Cross Country Head Coach: Susan Empey
Susan Empey joined MIHS as a (boys and girls) cross country assistant coach in 2017 and became the head coach in 2018. She has coached the distance track events since 2018.
Over the past several years, MIXC has grown into a very successful program with the boys winning KingCo team titles in 2021 and 2022 and Ryan Koopman and Owen Powell winning individual KingCo titles those same years. Both boys teams advanced to State, placing in the top 10. The girls have also been steadily making progress with both teams advancing to Districts and individuals qualifying for State. Owen Powell also won the State 1600m championship in 2022 and has broken numerous long standing school records.
While not a runner in high school she competed at the state level in swimming all four years at Kennedy High School but fell in love with running while a student at Santa Clara University. After eventually returning to Washington state she began running more competitively and qualified twice for the Olympic Trials in the marathon and won several national masters titles in XC, track and road racing. She also qualified twice for the Age-Group World Championships in the ½ Ironman distance. Still running, albeit slower, she is on the defending national championship Club Northwest XC team with fellow coach and friend, Dyan Simon.
Susan’s two children, Megan and Peter, graduated from MIHS. She and her husband, Gordon, happily still live on Mercer Island.
Cross Country Coach: Eric Goldhammer
Eric Goldhammer has been with MIXC since 2021 and has considered himself a “runner” since about 2015 when he finally started taking it seriously. A soccer player all through high school and a climber all through college and a bit beyond, he’s always had a love for endurance and a passion for the outdoors.
Naturally, once running came into his life, trail running merged the two and quickly became his favorite outlet. When he’s not coaching, teaching English at the high school, grading mounds of essays, or spending time with his family (who’s he’s convinced someday might come to share his love for running), he tries to get out to the mountains for long miles, good conversation, big climbs, and the occasional epic adventure.
He’s completed multiple ultra marathons, but stands firmly by his claim that the few 5k XC races he’s taken on are way harder.
He’s got the utmost respect for everyone who puts on a singlet, laces up, and goes for it.
Cross Country Coach: Gavin Cree
Coach Gavin Cree enters his 10th year as an assistant coach for MIXC. Coach Cree is also going into his 15th year as head coach of the boys basketball program at MIHS, and 19th year overall. He has worked with a number of athletes during his time at school. During the school day, Coach Cree is a PE teacher at MIHS, leading classes such as Yoga, Net Sports, Walking for Fitness, Personal Fitness and more.
Coach Cree's affinity for cross country comes from the toughness shown by all of the athletes when they give it their all. Coach Cree states, "I love the sportsmanship displayed and appreciation that competitors have for each other. It is really special to see runners show their respect for each other after they cross the finish line."
Coach Cree is a proud alum of MIHS, having graduated in 2000, where he participated in the boys basketball program as a team captain and state champion. After high school, Coach Cree played 4 years of college basketball at Pomona College in Claremont, CA.
Gavin and his wife, Jessica, celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary this year and busy raising their 3-year-old son, Julius.
Cross Country Coach: Dyan Simon
Dyan Simon is in her second year of coaching Mercer Island cross country, thanks to a nudge from her good friend and running partner, Susan Empey. She enjoys coaching the seasoned runners as much as the new to the sport runners. The camaraderie and spirit on the team are infectious.
She moved to Mercer Island from Chicago with three young children, who eventually all graduated from MIHS. While all her kids played soccer, as young adults they now enjoy long runs with her and competing in road races across the country.
Dyan started running in high school after stopping competitive club gymnastics. The highlight of her high school running career was being Illinois state champion in the 1600 meters. She went on to run cross country, indoor and outdoor track at Brown University.
Her day (and night) job is as a neonatal intensivist in Seattle area NICU’s and she is Medical Director at Overlake Hospital. While taking care of tiny humans is extremely gratifying, it is nice to talk to teenagers and get to share her joy of the sport of running.
Cross Country Coach: Maddie O'Meara
Coach Maddie O'Meara is a proud MIHS alum and is excited to return 18 years later as a new assistant coach. Maddie loves the camaraderie and dynamism of Cross-Country. In high school, Maddie ran distance track and competed for the soccer team. Her best finishes were 2nd at State in the 1600m and 4th in the 3200m. At MIHS she was also a 4 year member of the inimitable Mercer Island High School Marching Band. She was chosen as the Scholar Athlete of the Year for MIHS in 2005. After graduating, Maddie attended Stanford University and competed in Cross-Country and Indoor/Outdoor Track & Field. Her best collegiate performances were in the 3000m steeplechase, where she qualified for the NCAA national championship meet and cracked the top 10 school record list. After college, Maddie has dabbled in longer distances, completing 4 marathons (including a top 50 at Boston Marathon) and 2 ultramarathons to date.
Maddie lives in Queen Anne with her husband Alex, her toddler son Aiden, and two Siberian Forest cats named Totoro and Chewbacca.