Celebrating 51 years of wrestling at our school, St. Mark’s Wrestling hosted and participated in the Lonestar Open Wrestling Tournament on December 20 and 21. Overall, the Lions took 7th out of 20 teams, which was stacked with some of the top Texas’ 6A and 5A public school programs. As a team, the Lions improved by one position from last year’s tournament. Junior Co-Captain Cooper Ribman was the only Marksman to earn the Champion title. Junior Reid Fundis won 4th place, and sophomores Sal Abbasi and Elijah Ellis both won their consolation finals match, earning them third-place medals. On January 3 and 4, five Marksmen traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to participate in the nationally renowned Prep Slam at Holy Innocents Preparatory School. Sophomore Elijah Ellis was knocked out in the Championship round of 32, and sophomores Jedidiah Kim, Sal Abbasi, and juniors Cooper Ribman and Jackson Fair were knocked out in the championship round of 16. All wrestlers made it to the second day of competition. Kim and Abbasi were knocked out in the first round of consolations and Fair and Ellis were bested in the second round of consolations. As a team with only five out of fourteen weight classes, we were 27th out of 46 teams from across the country. This Friday and Saturday, St. Mark’s will wrestle in the Dallas Independent School District Wrestling Open at Hillcrest High School.
The varsity basketball team was very busy over the holiday break. On Friday, December 20, the Lions squared off against the defending UIL 5A state champions from Lancaster High School. The game took place at Hockaday and the atmosphere was fantastic as the game seesawed back-and-forth throughout. The Lions held a slim lead at halftime that turned into a 10-point deficit early in the fourth quarter. However, St. Mark’s battled back to tie the game, thanks in part to a huge triple-double performance (22 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists) from junior Harrison Ingram. Unfortunately, with the score tied late in the fourth, sophomore standout, Colin Smith, was assessed his fifth foul, and the tide turned the wrong direction from there, ultimately resulting in a loss for the Marksmen. Smith finished the game with 10 points as one of four Lions to reach double-figures. Sophomore Corvin Oprea (14) & senior Andrew Laczkowski (23) also turned in stellar scoring performances. On December 26-28th, the squad competed in the Dallas Independent School District’s holiday invitational, which featured 32 teams. St Mark’s defeated Hillcrest in the first round, as sophomore Noah Shelby caught fire, connecting on 6 three-pointers en route to a 20-point performance. Senior Aaron Thorne also had a major impact, sparking a second-half run with a handful of hustle plays that led to a 67-43 victory. In the second round, the Lions faced South Garland, a 6A final four team each of the last two seasons. Colin Smith led all scorers with 22 points and rounded out his robust stat line with 14 rebounds and 4 assists. JuniorHarrison Ingram tallied 19 points on an efficient shooting effort (7-10 from the field and 5-6 at the free-throw stripe). The Lions won that game 62-46 and moved on to the quarterfinals the following day. This time, the opponent was Skyline High School. Corvin Oprea and Andrew Laczkowski each hit a pair of threes in the first half, and senior Taylor Hopkin added to his team-leading 3-point percentage with a triple of his own. The game was tight throughout, but the Lions managed a 7-point win to advance to the semifinals that evening. For the second time in a week, St. Mark’s faced Lancaster. The boys in blue and gold jumped out to an 18-8 first quarter advantage. However, some second-quarter foul trouble enabled Lancaster to cut the margin to 2 at half time. Freshman Isaac Bird stepped up in a major way to help hold Lancaster’s most highly-recruited player to 11 points (he had 38 during the teams’ first meeting against each other). More hot shooting from Oprea and a double-double from Laczkowski gave the Lions a late lead, but an untimely technical foul on Coach Greg Guiler due to calling a time out that the team didn’t have pushed the game to OT where St. Mark’s was unable to ever hold a lead. A buzzer-beating attempt by Harrison Ingram (the game’s leading scorer with 19 points) fell short, and SM was handed a 62-63 defeat. The loss was disappointing but set up a 3rd-place contest with Dallas Carter, a team the