The varsity water polo team traveled to Austin, TX to play in the 48th Annual Texas Interscholastic High School Water Polo State Championships, at The Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. In the first game, the Lions played the same team they encountered last year in the game for the 3rd place, Houston’s Friendswood HS. The Lions started a bit nervously and finished the first period tied at 2. The next 3 periods looked totally different with our boys taking control of the game, eventually winning the game 22-5. In the quarterfinal game, the Lions faced Houston’s Jersey Village HS. The Lions controlled the game from the beginning, winning 15-3. This victory placed St. Mark’s in the semifinal game against Flower Mound HS, the defending State Champion. The Lions jumped on top early to a 6-2 lead. Soon after, the game took a strange turnaround and Flower Mound had fought back to tie the game 6-6 with just 35 seconds left in the 4th quarter. Fortunately, the Lions scored the winning goal with 4 seconds left on the scoreboard to win 7-6 Lions and move on to the Championship game! In the State Championship game, the Lions were matched up with the top team from the Houston Region, Foster HS. The Marksmen started with energy and conviction and managed to lead 3-0 after the first period. They continued to play hard and extremely well on defense finishing the first half up 4-1. In the second half the Lion offense could not find a way to score, succeeding only once. Foster took advantage of 5 penalty shots awarded by the referees and scored 4 of them, bringing the score to 5-5 at the end of the regulation time. In overtime we scored twice and held Foster scoreless for a final score of 7 to 5. In the overtime period, the Lions’ defense was amazing and senior Chase Honaker in goal was exceptional. Foster could not score a natural goal in the entire game (6 periods), as their goals came from penalty shots (4 out of 5) and power plays (1 out of 12). St. Mark’s has now placed in the top 3 teams at the Texas State Championship for 11 straight years, and has won 6 Texas State Titles (5 out of the last 6). A great season for our guys in the pool!
The varsity crew had a spectacular showing at USRowing’s Central Youth Championship Regatta this past weekend in Oklahoma City. Lion’s crew took 26 rowers to compete in 6 events with 10 boat entries. Of the 10 entries, 9 qualified in the time trials on Saturday to advance to finals on Sunday. Of those 9 boats, 7 finished in the top three positions to place for a medal finish earning rowers 21 individual medals. Furthermore, the Men’s Youth (Varsity) 2x and 4x events were qualifying races for a bid to compete in USRowing’s Youth National Regatta in June in Sarasota, Florida. To qualify for Youth Nationals, a boat must finish in one of the top two places which both boats did! A 2nd place finish, for silver medals were earned by both boats! The potential of St. Mark’s Crew is particularly reflected in the successes of our Novice and Freshman boats. These are categories traditionally dominated by club teams and this year they faced an aggressive and eager group of freshman and sophomores from St. Mark’s. Given the results at all levels, Varsity, Junior Varsity and Novice, St. Mark’s Crew is set up for a very bright future. Results for this week are listed below:
- Men’s Youth 2x — 2nd Place – National Qualifiers (Christian Duessel and Billy Lockhart
- Men’s Youth 4x — 2nd Place – National Qualifiers (Christian Duessel, Jack Trahan, Blake Hudspeth, Billy Lockhart)
- Men’s Freshman 4x —2nd Place (Drake Elliott, Austin Williams, Evan McGowan, Paul Valois)
- Men’s Youth Novice 4x —3rd Place (Antonio Quiñones, Alam Alidina, Rohan Khatti, Sam Morgan)
- Men’s U17 (Under 17) 1x —1st Place (Blake Hudspeth)
- Men’s Youth 2nd (JV) 4x — 2nd Place (Miles Hartley, Buck Elliott, Alexander Emery, Will Chance)
- Men’s Youth Novice 2x — 2nd Place (Drake Elliott, Paul Valois)
