Fan tears up the course during her first cross country season

Freshman leads the way for Islanders.

Sophia Fan ventured out onto the cross country course for the first time last summer and she’s already turning heads this season.

The Mercer Island High School freshman crossed the finish line in first place during two races and had also notched a second and a third at press time.

She finds running challenging and satisfying all in one.

“The feeling of pushing yourself and trying your very best at the end when everybody’s cheering for you once you get to the finish line is so awesome,” said Fan, a former swimmer. “Before every meet, I try to look up online how to mentally prepare. It said to leave everything you have on the course and just give it your all.”

In the girls team’s longest races this season at press time, Fan led the pack with a time of 22.17 in a 5K against Sammamish at Luther Burbank Park, and took third in 20.21 in a three-miler against Newport at Robinswood Park in Bellevue.

“What is super exciting for us it that while she is the fastest girl on our team, she is leading a super group of freshmen girls who we think have a very bright future,” said coach Susan Empey.

The Reporter asked Fan a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:

How have you spent your time during COVID?

Going on runs — I’ve been trying to do that every day. Also, I’ve been watching a lot of TV and reading a few books.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

“Napoleon Dynamite.”

What type of music do you listen to?

Songs that my friends recommend me and then I also like Alec Benjamin.

What superpower would you like to have?

Probably being able to read peoples’ minds.

Do you have any kind of a hidden talent that maybe somebody doesn’t know about?

I don’t know if this really counts, but when I see someone, I usually recognize them. If I’ve only seen them once, I still recognize them.

What’s your dream vacation spot?

Anywhere I could go with my friends and just have a lot of fun. Somewhere in Europe maybe.

What makes you laugh?

I laugh at everything, even if it’s not funny. I always try and tell my friends dad jokes and stuff and they all think it’s not funny, but I’ll just be laughing at myself.

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

Michelle Obama or Malala.