The varsity volleyball team entered the SPC Tournament as the North Zone #3 seed. On Friday afternoon, the team started the tournament facing Kinkaid, who finished second in the South Zone. The Lions won in straight sets 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-14) and moved on to the SPC semifinals against the host school, Greenhill Hornets. The Hornets, a familiar foe having faced the Lions 4 times during the regular season and splitting those games 2-2, started the match by taking the 1st set (22-25). As the fans started to trickle into the stands on Friday night, the Lions bounced back to take the 2nd set, 25-18. By the start of the 3rd set, each school had its student sections packed, and the gym was electric. St. Mark’s fed off the energy and took set #3 (25-15) and set #4 (25-18) to win the match and secure a date with the Trinity Valley Trojans in the SPC Championship game. This would be the 3rd straight fall SPC Championship game that the Lions and Trojans would square off in, the Lions winning in 2018 and the Trojans winning in 2019 (no SPC tournament in 2020 due to the pandemic). The Lions again had a strong fan turnout and jumped out to a 2-0 lead, winning sets 1 (25-10) and 2 (25-15) in dominating fashion. However, the Trojans showing the resilience of a defending champion, fought back to win the 3rd and 4th sets to tie the match at 2-2 apiece. Behind strong hitting performances by seniors Miller Trubey, Will Shoup, and Jodie Thompson, several crucial blocks by freshman Jacob Lobdell and senior Samir Mamtani, solid backrow defense by junior Zach Nivica, and precision setting by senior George Warren, the Lions took the 5th set (15-10) and claimed the 2021 SPC Championship! The depth and experience on this roster with 10 seniors (including William Fitzpatrick, Rahul Gunukula, Axel Icazbalceta, Ralph Steele, and Samuel Wu) pushed this team to improve each day in practice and was, fortunately, able to peak at the right time in the season. All-SPC awards will be announced later this week after the voting period has concluded.
The varsity cross country team culminated the season on the highest of notes with another SPC Championship, defending their title from 2019. On a cool and clear Saturday morning with dew on the ground, the challenging course was in great shape. The team was led by star-runner, senior Sahil Dodda, who finished 2nd in the race. He was followed by super sophomores Raja Mehendale in 6th, Asa McCaleb in 12th, and Clark Cooper in 13th, and senior Fisayo Omonije in 16th. An impressive performance by the top five runners earned all five of them ALL-SPC accolades, and they scored a total of 51 points. In addition, junior Sky Park (27th) and sophomore Parker Steinbrueck (38th) displaced many runners on the opposing teams to help the Lions build a 41-point lead over the 2nd place team. An outstanding finish to an outstanding season! The depth, youth, and culture of this group have the Lions set for an attempt at the rare three-peat next fall.
The varsity basketball, soccer, swimming, and wrestling teams officially kicked off their winter seasons on Monday, Nov. 8. The soccer team opens their season with a home scrimmage against Greenhill on Thursday, while the basketball team travels to the Jimmy Gale Oak Cliff Showcase (at South Oak Cliff HS) on Saturday (2 pm game), and the wrestling team hosts the season-opening Team Duals in Spencer Gym on Saturday at 9:30 am.