CREW The varsity crew traveled to Oklahoma City to compete in the Central District Youth Championship Regatta which is the culminating event in our regular rowing season. It is a qualifier event to advance to Youth Nationals in Sarasota, Florida. Along with Youth National qualifier events, Second Varsity events and Novice events were held, as well. St. Mark’s had 13 total entries in 10 events. In those events, 10 boats advanced to finals from Saturday’s time trials to finals. The threat of high winds came true on Sunday and 20 mph winds, gusting to 30 all day forced a cancelation of the finals. Luckily, this eventuality was considered and the finish times in the time trials were the determining factor in deciding winning order. The Lion crew knew this and raced each race like it was the only one that counted…and in fact it was. The Varsity 4x of Drake Elliott, Evan McGowan, Spiros Hallax, and Paul Valois bettered the Rowing Club of the Woodlands time by 2.245 seconds. This was one of many sweet victories, as SM had been coming in second to the Woodlands all season. The Varsity 2x event proved to be every bit as exciting, yielding impressive finishes by Marksmen rowers. The 2x of Paul Valois and Evan McGowan left everything on the course to come in a remarkable 16.37 seconds ahead of the second place finisher. Drake Elliott and Spiros Hallax came in 3rd place. This qualifies 3 boats to race at Nationals this June.
Centrals also provided the entire team an opportunity to race. The Lions got what they had been missing this season and that is a regatta that wasn’t completely upset by nature. St. Mark’s raced five 4x’s in the second Varsity event. Brendan Kelly, CJ Ness, Ian Lin, and Soham Verma came in 1st place. Second place went to Kevon Mostafavipour, Zack Goforth, Tomek Marczewski, and Nate Wilson. In 4th place, Miles Thornburg, Roome Becker, Ashrit Manduva, and Thomas Goglia. In 6th, Ralph Steele, Miller Wendorf, Ian Dalrymple, and John Tagtmeier. In 7th place, Anish Guddati, Alex Nelson, Preston Ghafar, and AJ Ball. This was the novice rowers’ first chance to race a full 2000-meter laned and buoyed course. In the Novice 4x races Eric Yi, Austin Dunbar, Eric Han, and Matthew Freeman came in 3rd, and Arav Rawat, Jack Tholking, Rahil Panchbhaya, and Hale Peterson came in 6th. The Novice 2x field was one of the most crowded with 18 boats entered. Casey Bajec and Roome Becker came in 6th, Linyang Lee and Arav Rawat came in 8th, and Eric Yi and Matthew Freeman came in 11th. It was a very rewarding race weekend and a well-earned reward for a season with very difficult conditions. It reflected the hard work and commitment this team has.
WATER POLO This past weekend, the varsity water polo team traveled to the University of Houston and competed in the TISCA Water Polo State Championships. This is the last year that TISCA will host as the sport is being adopted by the UIL next fall, meaning that private schools can no longer compete for an overall state title. The opening round was against Westwood HS and was all St. Mark’s. The Lions came out strong and controlled the game from start to finish. After the first quarter the Lions were up 9-1, then an 11-0 second quarter had the Lions up 20-1 at half. A 7-1 3rd quarter followed by a 3-3 4th quarter ended with a 30-5 final score over Westwood. Game 2 vs. Brazoswood HS was a much tighter affair. Brazoswood, who advanced 2nd out of the toughest region, should have been a semifinal matchup. The Lions were ready having seen them twice before at the Aggieland Invitational, with Brazoswood handing St. Mark’s one of its four losses in the regular season. The 1st and 3rd quarter would be the pivotal quarters for the Lions as they would end up 4-2 after the 1st, 4-4 in the 2nd, 4-2 in the 3rd, and 3-3 in the 4th for a final score of SM 15 – Brazoswood 11. In State Semifinals, Stratford ran into the Lions who were in dominating fashion. The end result would be 16-6, but with a 7-5 first half the Lions would show an amazing ability to deal with adversity and adjust on the fly. The defense would completely lock down Stratford’s best player, only allowing him 1 final goal, and these defensive stops would lead to great counterattack opportunities which then led to odd man rushes that would turn the tide of the game for the Lions.
