Sandmaier pushes himself to speed up on the track course

Islander senior is interested in marine biology.

Mercer Island High School (MIHS) senior runner Luke Sandmaier is off to a blazing start with the top 3A KingCo time in the 800 meters with a personal record of 2:03.42.

The Islander also ranks third in the 1,600 with a PR of 4:31.81, settling in behind MIHS freshman Owen Powell, who’s second with a PR of 4:29.06.

“In this offseason, we’ve been working really hard to try and get faster, and our teammates are all really good about training. Having them there always makes me want to push to go faster,” Sandmaier said.

Sandmaier has run track for MIHS for the last four years. He entered the track realm in middle school, but he really gained an affinity for the sport when freshman year rolled around.

“There were a lot of seniors on the team who were really good role models and they helped me get off to a good start,” said Sandmaier, adding that the seniors brought their love of the sport to him.

Now a senior himself, Sandmaier can certainly set an example for the younger Islanders with his solid work ethic. There’s always stress that accumulates before races, but he’s able to make it dissipate when the starting gun sounds.

“As soon as you start running, all the stress kind of goes away, and all the training you’ve done you get to watch pay off,” said Sandmaier, whose cross country squad took first in KingCo, third at districts and ninth at state during the fall.

Sandmaier, who has yet to decide on a college running career, hopes to focus his studies on marine biology after graduating from MIHS. He was drawn to that field while volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium for a few years.

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

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

If you’re good at something, you should try to pursue it and try to enjoy it to the best of your ability. It usually brings out the best in you.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

“The Shawshank Redemption.”

What type of music do you listen to?

I listen to rap and then sometimes I listen to Katy Perry.

What superpower would you like to have?

Teleportation would be pretty cool.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

People chewing with their mouth open.

Feeding off that one, what’s your favorite restaurant on the Island?

I like Qdoba.

If you’re having a bad day, what’s the best way to break out of it to turn it into a positive?

Usually for me, I just go on a run and it kind of clears my head and also maybe listen to music. Try and hang out with friends and get your mind off it.

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

Maybe Elon Musk.