Mercer Island quarterback Liam Rogan leaps into the end zone in the second quarter of their 27-17 victory over the Newport Knights on Sept. 20. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography

Mercer Island quarterback Liam Rogan leaps into the end zone in the second quarter of their 27-17 victory over the Newport Knights on Sept. 20. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography

2019: The year in sports for Mercer Island

Athletic success is a staple of the local community.

  • Wednesday, December 18, 2019 11:06am
  • Sports

January:

Legendary Mercer Island gymnastics coach Lenny Lewis is enjoying his final season leading the Islanders. Lewis began his final season with the gymnastics team before retiring after 30 years of coaching the Islanders.

“It is really sad and it is tough to leave. I have been coaching gymnastics on the Island for more than half of my life. It is tough to go but it is time,” Lewis said.

February:

The boys basketball team conquered the Wolverines in the 3A KingCo boys basketball championship game. Mercer Island, which held off a spirited Bellevue rally late in the fourth quarter, held on for a 44-41 victory in the championship game on Feb. 6 at Newport High School.

Mercer Island junior guard Adam Parker scored a team-high 10 points in the win.

James Richardson earned top honors at the boys 3A state swim meet on Feb. 16. The Mercer Island senior took home a pair of titles at the meet. Richardson was awarded the 3A state swimmer of the meet and finished first in both the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke. It was the second year in a row that he had earned all three accolades.

Mercer Island wrestler Donnie Howard earned the second-place trophy at the Mat Classic. The 195-pound senior finished a memorable career on the mat by making it all the way to the state title match on Feb. 16. Howard’s crowning achievement of the state tourney was a 7-5 victory against Kamiakin’s Jacob Olson, the defending state champion, in the semifinals. Howard was physically exhausted following the victory and had a bloody lip from the battle.

March:

The boys soccer team got back on the pitch for its first season under their new head coach, Forrest Marowitz. Marowitz played for the Islanders and graduated from Mercer Island High School in 2009.

“I grew up here on the island and played varsity soccer here in 2007, 2008 and 2009. I have always followed the program, even when I was in college. It was always a dream of mine to lead the program. I’m happy to take on the responsibility. It means everything to me,” Marowitz said.

April:

• Jordan Morris was inducted into the Mercer Island High School Athletic Hall of Fame in front of his hometown fans.

Morris, who plays forward/midfielder for the Seattle Sounders, was honored with a ceremony prior to the start of the Mercer Island/Lake Washington boys soccer game on April 23 at Islander Stadium.

The girls tennis squad finished its regular season with an overall record of 9-4. The Islanders, who finished KingCo action with a record of 3-3, competed at the KingCo tournament. The Islanders had three singles players and three doubles team competing in the 16-team tournament.

“We were really pleased with the competitiveness we showed during the season. We are a very young team with six freshmen and four sophomores. We play in the toughest league in the state, so to be that competitive this year was exciting,” said coach Carol Gullstad.

May:

The Islanders baseball team captured the 3A KingCo tournament championship on the diamond. Mercer Island clinched a berth in the Class 3A state tournament courtesy of a 10-3 victory against the Interlake Saints in the 3A KingCo tournament championship game on May 6 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.

Mercer Island junior right-handed hurler Duke Brotherton allowed just two earned runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings of work on the hill against the Saints with a berth at the state tourney on the line.

“I was really nervous. It was a big game but you just got to come out like it’s a normal game and go straight for it,” Brotherton said. “You just have to throw your best pitches. That is just my mentality and it’s how I did it.”

The Mercer Island boys lacrosse team captured the 3A state lacrosse championship on May 25 at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. The Islanders registered a 14-6 win against the Bellevue Wolverines in the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association championship game. The Islanders, who finished the 2019 season with an overall record of 18-4, finished the season with an eight-game winning streak.

• Jubilation for the Mercer Island Islanders girls lacrosse team as they won the Washington Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association state championship courtesy of a 10-9 comeback victory against Bainbridge Island on May 17 at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

Mercer Island sophomore Emma Brodsky broke a 9-9 tie with the go-ahead goal with just 29 seconds left in regulation. Brodsky scored a team-high four goals for the Islanders. Mercer Island, which trailed Bainbridge Island 7-4 with 16:55 left in regulation, outscored them 6-2 in the final 15:28 of the game.

June:

Tegan Yuasa earned first place in the USA Judo Elite Senior National Championships. Yuasa, a Mercer Island High School sophomore, captured first place in the 55-kilogram category at the USA Judo Elite Senior National Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 1.

July:

The Mercer Island boys basketball squad proved its mettle at Gonzaga team camp. The Islanders culminated their summer basketball workouts at the Gonzaga team camp, which took place from June 30 through July 3 in Spokane. Mercer Island head coach Gavin Cree said his team won five of its seven games at the camp against formidable competition from Eastern Washington, Montana and Idaho.

