The varsity tennis team had a very exciting last week of the season. On Monday, the Lions welcomed Ft. Worth Country Day for what would turn out to be a very long evening of great tennis. For this match, it was decided to play every player who hadn't been in the starting lineup yet. The team got to witness every one of those players rise to the occasion and demonstrate just how deep and tough this team is. On line 1 singles, senior Max Wu took on a challenging opponent with a big serve and forehand. While Max fought hard and had a good run, he wasn't able to pull off some close games and lost 4-6, 2-6. At line 3 singles, junior Arjun Agarwal played his first match for the Lions and exhibited excellent singles skills. He gained the first point for the Lions, coming off the court with a 6-3, 6-2 score. At line 1 doubles, sophomores Roome Becker and Will Grable, who practice together frequently, got the chance to display their well-rehearsed tactics in a long and intense match. They went toe to toe with their opponents, squeezing out a first set 6-4 victory, struggling through a tight second set 3-6, and finally bringing it all together in the third set with the support and loud cheer from all their teammates. They managed a 6-2 win in the last set, winning the 2nd point for the Lions. At line 2 doubles, junior Rahul Gunukula and freshman Shantiv Monga battled through the first set, taking the lead early on, but unfortunately losing it at a pivotal moment and dropped the first set 4-6. In the second set, the pair experienced some setbacks, and not feeling at their best, lost the set 1-6. At line 2 singles, freshman Arnav Lahoti went back and forth with his opponent and lost a hard-fought first set 6-7. The second set would turn out equally close. By mid-set, all other matches had come off and unbeknownst to him, he needed to win his match to score the winning point for the team. All of Arnav's teammates gathered around him and began cheering him on, they helped carry him to win the second set 7-6 (8-6 tiebreaker). Arnav would go on to take a 4-1 lead in the third set, but fatigue set in, and he found himself tied at 4-4. The team raised their energy and their cheer and before long Arnav was on his way to close out the match and seal the win for the Lions at 6-4 in the final set. The match took 3 hours to complete, and the team came together like never before to achieve a tremendous 3-2 win. On Saturday, as a result of going undefeated 7-0 during the season and winning the SPC North Zone, the team got to welcome St. John's School (Houston), winner of the South Zone. The match took place at the beautiful Turpin Stadium at SMU. The result would determine the SPC Champion for 2021 as a full conference tournament wasn't going to take place.
At line 2 singles, Jeremy Yu, who had just competed in an individual tournament earlier in the day, was the first off the court, barely dropping any points to win his match 6-0, 6-0. He was soon followed by Patrick Flanagan at line 3 singles, who continued his season-long winning streak, winning yet another 6-0, 6-0 match through an impressive display of skill. Line 1 doubles Alex Ryan and Ekansh Tambe had a few missed opportunities, dropping the first set 3-6. They worked hard to stay in the second set and turn things around, but eventually got a bit tight and lost 5-7. Line 2 doubles Shreyan Daulat and Amogh Naganand played some great service games, but struggled against a couple of tough St. John’s servers. While they played some impressive points, it wasn't enough to win. They lost the match 4-6, 3-6. By this point, the team was tied 2-2 with St. John's with senior Mark Motlow still on the court at line 1 singles. He played a really close first set with many long points. He was able to win most of the long rallies and took the first set 6-4. With all of his teammates around him, Mark raised his game in the second set and found his confidence. As soon as he hit the final shot of his high school career to win the match 6-1, he and his teammates ran towards each other to celebrate the great 3-2 victory over St John's. With this win, the tennis team ended the season with an undefeated record and an SPC Championship, an achievement that hasn't happened in 19 years. This season will be a very memorable one for this young team.
The varsity lacrosse team took the field this past Saturday as the #2 seed in the THSLL Class A State Championship Bracket. Ian Mize struck first at the 9:47 mark and at the end of the first quarter, the score was 3-2 in favor of the Lions. Plano west ran a zone defense that seemed to mystify the Marksman for much of the first half. The game was a back-and-forth battle with several rushed shots, turnovers, and failed clearing exchanges in between the midline, but the Lions were able to hold a slim 4-3 lead at the end of the first half. At halftime, the team and coaches made adjustments, and the Marksmen began to roll in the second half. Henry Piccagli found Jake Park wide open on the crease for a dunk while being pushed from behind. This goal opened a scoring run for the Lions in the second half of the contest. Following a long flurry of shots from Plano West and a strong defensive stand by the Lions, Park found the back of the net again after Ian Mize drew a triple-team from his righty alley dodge, dishing it to Park who climbed the crease and flushed the rock. On the next offensive possession for the Lions, backing up a missed shot, Luke Stallings, on the restart broke his defender down with a quick crossover split from behind the net to break away and stuck a well-placed left-handed shot by the goalie’s off stick shoulder to continue the run. With close to 9 minutes gone in the third frame of action, Ian Mize scored three goals in a matter of three minutes. At the beginning of the 4th quarter, faceoff specialist Alex Geng used his classic pinch and pop move pulling the ball forward, and on the ensuing fast break opportunity passed it to attackman Henry Piccagli on the low wing near the goal line extended who pierced through his defenseman’s stick check and bounced a well-placed shot off the earth going through the five-hole. Attackman Jake Park followed up with two more goals on the afternoon. One of the biggest moments came in the fourth quarter when Charlie Estess stepped in between the pipes for the Lions, making three huge saves and closing the door to any momentum for the Knights. At the 3:04 mark in the 4th
quarter, John Charest won the face-off for the Lions and stuck a howitzer shot from 15 yards out. The sideline erupted as the 15th
goal of the afternoon was scored for the Lions. In the end, Ian Mize led the Lions in scoring with four goals and two assists, Jake Park tallied five goals, Luke Stallings had two goals, and Murphy Paul, Henry Piccagli, and John Charest each had one goal in the contest. The Lions advanced to the State quarterfinals with a 15-4 victory over Plano West leading into Sunday’s matchup against a familiar SPC foe, Episcopal High School (Bellaire, TX).
