The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

MIHS Spring Sports Previews

Photo Courtesy Sydney Hoang

Sports Editor Asha Woerner previews each of MIHS’ 12 spring sports:

Girls Golf:

The MIHS Girls Golf team won the KingCo championship in their 2021 season despite the COVID-19 challenges and protocols. “Going into the season, we are feeling great,” senior captain Sydney Hoang said. “We have had captains practices and team bondings to get to know some of the freshmen and new girls.” The team is hoping to qualify for State this year and of course, beat Bellevue. “Our team is strong in our bond with each other and understanding that every score [or] stroke counts,” Hoang said. The team is focusing on a positive environment for this season. “Our team is strong in our bond with each other and understanding that every score [or] stroke counts and to always try your best and keep fighting while having fun,” Hoang said. The team is working on being more spirited and drawing more students to their matches, the most convenient ones taking place at Jefferson Golf Course in Seattle. “The most important matches for us are probably going to be against Bellevue since they are our rivals and also Lake Washington and Interlake since they are really good,” Hoang said. The team encourages students to come to matches exemplifying sportsmanship. “Make sure everyone is encouraging [and] has a positive attitude while showcasing integrity and great etiquette,” Hoang said. 

Track & Field:

The MIHS Track team is excited to have a full-length season this year, after only being able to practice for five weeks last year. “There were a lot of individual improvements in such a short time and it’s setting up the team with even more motivation to get better this year,” senior captain Aimee Graesser said. The team is hoping to reinstate bonding, including their traditional pasta dinners. “We weren’t really able to have any last year cause of covid and I know I definitely missed the pasta feeds before a meet,” Graesser said. With the length of the full season, the team is hoping to improve relays and individual times so they can qualify for State. “I’m also hoping that we can encourage people to try new events outside of their comfort zone,”  Graesser said. The team is strong in many aspects. “We have some amazing distance runners and they all work extremely hard to get the results they do,” Graesser said. “We also have some really impressive long jumpers.” The team will work on their consistency with relays and hope for more fans this season. “For the friendly rivalry between Bellevue and MI we have an away meet against them on April 7,”  Graesser said. “If you’re looking for something a little more close to home we have a home meet against Lake Washington on March 24.”

Boys Baseball:

In 2021, the MIHS Baseball team fell short in the KingCo championship at the end of their shortened season. “We were sad that our seniors couldn’t end their final season with a win, but it inspired the rest of us to be hungry for this upcoming season,” senior captain Governor Aufranc said. The team has young talent this year, and they are hoping to help integrate them into the program. “Obviously the ultimate goal is to go all the way and win State, but first we have to win Kingco,” Aufranc said. Senior Jack Varney and senior Kaden Wu are Aufanc’s co-captains and they hope to lead the team to achieve these lofty goals. “I think our team has very strong chemistry and understanding of brotherhood, we may not have all the talent in the world but we all love to win,” Aufranc said. The team will play their home games at Island Crest Park and students can spectate from right field. “ We love the support by students and parents and hope to see everyone there this spring! Go MI!” Aufranc said.   

Girls Lacrosse:

The MIHS Girls Lacrosse team has been a highlight in Islander sports in recent years. “Last season was really good, we went undefeated and worked extremely well as a unit,” senior captain Molly Brodsky said. The team has been working all through the winter to prepare. “A weaker component which we can improve on is our stick skills. As a younger team, most players are less adjusted to the higher level play but I think with our winter ball practices everyone is getting more and more experience and improving our play,” Brodsky said. The team is hoping to work on communication this year and hopefully come out of the season as 3A state champions. “A strong component to our team is the athleticism of our players, coming from all different sports,” Brodsky said. The team’s hardest matchup will be their Woodinville away matchup. “The important game for fans to be at is the Bellevue home game,” Brodsky said. 