August:

Anna Bolger was set to compete in the Spartan World Championships. Bolger, a 16-year-old Mercer Island resident, was to compete in the World Championships on Sept. 28-29 in Lake Tahoe.

The Spartan Race is so much more than overcoming courses for Bolger.

“You just never know what to expect,” Bolger said. “It’s like life. One of the points in the Spartan Race is to overcome the (race) obstacles and to also overcome the obstacles in life.”

Buying in on the gridiron. The Mercer Island football team began practice before the start of the 2019 season. In his third season at the helm of the Mercer Island High School football team, head coach Ed Slezinger said he is starting to see his program take shape.

“There’s been a change of mindset in year three,” Slezinger said. “Players are starting to buy into what we want the program to look like.”

September:

Gihoe Seo, a Mercer Island golfer, was named the Player of the Year. Seo, a junior at Mercer Island High School, won two golf tournaments this summer and was named the 2019 Washington Junior Golf Association (WJGA) Girls Player of the Year.

The Mercer Island boys tennis team gets off to a perfect start in their 2019 season. The Islanders won their first five meets by a perfect 7-0 score to start the 2019 season. The Islanders had a young team, with 10 freshmen on varsity.

The Mercer Island football team picked up its second win of the season against the Newport Knights in a 27-17 win on Sept. 20. Mercer Island Running back Nathan Buchan ran for two touchdowns and quarterback Liam Rogan ran for another in the win.

October:

The Mercer Island girls swim and dive team defeated defending state champion Bellevue. The Islanders defeated the Wolverines by a score of 96-90 on Oct. 10 at Mary Wayte Pool. Event winners for Mercer Island included Grace Olsen in the 200-yard individual medley, Ellie Bailey in the 50-yard free, Cayla Prophater in the 500-yard free and Brooke Andrews in the diving competition.

The Mercer Island cross country team competed in the 2A/3A KingCo Cross Country Championships on Oct. 25 at Lake Sammamish State Park. The girls finished fourth as a team and the boys finished third.

The top finishers for the girls team included senior Alli Hixson, who finished seventh (20:36.73), and Sabrina Chun, who placed 15th and set a new personal record (21:47.61). The top runners from the boys team included junior Connor Pettigrew in eighth (16:59.61), and senior Jaden Krauser in 13th (17:31.96).

November:

The Mercer Island football team aims to change the feel of their rivalry game against Bellevue despite 53-14 loss on Nov. 1.

“The talk from the players before the game, the actions of the players during the game, and even afterwards, even with the score being what it is, the feel was different,” head coach Ed Slezinger said. “That little spark is going to create a fire.”

• Finishing strong at state. The Mercer Island girls swim and dive team finished strong at state to earn a fourth-place finish. A dominant diving duo and strong senior leadership propelled the Islanders at the 3A state swim and dive meet on Nov. 16 in Federal Way. Mercer Island senior Cayla Prophater finished second in the 500 free, fourth in the 200 free and was part of two relay teams that finished fourth and seventh. Freshman diver Brooke Andrews placed second and senior Sophie McGuffin was third.

December:

The Mercer Island boys basketball team kicked off its season with a 62-54 victory on the road over the Issaquah Eagles on Dec. 3. Head coach Gavin Cree said the Islanders showed great improvement defensively in the second half.

“They came out in the second half and were gritty and started to play some great defense, forcing (Issaquah) into some tough shots and tough positions,” Cree said.

The Mercer Island gymnastics team increased its score by 16 points in a meet on Dec. 12 at Sammamish High School. Mercer Island sophomore Rachel Ressmeyer placed third in the all-around competition with a combined score of 35.6. Ressmeyer finished second on vault (9.1), fourth on bars (8.6), tied for second on beam (9.2) and ninth on floor (8.7).


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The Mercer Island Islanders girls lacrosse team hoists the state championship trophy following its 10-9 win against Bainbridge Island on May 17. Shaun Scott/staff photo

The Mercer Island Islanders girls lacrosse team hoists the state championship trophy following its 10-9 win against Bainbridge Island on May 17. Shaun Scott/staff photo

Mercer Island Islanders senior wrestler Donnie Howard, left, battles against Yelm’s Derrick Platt, right, in the Mat Classic Class 3A 195-pound championship match. Platt earned a 3-2 victory against Howard on Feb. 16 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo courtesy of Billy Pruchno

Mercer Island Islanders senior wrestler Donnie Howard, left, battles against Yelm’s Derrick Platt, right, in the Mat Classic Class 3A 195-pound championship match. Platt earned a 3-2 victory against Howard on Feb. 16 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo courtesy of Billy Pruchno

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