Mercer Island Islanders senior girls lacrosse player Grace Fujinaga hasn’t forgotten her team’s 10-9 loss to the Bainbridge Island Spartans in the 3A state title game in May of 2018.
Fujinaga, who will continue her lacrosse career at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia next year, is determined to see her team reign victorious in the title game during the 2019 season.
“I actually watch that game all the time on YouTube. That is one of my most watched videos,” Fujinaga said. “The loss is something I think about every day when I play wall ball, when I’m myself practicing and when I’m out here on the field.”
The Islanders finished with an overall record of 14-2 during the 2018 season. Mercer Island’s only two losses occurred against Bainbridge Island.
“Our team goals are obviously to make another state run. That is always one of our team goals but really we want to connect better on and off the field. Chemistry is something that differentiates teams in this league,” Fujinaga explained. “It is something we need to work on across all grades and is something we could have improved on last year. That is our big team goal this year.”
Fujinaga cherishes the support the Islanders high school sports programs receive from the Mercer Island community.
“I love playing sports here. Last year at the state championship game, we had packed stands. We couldn’t hear the coaches from the sidelines, which was a bummer but it was really awesome to have so many people there supporting us,” Fujinaga said. “You really feel like the community is behind you.”
Playing collegiate lacrosse at the Division-1 level is a dream come true for Fujinaga.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to play for a ranked D-1 team. Coming from the Seattle area, it’s not super often something like that happens,” Fujinaga said.
Recently the Mercer Island Reporter had an opportunity to ask Fujinaga some questions about her life outside of lacrosse.
Mercer Island Reporter: What is your favorite movie of all time?
Grace Fujinaga: “The Blind Side.” I watched it with my dad on one of my birthdays (movie was released in 2009). It is a fun memory for that reason but it is also a good sports movie. I got to say, I love a good sports movie.
MIR: How many text messages do you send per day?
GF: I probably send 15 to 30 per day.
MIR: What kind of music are you listening to the most in your car right now?
GF: I just like chill music. I listen to other people’s music. I don’t listen to my own music.
MIR: What is your dream vacation spot?
GF: Sydney, Australia. I was born there. I love the ocean and I love the water. I think it’s awesome to be outside all of the time.
MIR: What is your favorite hobby away from sports?
GF: I love reading and traveling.
MIR: If you could pick one person to go to dinner with, who would it be?
GF: James Madison (fourth United States president). He has written some really awesome federalist papers and I think he is just an ingenious in the way our government was created. It was pretty awesome.
MIR: Who was your favorite sports team growing up?
GF: Growing up, it definitely has been the United States national women’s soccer team. I think they’re awesome role models, amazing on the field and they’re strong women. I have always looked up to those women. Some of them live in Seattle so they are super accessible and easy to look up to. I just love watching how they play physically, and mentally they are really tough.