Athletics in Autumn

By Blake Gattuso ‘20

The fall sports season is in full swing, highlighted by nine out of thirteen teams with a winning percentage at or above .500.

Girls’ Varsity Soccer

Record (7-3)

Girls’ Varsity Soccer is off to a hot start, per usual. The perennial dominance can be attributed to an outstanding class of 2019, which includes eight returners. Even in the absence of Coach Ames and the loss of seven VI Formers the team performs at a high level. Coach Backon and the underclass players have stepped up to fill the void and then some. Captain Ainsley Dubose ‘19 says, “People were kind of nervous coming into the season but I think, so far, all the new players… have really adapted well to our team.” The team boasts a 4-2 ISL record, with big wins against Lawrence Academy (3-1) and Brooks (2-0).

Girls’ JV Soccer

Record (4-0)

The Girls’ JV Soccer team, a reliable feeder to the varsity squad, has set the tone for another successful season. Despite having three straight games canceled (!), they have managed to stay on track, most recently with a 2-1 win against St. George’s. Coaches Ms. Behan and Ms. Barila have another solid team on their hands for 2018.

Boys’ Varsity Soccer

Record (1-5-1)

Despite a slow start, things seem to be catching for the Boys’ Varsity Soccer team. After a couple close losses, the team came together and fought out a 2-0 victory. The team had been feeling the loss of ISL Offensive Player of the Year Matt Leigh ‘18, but V Form Captain Nate King ‘20 says, “we are just starting to figure out [how to overcome the loss], and we are starting to get a lot more shots on goal by playing Luca Vicinelli ‘19 up top.” Coach Cieufuentes and company look to keep rolling against Milton Academy on Wednesday (10/17).

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Boys’ JV Soccer

Record (1-3)

Coach Loomer has another talented squad full of VI Formers on his hands this year. VI Former Goalkeeper Nick Bechard ‘19 has kept the games within striking distance, while all others have contributed. The team lost seven players to the Varsity team this year, yet managed to field another solid squad this year. They are coming hot off a 3-1 victory at St. George’s and look to do some damage at Milton on Wednesday.


Boys’ Thirds Soccer

Record (4-0)

The story of the Thirds Boys’ season has been a successful one, led by Aussie sensations Hamish Dickins, Jim Billingham, and Callum Byk. The team also features standout defense from returners Brett Harmon ‘21 and Norbie Vazquez ‘21. The future looks bright for these young stars, with an undefeated record heading into the stretch.

Girls’ Varsity Field Hockey

Record (6-3-1)

Coach Finnerty ‘11 and Co. have secured another successful season, displaying a 6-3-1 record. The season is highlighted by wins against BB&N and Middlesex, along with non-ISL foes Loomis Chaffee and Williston. With a plethora of underformers, the team is set up well for the rest of the season – and the long-term.

Girls’ JV Field Hockey

Record (5-1)

An unstoppable combination of defense and goalkeeping has been key in the season for the JV Girls. A total of three goals have been scored against them, compared to fifteen that they have scored. A promising core has the ability to contribute to the varsity team in the years to come. Much of their success can be attributed to the coaching of former varsity head coach Ms. Warner. They face Milton on Wednesday and look to keep the opponents score to tack on another win.


Girls’ Thirds Field Hockey

Record (1-2)

Ms. Caron’s veteran coaching experience, no matter the sport, has helped another team. The newly-created thirds field hockey team has allowed the field hockey program to expand. The team has competed against ISL opponents Tabor and Brooks and Southborough opponent Fay.

Varsity Football

(Record 0-4)

Varsity Football is coming off a tough loss to ISL powerhouse Lawrence Academy, but their play has been improving. Despite a slow start, VI Form Quarterback and Captain CJ Schumaker ‘19 says that he is proud of the team because they have lost five two-way starters to injury and the adversity they have faced has been tough, yet the guys are always “ready to step up and fill in.” The team is hoping to capture a win this Saturday against St. George’s.

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Boys’ Varsity Cross-Country

(Record 9-2)

Another year, another dominant Coach Lyons led team. They have an ISL frontrunner in Grant Gattuso ‘19 who is backed by a young core, including III Former Joshua Bergers and IV Former Nolan Willoughby, that has run them to a 9-2 record. Highlighted by a sweep down at Tabor versus Milton (16-46), Nobles (21-36), and the host (25-32), they are once again a top ISL team. Personal bests were all across the board in the win. The team has ISL Championship dreams again, but they will need to run their best in the upcoming races as well. They run at home on Saturday.

