Flashback to the summer of 2018: Mercer Island Islanders incoming freshman Kai Zettel had never competed in competitive running.
Zettel, who has played soccer throughout his childhood, decided to give cross country a try this past August.
The decision paid dividends.
Zettel captured 36th place with a time of 17:01.2 at the Class 3A Sea-King District II championships on Oct. 25 in Seattle. Zettel is the only freshman from the Sea-King District II to clinch a berth at the Class 3A state cross country meet on Nov. 3 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
Before the season began, Zettel didn’t envision having the success he’s had thus far on the trails.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it to districts because there were so many seniors and juniors ahead of me. I only started running for this team a few months ago. Over the summer, I didn’t run that much, maybe four miles a week,” Zettel said.
Zettel said he is nervous about the upcoming state competition.
“There is a lot of pressure to do well. I really want to get in the top 50 for the state minimum,” he said.
Recently the Mercer Island Reporter had an opportunity to ask Zettel a few questions about his life away from cross country.
Mercer Island Reporter: What is your favorite restaurant on Mercer Island?
Kai Zettel: Subway. You can make whatever you want.
MIR: What is your favorite movie of all time?
KZ: “Top Gun.” That is my parents’ favorite movie too.
MIR: Who was your favorite sports team growing up?
KZ: It is definitely the Seattle Seahawks.
MIR: If you could pick one person to go to dinner with, who would it be?
KZ: My friends.
MIR: What is your favorite hobby away from running?
KZ: I like playing soccer.
MIR: Where do you see yourself in five years?
KZ: I see myself enrolled in college. Hopefully I will have gotten a scholarship for cross country. I want to major in engineering.
MIR: What is your favorite dinner dish?
KZ: Pasta salad.