Lions narrowly defeated twice during the 2018-19 season. St. Mark’s forged a lead in the 1st quarter but struggled to connect on numerous open 3’s in the 2nd. Fortunately, shots started falling in the 3rd and 4th quarters, and Andrew Laczkowski converted on 8 of 8 free throws to lead three Lions who finished with double-digit scoring (Laczkowski 19, Smith 18, And Shelby 10). St. Mark’s won the game 57-46, and Colin Smith was recognized for several tremendous performances by being named to the All-Tournament Team. On January 3, the Marksmen took to the court yet again at Prestonwood Christian Academy. Both teams were on fire and finished an up-and-down first half with 10 made 3-pointers each. Smith and Laczkowski once again found their scoring rhythms and finished the game with 28 and 27 points, respectively. Corvin Oprea used several rebound-and-putback efforts to finish the game with 22, and Harrison Ingram once again eclipsed 10 assists to go along with 8 rebounds and a thunderous dunk over Prestonwood’s 6’11” post player. Sophomore Tate Laczkowski also made a pair of clutch threes to help the Marksmen secure a 92-82 victory. In the alumni game the following day, Tate Laczkowski continued knocking down shot after shot. His 7 makes from beyond the arc rendered him the game’s leading scorer and earned his team a 17-point lead after three quarters. However, the alums refused to be outlasted by their younger counterparts. With the scoreboard reset for two additional quarters of competitive fervor, the alums were determined to show they still had a little something left in the tank. Will Dickson ‘10 and his former Marksman brother, Davo, each knocked down late-game threes, and classmates Reece Rabin ‘18 and Jimmy Rodriguez ‘18 turned defense into offense with some timely transition scores. With seconds remaining, former-Lion-athlete-turned-faculty-member Tim Mank rebounded a miss and scored to give the alums a 1-point win. It was a great way to finish the first alumni game played in the newly-renovated Spencer Gym, where memories of yesteryear have been brought to life in a whole new way. Next up for St. Mark’s is defending 4A state champs, Faith Family (Tuesday night at Faith Family at 7:30 p.m.). SPC play begins Friday with a home game against Ft. Worth Country Day at 7:30 pm. On Saturday, the Lions play one additional game at Lovejoy High School at 1:00 p.m.
Propelled by the momentum from a victory over Greenhill, the varsity soccer team hosted Home School Athletic Association on Monday, December 16. The Lions demonstrated excellent combination play, as well as moments of individual skill in a 5-1 victory which returned the Lions to the .500 mark for the season. After conceding first in the 30th minute, the Lions equalized in the 35th minute on junior Cristian Pereira’s goal, assisted by senior Romil Mathur and junior Henry McElhaney. Just before halftime, McElhaney’s corner kick was opportunistically redirected past the melee in front of the goal by senior Christian Duessel. Three minutes into the second half, junior Knobel Hunt scored from yet another McElhaney corner kick. In the 53rd minute, junior Eric Yoo was able to covert senior Colin Campbell’s cross to give St. Mark’s and insurmountable lead. McElhaney earned his third assist of the evening when he turned provider for Yoo’s second goal of the evening in the 69th minute. Final score: HSAA 1 @ SM 5. Then this past Saturday, January 4, the current Lions hosted an alumni squad featuring former players from four decades. A late third-period flurry from the Alumni team was enough to earn a draw against the varsity. Two goals from Jonathan Rivera ’09, sandwiched around Mateo Guevara’s ’19 goal erased a three-goal deficit. Early goals from juniors Cristian Pereira and Knobel Hunt, along with a goal from senior captain Colin Campbell propelled the Lions to a three-goal lead. Junior Henry McElhaney had early man-of-the-match honors with assists on all three goals. Entertaining soccer was accentuated with wonderful fellowship and opportunities for bragging rights between former and current players, as well as fathers and sons, and brothers. The alumni have now gone three years without losing to the varsity.
The Lion swimmers trained over break prior to the most busy and grueling part of their season. This week, the Lions face the always strong Dragons of Southlake Carroll at the Carroll ISD Aquatics Center on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.