Girls Softball:

The MIHS softball team had a young team in their 2021 season. “Last season we made a lot of improvement as a team. We really started to be able to work together and drill down to the small details,” senior captain Mimi Pietila said. This year they are able to bond without the same restrictions as last year, along with welcoming new freshmen. Also, hoping to increase the intensity this year, the team is working to get on base more. “I think as a team we need to work on everyone consistently getting the bat on the ball to have higher scoring games on our end,” Pietila said. The team upholds a positive environment, where every player can foster their skills. “We are really good at keeping our spirits high and making sure everyone on the field is feeling the energy from the dugout,” Pietila said. The Bellevue game will be the softball team’s biggest match of the season. The team encourages more students to come to their games at the South Mercer Playfields. 

Girls Badminton:

The Girls Badminton team is one with a positive team environment, last season the team enjoyed their short, low-pressure season. “The team is feeling very confident, especially the seniors because this is our last year playing,” senior captain Olivia Ubaldi said. This year there is hope to improve the team’s record. “I’m expecting good results this year. I know we have a bunch of new recruits and our past team players are very excited to work hard and get some wins,” Ubaldi said. The team will continue to uphold the supportive aspect of the sport. “We watch each other’s matches and cheer for each other which helps a lot. Everyone is willing to work together and try to improve the best we can,” Ubaldi said. The team’s most anticipated competition this season is their match against Bellevue. “We would also love to get some more support from our fans and have them show up to our games and cheer us on,” Ubaldi said.  

Girls Water Polo:

The MIHS Girls Water Polo program has not had a complete season in two years due to COVID-19. Last year, the team only had eight returning players, making this year’s roster very young. “This year we are excited to have an opportunity to go to state again with a full team,” senior captain Kaisa Olson said. This team holds positive energy, creating an environment that helps players improve. “Water polo is a good sport for anyone to try, as no experience is necessary. We will even teach you how to swim,” Olson said. “We have a really close-knit team, and are super excited to meet the new players.” The team wants to see more student support this season. “Some games to look forward to are our Senior Night, our games against Bellevue and Curtis and of course, State,” Olson said. The team competes at the Mercer Island Country Club and the students can support from the stands.

Boys Lacrosse:

The MIHS Boys Lacrosse team struggled with tapering intensity last season. “We started out strong but had a tough time in the last couple of games. We are preparing by looking at our past mistakes and improving upon them for this coming season,” senior captain Eli Swerland said. Along with looking at how they could improve from last year, the team will feed off of the student energy. “We are ecstatic for the season and hope that all islanders can show their spirit in the stands,” Swerland said. The team has had travel tournaments scattered throughout the year, giving them some insights on the team’s dynamics this year. “Defense and offense are projected to be great this year but obviously there are still aspects of the game that we continue to work on,” Swerland said. The team will be working on communication, shooting and clearing in their first couple weeks of practice and preseason. “We are set up for success this year and looking forward to bringing home the trophy,” Swerland said. The team is looking forward to not having a capacity limit at matches. The Bellevue, O’Dea and Seattle Prep games will be high tension and exciting to watch. “Games will be mandatory mobs and we are expecting to see all of your beautiful faces there. Breaking the sound barrier this year is an ABSOLUTE MUST,” Swerland said. 

Boys Soccer:

MIHS Boys Soccer drew lots of attention last year with its undefeated season and 12 impactful seniors on the team. “Sadly there were no playoffs so we weren’t able to go compete for a state title,” senior captain Cooper Gersch said. Despite losing a significant portion of last year’s roster, Gersch stresses the importance of going into every season and game with confidence. “We’re expecting a lot especially coming off last year, and it’s definitely some pressure but as a team we just want to play our best every game,” Gersch said. The MIHS boys soccer program has always held a more competitive attitude. “We have a really good squad and have some tough young guys who are ready to go out and compete day in and day out,” Gersch said. The team has goals of winning KingCo and competing for the state title. The team will spend the next couple weeks and preseason improving their physicality on the field. “Every game is going to be a fight this year, there are a lot of good teams in our league,” Gersch said. The team is hoping for lots of MIHS students to attend their games, especially as the weather gets nicer. “It’s going to be important to try and get as many fans as we can, but if I had to choose I would say for sure Bellevue,” Gersch said. 