Seven Marksmen represented the varsity golf team extremely well at the SPC golf tournament this past Monday and Tuesday, April 29-30. On both days, St. Mark’s scored better than the team's season average, despite conditions being extremely challenging. The course was in great shape, but the greens were very quick. Additionally, there was some wind (especially on day 2), and the pin placements were downright brutal on certain holes. All in all, the Lions met the difficulties head-on and played well. Junior Romil Mathur, the Lions' #1 throughout the season, finished as a top-12 medalist. He showed a lot of mental toughness on day 2 by overcoming a rough start and a 2-stroke penalty that would have rendered a less mature golfer flustered. Freshman Mac McKenzie and junior Camp Collins led the team in total birdies and battled through a number of ups and downs throughout the weekend to finish 172 and 166, respectively. Freshman Anashay Monga posted an 83 on day 1, but that score doesn’t begin to attest to how well he struck the ball. He, like so many others, logged an uncharacteristically high number of 3-putts that inflated his numbers and inspired him to dedicate practice time on the greens immediately after the round. Junior Tony D'Apice & sophomore Rex Corey made the trip to the Woodlands, and while they did not compete, they provided a positive, motivating force by maximizing the Sunday practice round and learning the course so that they could assist their 5 competing teammates during Monday’s/Tuesday’s competitive rounds. They were tremendous servant-leaders in every regard! The pressure at an event like the SPC tournament is difficult to understand until one is in the moment. One mistake, and players feel like they are letting the entire team down. However, Tony and Rex came alongside their comrades and provided valuable encouragement. Freshmen McKenzie and Monga seemed to especially benefit from their positive presence. Most freshmen would have a hard time staying focused after a rough start on championship day, but both turned in 10 terrific final holes to prove their fortitude and generate a ton of momentum heading into the off-season. Then there is James Rogers. Despite being a senior captain, James never complained about being asked to compete his way into the top 5. He earned that right and turned in an 86 on day 1 that proved critical to the team’s chance at staying in “the hunt” heading into day 2. He started day 2 with 3 consecutive pars and went on to play one of the steadiest rounds of golf imaginable, finishing with one of the best 18-hole scores of his tournament career, an 81. What a way for a senior to go out!! He has been a consistent leader in the program for 4 years and joins our other 4 seniors, Charlie Hubbard (2 years in the program), Jayan Joshi (1 year in the program), Wheeler Sears (4 years in the program), and Alex Tate (1 year in the program), as foundation-layers for many more successful seasons to come. Full results of the SPC tournament can be seen at: http://www.spcsports.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Boys-Golf-Final.pdf
Track & Field
The varsity Track & Field team competed in every event, right down to the last event, as the Lions came oh-so-close to upsetting St. John’s for the SPC title this past Friday and Saturday in Houston. The highlight was the 1600M where senior Seth Weprin took control of the race with 150 meters to go and won in convincing fashion with a new PR of 4:22.91. That time places him 4th on the ALL-TIME list at St. Mark’s. Another outstanding performance was that of sophomore Kit Colson in the 100M & 200M. Kit finished 3rd in the 100M with a time of 10.78 (+1.4) to solidify his #5 spot on the SM ALL-TIME list. He added to that with a 2nd place finish in the 200M with a new PR of 21.76 (+3.8) which moves him to #3 on the SM ALL-TIME list. Another highlight was Enoch Ellis in the 110H and 300H. Just a freshman, Enoch made his presence known in the conference with a 2nd place finish in both hurdle races. Also enjoying successful results was “Ironman” Pablo Arroyo who competed in the 4 longest distance races in the meet: 3200M (5th), 4x800 relay (2nd), 800M (2nd), and 1600M (4th). His brother, Andres Arroyo, did yeomen duties as well in the same races with top 6 finishes in the 3200M (6th), 4 x 800 relay (2nd), 800M (6th), and 1600M (6th). Although the Lions had only 1 SPC Champion through the entire meet, they accumulated 127.5 points from almost every event and finished in second place overall. A true sign of a team effort!