A little over 24 hours later, the Lions traveled back up to Allen on Sunday, May 2nd
for their quarterfinal match-up. Midfielder Luke Stallings opened the scoring with a lefty rip at 8:35 in the 1st
quarter. St. Mark’s went on a three-goal run before the Knights were able to answer with a goal of their own in the middle of the second quarter. Both teams clamped down on the defensive ends in the first half, creating some exciting action and only allowing each team one goal apiece in the second frame. The Lions held a 4-1 lead at halftime. Similar to the first half action, Luke Stallings again sparked the Lions with the first score of the 2nd
quarter with an unassisted goal with 6:57 remaining in the period. Ian Mize, Jake Park, and Henry Piccagli had their way with the defense, all scoring goals and assisting one another throughout the remainder of the contest. The major stories of the afternoon were the shutdown defense led by sophomore Grant Warnecke and junior Conor Duffy which created multiple turnovers and gathered five-plus ground balls, and sophomore netminder Ian Williams stepping in between the pipes in the second half making multiple big-time saves which help lead the Lions to an 11-4 victory and a berth in the THSLL Class A State Final Four. The Lions will travel to Kingwood, TX on Saturday, May 8 to face Coppell at 2:30 pm and with a win would play in the Class A State Championship game on Sunday at 12 pm at Humble High School’s Turner Field.
Track & Field
The varsity track & field team enjoyed a very successful SPC North Zone meet hosted by Greenhill. St. Mark’s won with 261 points. The team had 17 PR’s throughout the meet. Team balance would be the best description of the Lions’ performance. Kit Colson led the sprinters with 2 first place finishes in the 100m & 200m. Sam Eluemunoh led the throwers with a first place in the discus and second place in the shot put. Sahil Dodda led the distance runners with first place finishes in the 800m, 1600m and 3200m. Enoch Ellis led the hurdlers with 2 first place finishes in the 110h and 300h. Both races resulted in PR’s for Enoch. All in all, St. Mark’s qualified 14 individuals in 24 events + all three relays for the SPC Championships this Saturday at St. Mark’s. After a 1 year hiatus because of the pandemic, St. Mark’s will once again challenge for the SPC Championships!Wrestling
This past weekend, six varsity wrestlers travelled to the east coast to compete in the Prep National Wrestling Championship in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. This is the biggest and most prestigious tournament of the season. With a little under a month of preparation, three Marksmen made it to the “Blood Round” (Quina Perkison, Cooper Ribman, and Elijah Ellis) which is the round where a win earns you All-American status. Unfortunately, the Lions did not come out of the round with a wrestling victory, but the experience and effort were well worth the price of admission. Our Lion wrestlers were victorious in heart and in competition.
The varsity baseball team picked up our suspended match with Ft. Worth Country Day last Monday, and the game resumed in the top of the third inning with bases loaded and one out for the Falcons. With the score at 1-6, right-hander Jake Daniels punched out two Country Day batters in a row, limiting further damage and giving the Lions a chance to claw back into the contest. St. Mark’s did just that, plating four Lions’ runners over the next four innings to narrow FWCD’s lead to 6-5. Daniel Sanchez’s one-out single to CF and advancement to 2B on a passed ball started a potential rally in the bottom of the 7th, but the Lion hitters were unable to score Sanchez, eventually losing 5-6. The next day, the team traveled over to ESD for its’ final game of the season. Down 2-0 to the Eagles after a misplayed bunt and a series of throwing errors in the top of the 2nd inning, the scrappy Lions team knotted the game at two in the top of the fifth inning after James Petrikas’ successful sacrifice bunt allowed Marlon Henderson’s RBI groundout to score Daniel Sanchez from third. Sanchez also had one of his best starts of the spring on the mound that day, largely keeping the Eagles nested before turning the ball over to right-hand reliever Camden Reeves. In the top of the 6th, left fielder Alex Zuch smashed a solo shot over the left field wall, breaking the tie and igniting the visiting crowd into a joyful frenzy. The Lions offense tacked on three additional insurance runs while Reeves closed out the game in a thrilling 6-2 win to end the season.