St. Mark’s would find themselves in a rematch of the 2021 State Championship where the Lions defeated Dawson 12-6. Only 1 starter for the Lions would return this season while Dawson returned 5 of their 7 starters. The first quarter was a much better start for the Lions than in 2021, instead of being down 1-4, the Lions were only down 2-3. The second quarter saw more of the same with both teams battling for every inch. At the half, it was all tied up at 5-5, however the momentum was favoring the Lions. With tough defense, the Lions held a hot Dawson offense to just 2 goals and the Lions won the 3rd quarter 3-2 and took an 8-7 lead into the final frame. In the 4th quarter, the Lions were able to pull away, outscoring Dawson 4-3 to win the State Championship 12-9! Senior Brett Honaker was voted State MVP and 1st Team All-State, Ethan Gao was voted 2nd Team All-State, and junior Sammy Larkin was voted Honorable Mention All-State. For the Second year in a row and 3 of the last 4 years (thanks Covid), the Lions are State Champions. This would mark the 50th State Tournament of which St. Mark’s has won ten: 1975, 1977, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021, & 2022.
LACROSSE The #4 seeded varsity lacrosse team traveled down to Dripping Springs Middle School for the THSLL Class AA State Final Four over Mother’s Day weekend. The #1 seed Dallas Jesuit Rangers (12-2) struck first with 5:06 remaining in the first frame. The Rangers scored again off the next face-off giving them a 2-0 lead 9 seconds later. Midfielder Henry Boykin scored the first goal for the Lions setting up the defender of his patented right to left rollback sweeping to the middle of the field beating all defenders and scoring from 11 yards out. On St. Mark's next offensive possession, midfielder Ian Mize carried his defender behind the goal drawing a ton of attention and found attackman Jake Park wide open within 10 yards. Park’s defender quickly approached and #22 used a well-timed and nifty face dodge protecting his stick, got by the defense, then as he is pushed to the ground, is able to get a shot off which beats the goaltender to the far pipe tying the score 2 all. The Rangers then went on a 4-0 run to end the quarter, putting them ahead 6-2, and putting the Lions in a difficult spot in the spring May heat. The Lions then held Jesuit scoreless for the first 9 1/2 minutes of the second frame, but after long series of defensive pressure and a failed clear, the Ranger struck again stretching their lead to 5-goals heading into the half. Jesuit again struck first to open up the second half, 4:03 into the third quarter. The Lions would not stop fighting as junior attackman Jake Park drew a double-team and found senior attackman Henry Piccagli for a time and room stepdown snipe, which blazed directly above the goalie's head, bringing the score to 8-3. However, after another tremendous defensive stand by the Lions, Jesuit found a way to score with 9 seconds left in the third period. As the shooter released his shot, he was hit which drew a personal foul penalty giving the Rangers possession entering the fourth quarter. Twenty two seconds into the fourth quarter, Jesuit scored yet again during the extra man, a power-play opportunity, extending their lead to 7. Jake Park responded with a goal of his own coming down the right alley as he pulled off a nifty twister move to bring the score 10-4. The Rangers scored 2 more goals bringing their tally to 12. Henry Boykin scored a bouncer on the run with 4:01 remaining and 3 minutes later, after a barrage of shots by Jesuit, the Lions cleared the ball and Conor Duffy corralled a loose ball in their offensive zone drawing a lot of attention and physical checks. Duffy shovel passed the ground ball to Henry Boykin who scored the final goal for the Lions with 1:00 minute remaining to bring the score to 12-6, which would prove to be the final score of the game. The Lion's season would end with a loss on the scoreboard, but they finished with an overall record of 12-6 and 12-3 against in-state opponents. Through the adversity, there is much to celebrate for the SMLAX program looking back at all they were able to accomplish, and the tremendous group effort it took to be viewed as a TOP 4 team in the State in the toughest Division of Texas lacrosse.
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.