country is unique compared to other top flight high school runners.

“I’m on the lower mileage end compared to most of the people I compete against at other schools who are at the same level as me. I don’t run a ton of miles. I like to start off the season fresh,” Baker said.

Instead of pounding the pavement and creating wear and tear on her knees and other joints, Baker embraced a completely different approach during the summer months.

“I like to mountain bike, wake surf, do strength training and take as many different workout classes as I can at the gym. I like to mix it up to where I’m never doing the same thing all the time. During the season, I run roughly 30 miles a week. It is not a super high mileage but its not as low as I have been in years past,” Baker said.

Recently the Mercer Island Reporter had an opportunity to ask Baker questions about her life away from running.

Mercer Island Reporter: What is your favorite movie of all time?

Maggie Baker: “Forrest Gump.” It is just a classic movie. I also like “Talladega Nights” because its funny and my family likes to watch Will Ferrell movies.

MIR: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

MB: I see myself in college. Hopefully I’m at a good university and I’m getting into medical school.

MIR: Who was your favorite sports team growing up?

MB: I was never really into that into big sports teams when I was younger. I really didn’t understand football or anything else. I enjoy watching soccer games but I never had a favorite team.

MIR: If you could pick one person to go to dinner with, who would it be?

MB: It would probably be my parents because I would want to thank them for everything they’ve done for me or we have a family friend in Georgia. He is super cool. He worked for Lyndon B. Johnson (former president of the United States). He was the press secretary for the White House. To spend more time with him would be awesome.

MIR: What is your dream vacation spot?

MB: It would be Japan or anywhere sunny with a beach. The Thailand islands would be great too.

MIR: What is your biggest pet peeve?

MB: People who chew with their mouths open. I just hate the smacking sound. It is so gross.

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Mercer Island High School conducted a signing day ceremony for its collegiate bound student athletes on March 19 in the Mercer Island High School commons. Athletes moving on to compete at the collegiate level consist of Stew Vassau (lacrosse-University of Utah), Cole Miller (baseball-University of Washington), Natalie Wilson (softball-Loyola Marymount University), Lina Winiski (rowing-Washington State University), Alex Kaczor (soccer-Central College), Jordan Snyder (soccer-University of Oregon), James Richardson (swimming-Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Grace Fujinaga (lacrosse-University of Pennsylvania), Donnie Howard (lacrosse-Boston University), Ryan Payne (lacrosse-Illinois Wesleyan), Brandon Wong (tennis-University of Washington), Blake Robertson (soccer-University of Puget Sound), Matthew Capone (soccer-Northwest Nazarene), Maggie Baker (track-Brown University) and Teague Conder (baseball-Whitman College).
                                Photo courtesy of Craig Degginger
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