Soccer After more than two weeks without training or playing a match, the varsity soccer team would have a daunting schedule of five matches in five days to complete the SPC North Zone counter season against teams that had been training and playing regularly. The Lions would begin with their most stringent test by traveling to Cistercian. Despite a lack of sharpness by the Lions, they were every bit the equal of the Hawks until shortly before halftime. The Hawks would add another goal minutes into the second half. The resurgent Lions played inspired soccer for the final thirty minutes and when senior Knobel Hunt scored from senior Henry McElhaney’s pass in the sixty-ninth minute, the Lions took control of the match. Cistercian proved resilient with a defense that was difficult to break down. The Lions were not quite sharp enough in the final third to equalize, conceding the north zone title to the Hawks with a final score of 1-2. The Lions had little time to dwell on their first loss in over a year (18 matches) as they traveled to ESD the following evening. On a cold, windy evening, St. Mark’s regrouped well as they systematically wore down the Eagles’ defense, leading to a first-half penalty kick which senior Eric Yoo confidently converted. A few minutes into the second half, Yoo’s emphatic strike from almost thirty meters beat the ESD goalkeeper, doubling the lead for St. Mark’s. Within minutes, junior Lars Ochs added another goal and Hunt closed out the scoring in the final minute with both goals being assisted by McElhaney. The Lions earned a day of rest due to a “snow day” before beginning the winter break with two matches on Friday in cold temperatures. Greenhill hosted St. Mark’s in the morning match. The Lions found themselves behind after the most controversial of goals was awarded to the Hornets. The goal was deserved as Greenhill established the run of play early in the match. St. Mark’s once again rose to the occasion and systematically began to dictate play but found it difficult to pierce a stingy Hornet defense. The equalizer came in the seventieth minute at the foot of Knobel Hunt after a wonderful combination that saw Yoo’s service chested to the feet of the onrushing Hunt by senior Christian Shadle. Shadle would prove to be the man of the match with one of the most complete performances by a St. Mark’s player for the entire season. Junior goalkeeper Stefan Moreno was called upon to make several crucial saves to preserve the one-goal draw. It was determined that Casady would be unable to travel to Dallas on Saturday; thus, the Oakridge match on Friday evening would be the last of the season for the Lions. On Senior Night, all seven seniors: Michael Anderson, Luis Garcia, Knobel Hunt, Henry McElhaney, Cristian Pereira, Christian Shadle, and Eric Yoo, would start the match together. It took only twenty-four seconds for Hunt to convert McElhaney’s pass into a goal. Goals from Ochs (assisted by Pereira), Yoo (from McElhaney), Moreno (from Munshi), and Fisher (from Ochs) put the match out of reach by halftime. Fittingly, the last goal of the match came in the seventy-fourth minute when Hunt and McElhaney combined yet again for a final score of 6-0. Junior goalkeeper Axel Icazbalcetta earned the shutout, the seventh in thirteen matches for the Lions. St. Mark’s finished its often interrupted, somewhat abbreviated season with a record of 11 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss, grateful to have had a season at all. One of the highlights of the season occurred after the match when several students who braved the cold temperatures joined the players in singing the alma mater. A huge debt of gratitude to the parents, administration, faculty, and student body for their ardent support throughout a trying season.
Basketball Last week, the varsity basketball team competed against the three local SPC schools. On Tuesday, the Lions hosted Cistercian and celebrated senior night. Three-year manager extraordinaire, Anish Karthik, along with on-the-court veteran standouts Connor Gaffney, Luke Nayfa, Sarbik Saha, Luke Annett, Jake Laufenberg, and Harrison Ingram were honored at halftime for their rich contributions to the program over the years. Gaffney and Annett got the scoreboard moving with a pair of threes each, while Laufenberg logged a team-high 9 rebounds. Ingram finished the game with a near triple-double (12 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists), as the Marksmen cruised to a 66-45 victory. Less-than-ideal weather and ongoing pandemic concerns altered the late-week schedule. The SPC tournament had already been canceled, and now half of the remaining North Zone opponents were unable to compete. Nonetheless, the Marksmen strove to make the most of the situation, a mindset that has undoubtedly defined the 2020-21 season. After a Thursday snow/ice layoff, the squad traveled to Greenhill for a Friday morning bout. The Hornets were on fire from the three-point line and jumped out to an early first-quarter lead. However, freshman Nathan Davis knocked down a couple of longballs and provided tremendous defensive activity to help St. Mark's forge a halftime advantage. Junior Colin Smith (19 points) and senior Harrison Ingram (27 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds) were unstoppable in the second half, as the Lions defeated their cross-town rival 80-67. At the moment, the Lion’s 4-0 record tied them with Oakridge for a share of the lead in the North Zone standings. However, the two schools would never get to meet, meaning that a rescheduled Friday night game at ESD would be St. Mark’s last SPC game of the season. ESD’s comparatively fresh legs showed early, as the Marksmen made numerous mistakes (11 first-half turnovers) and struggled mightily to shoot the ball accurately (4-for-28 from 3-point range). Early in the fourth quarter, the Lions trailed by double-digits. However, a huge second-half rebounding effort from junior Tate Laczkowski (9 after the break) and a clutch three from junior sharp-shooter, Corvin Oprea, cut the margin to 6 with two minutes remaining. Scrappy energy from the speedy guard combo of Laufenberg, Davis, and junior Caleb Vanzant generated important turnovers that gave the Lions a chance to tie the game late. Harrison Ingram led all scorers with 20 points and had the ball in his hands with seconds to play and the team down 3. He made a nifty move to create separation, hoisted the shot on-target, but it wasn’t meant to be. The ball bounced in and out, giving ESD their first win over the Lions in 4 years. The Lions finished SPC play 4-1 and sit 7-2 overall.
Swimming The varsity swim team, having had its own layoff, returned to practice after the School’s two remote weeks in preparation for the SPC North Zone Championship. However, the weather on Thursday, February 11, made it unsafe for teams to travel so the meet was postponed to Feb. 17. Again, the weather would not cooperate this week and the north zone championship meet has been postponed once more. The team will need to rely on experience, guts, and raw talent in this meet having had very few practices to prepare, but the team is just happy for the opportunity to compete. Stay tuned for the next make-up date for this event.
St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.
St. Mark’s does not discriminate in the administration of its admission and education policies on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.