Girls Tennis:

MIHS generally excels at “country club sports,” and the Girls Tennis team is no exception. The team is a close-knit community, due to the niche nature of the sport. “I am very excited for this upcoming season,” senior Izzy Roe said. “I’ve been on varsity tennis for all four years of high school, so it is very special.” The team had a phenomenal season last year and is hoping to bring that energy this year. “I am very confident in my team this season because we have always been strong,” Roe said. The team holds fans close to their hearts, especially after last season. “We never had fans (besides parents) come to matches but last year a handful of people came to support us and it felt really good,” Roe said. Tennis is a sport that has the most matches of any other spring sport. Walk by the tennis courts on a sunny afternoon around 3:30pm and cheer on the MIHS girls tennis team. 

Girls Ultimate Frisbee:

MIHS Ultimate Frisbee is a club with three seasons. The spring season is the girls team. After having most of the school year to prepare, this MIHS team is ready to compete. “This season I am feeling really excited because we have a lot more girls,” captain Angelina Durkee said. “We also have a new coach this year.” The team has struggled with getting together with COVID-19, but has now overcome its obstacles. “We had to put a stop to it a lot over the couple past years during covid, but we have been having a lot more games and have more teaming bonding events,” Durkee said. The team for the first couple weeks of training is hoping to bring everyone up to similar levels. “We are just hoping to build up the skills of our beginner players a little bit more so they can be on the level of other experienced players,” Durkee said. Ultimate Frisbee puts a huge emphasis on team environment. “Overall just build a really positive environment, which is what I really love about ultimate, just a super friendly and encouraging space where we can all work and grow together,” Durkee said. The team right now is strong in communication and working together. “Improvement wise, I think bringing up conditioning and we have some issues getting less experienced players up to higher playing levels,” Durkee said. The team is hoping for more awareness this year. “We would love to get the school more involved because ultimate is a club,” Durkee said. “One of our goals this year is to get more of the school involved and get students to be aware of ultimate.”

Unified Soccer:

Unified sports has year-round events, but finishes the year with unified soccer. Unified soccer, like all MIHS unified sports, allows special needs students an opportunity to play with their peers. “It gives students the opportunity to play a competitive sport with other students that they may not necessarily be on a team with or in class with and get support from the school,” Unified coach Jeniffer Blaser said. This past winter season there was unified basketball. “My favorite thing about unified is getting to see everyone score and seeing everyone getting to play,” athlete AJ Wolffe said. “I like going to unified to see people like Ben put up 18 points or to see people like Avery and Landon score their first baskets.” The environment of unified is safe and encouraging. “We get to acclimate to everyone’s skill level and ensure everyone gets to have successful moments,” Wolffe said. Not only does this give students an opportunity to play sports, but it gives them an opportunity to feel supported by their peers. “It’s their only opportunity to feel supported by their peers,” Blaser said. Unified soccer needs the support of all MIHS students. Make sure to look out for their schedule and be there. 

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About the Contributor
Asha Woerner
Asha Woerner, Editor in Chief
Asha is a senior and this is her fourth year working for the newspaper. She previously was a sports editor and is currently an Editor in Chief. She is excited for her senior year! Outside of school, she enjoys playing soccer, reading, hiking, baking and spending time with friends and family.   

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  • B

    Ben MurawskiFeb 18, 2022 at 11:58 am

    Thanks very much for posting this article in the MIHS Islander online news, and thanks very much for interviewing AJ Wolff, who’s my best friend in MIHS Unified Sports.

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    Ben MurawskiFeb 18, 2022 at 11:29 am

    Thanks very much for posting this in the MIHS Islander online news.