The varsity tennis team had their final week of practice and matches leading up to the SPC conference tournament which began on Thursday. It was a very busy week beginning with hosting a fun mixed doubles tournament with the Hockaday team on Monday, followed by having the Jesuit team over for a scrimmage on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate for the Jesuit scrimmage, and a few games into the match, the teams were forced to abort play due to lightning and rain. On Thursday, the Lions drove to Houston and thanks to a bye in the first round, the team didn't have to play their first match until Friday midday. The Lions faced John Cooper, who proved to be a tough opponent in the SPC quarterfinal round. The fighting spirit was very high amongst our athletes who ended up with a 4-1 win and proceeded to the semifinals. At line 1, sophomore Mark Motlow played an opponent who had much the same game he has and the score could not have been any closer. A long battle ensued, each holding serve until the end. The final score was 7-6, 6-7, 8-10 in the final tiebreaker, which gave John Cooper their only point. At line 2, freshman Jeremy Yu played a consistent lefty but figured out how to take control of the match by running his opponent around. Jeremy won 7-5, 6-3. Sophomore Max Palys at line 3 faced an opponent who had a strong serve but Max's strong groundstrokes made the difference and he won 6-3, 6-3. At line 1 doubles, seniors Adnan Khan and Matthew Pollock made a big comeback from being down 1-4 in the first set and turned their games around to win the set 6-4. They encountered more setbacks in the second set and missed some opportunities to lose it 4-6. They managed to pull it all together in the final tiebreaker 10-5. At line 2, seniors Creston Brooks and Samir Ratakonda played a great game. Samir used his solid serves and groundstrokes to set Creston up at the net for many put-aways. They won their match, not without a fight, 6-4, 6-3. The Lions moved to the semifinals facing the defending SPC Champions, Houston Christian. While our boys played remarkably well in singles, they were much younger and less experienced than the other team, who was the eventual SPC Champion again in 2019. All 3 lines lost in 2 sets. At doubles, St Mark's was the dominant team with the same combination of players from the previous match. Line 1 won in 2 sets, while line 2 was ahead one set when the match had to be called. The final match for the team was against St John's from Houston. The boys played with determination and grit. Mark Motlow easily earned the first point for the team. Adnan Khan and Matthew Pollock ended their senior year with a 6-4,6-4 victory. Senior Creston Brooks and junior Sid Vattamreddy also pulled off a tight 6-4, 7-5 win. Jeremy Yu and Max Palys played very hard fought matches, Jeremy winning at line 2 and Max succumbing to a tough opponent at line 3. The Lions ended a weekend of great tennis with a 3rd place finish at the SPC Championships. The team will be saying farewell to six seniors after this season: Rhys Arana, Emmett Berger, Creston Brooks, Adnan Khan, Matthew Pollock, and Samir Ratakonda.
Entering the SPC tournament as the PSC North Zone’s #3 seed, the varsity baseball team faced Houston Christian on Thursday afternoon in the opening round of games. Falling behind early (0-2) in the game after a Houston Christian bloop single over third, the Lions offense did a good job getting runners on base the rest of the game, but failed to cash in on several golden opportunities. Sophomore pitchers Daniel Sanchez and Jake Daniels limited Houston Christian to two runs through five innings, and with the score at 1-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning, hot-hitting junior Mason Rareshide singled in a run, but St. Mark’s was unable to score the remaining three runners on base. Relegated to the consolation bracket, the Lions squared off against Oakridge on Friday afternoon. Although St. Mark’s was officially out of championship contention, you would never have known it as the team showed up with plenty of energy and enthusiasm. Senior Cole Arnett dominated the Owls’ offense through seven innings of stellar work while Rareshide collected his first high school homerun, leading St. Mark’s to an inspiring 10-2 win. The next morning, the Lions played St. Andrew’s. In a classic pitcher’s duel, the score remained knotted at 0-0 through 5 ½ innings until senior Jack Rocchio plated Arnett on a sacrifice fly to center. However, St. Andrew’s responded with two sacrifice flies of their own in the top of the seventh off St. Mark’s starter Mason Rareshide. Unfortunately, the Lions could not drive home the tying run in the bottom of the 7th, eventually falling 1-2.
The varsity lacrosse team played Southlake last Tuesday in the THSLL District Playoffs with the opportunity to move on to the THSLL Super Regionals on the line. The Dragons and the Lions were both ranked in the top 10 of the state, with the Dragons having beaten the Lions by a single goal earlier in the season. Both teams were very patient and methodical early going, and the Lions managed to build a 6-3 lead at the end of 3 quarters. With 9 minutes to play in the 4th quarter, Southlake hit the first of two long range shots with the goalie screened that got them back within 1 goal. Two other high quality, close range shots put the Dragons up 7-6 and the Lions were unable to answer, eventually falling by a single goal. For the Lions, the offense was balanced with 6 different Marksmen accounting for the 6 goals (Connor Cheetham, Ian Mize, Lyle Ochs, Parker Clark, Ryan McCord, and Titus McGowan) although the Southlake goalie had an amazing 19 saves which kept the Lions from adding those all-important insurance goals. John Burton was 11 for 17 at the faceoff X. Unfortunately, with the loss came the end of the Lions season.