Boys’ JV Cross-Country

(Record 11-0)

In the middle of an impeccable 11-0 season, part of a 49-0 regular season win streak, the Lions JV Boys’ team is at it again. Tearing through teams left and right, with times comparing to many varsity teams, the depth of the team has again been utilized. Young and old, the team is a perfect blend that makes it so successful. III Former Nick Sparrow has become a valuable asset while VI Formers Luc Coté, Kareem Chambers, and David Ragone lead. The team faces off against BB&N at home this weekend.

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Girls’ Varsity Cross-Country

(Record 4-4)

A team defined by its three front-running underformers, the team has been extremely successful. Natalie Zaterka ‘22 has assumed the frontrunning role for the varsity team behind the leadership of Co-captain Kate Normandin ‘19 among others. She says that their success can be attributed to “the morale and that all the freshmen that are so into cross-country and they are dedicated to the team.” Boasting the 4-4 record, they look to finish strong before ISL Championships in November.

Girls’ JV Cross-Country

(Record 0-4)

Facing tough opponents the JV Girls are running their best this season. Co-captain Rosanna Zhao ‘19 has offered her cross-country experience to help guide the girls to improvement. Ms. Bryant is sure to be appreciative of the hard work the girls are putting in, so they can contribute down the stretch. The girls face BB&N at home on Saturday.

Groton Shirt Design

By Filip Kierzenka ‘19

The 2018-2019 Groton Day T-Shirt design has been announced. This year’s design, drawn by sixth- former Nathan Laudani, features a regal lion resting upon an ornate chair with the raccoon coat, beneath a zebra head. Groton Day dates back 129 years and the Groton Day t-shirts have become a modern staple of this event. The shirts are our school’s “jersey” as they distinguish St. Markers during the Groton games. This year’s games are sure to be full of friendly but fierce competition, and the lions are certain to win “Best Dressed.” Go St. Mark’s!

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The Pride is Proud: Athletic Performance takes center stage

by Filip Kierzenka ‘19

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St. Mark’s School, founded in 1865, prides itself on being one of the oldest  boarding schools in the country. While being a school with a lengthy history, the Pride does not shy away from creating the most cutting edge facilities in the nation. Coming only four years after the opening of the STEM building, it seems fitting that the newest addition to the St. Mark’s campus, The Coolidge Center, bolsters our aging athletics facilities.

The T. Jefferson Coolidge Jr. '50 Athletic Performance and Wellness Center is a complete overhaul of the first floor of the Elkins Field House. Consisting of an entirely new gym with a turf track, a dedicated ERG room, and a refurbished equipment room, the new Coolidge Center will cultivate all levels of athletics at St. Mark’s. In addition, the old gym has been remodeled into the new Wiedergott Fitness Room. The renovation of the athletic facilities is belated in correspondence to the exceptional athletics program at St. Mark’s School. The new enhancement is a source of pride for not only the athletics department, but for the entire SM community.

The new athletics center yields controversy. Along with the new facilities came some new rules. To much of the student body’s dismay, in order to use the facilities there are a few stipulations. For example, the ban of sleeveless tees, headphones, non-water drinks, and hats. The prerequisite of a formal workout plan before using the facilities has certainly raised some eyebrows around campus. A student stated that it almost seemed as if they wanted to steer students away from using the new space, and that the rules made it unnecessarily difficult to go in and lift weights for general fitness. Considering that it is only the second week of school, it is still to be seen how these rules may change in the future. Regardless of the opinions regarding the rules, it must be said that the new Coolidge Center is a phenomenal addition to the St. Mark’s campus, and that it will be an invaluable asset to all of the athletics programs.


Featured Team: Girls Varsity Tennis

by Captain Summer Hornbostel ‘18

With freshmen Leila Fredrick, Tate Fredrick, and Anni Zhang competing as the top three players, the St. Mark’s girls varsity tennis team has done exceptionally well this season. The success is due to each and every one of the players, skill level aside. Captains Reevie Fenstermacher and Summer Hornbostel energize the team with fun music, swagger and horrible jokes, creating an atmosphere every team should aspire to have. Rosanna Zhao and Leean Li have been proud members of the team for three years now and have helped me feel like a part of SMGVT from day one. Isabelle Titcomb joined SMGVT later with me, and we have helped each other improve since then. Emma Simon and Frances Hornbostel are two other freshmen who bring skill, dedication, and positive energy to the team. Together we work hard and play hard against every team. We pride ourselves on our mental toughness, which is an important aspect of tennis, where each and every stroke and point matters. We like to think about the next point, rather than dwelling on past points. Whether we made a mistake or won the last point, we try to think only of the point we are playing in that moment. We have had one of the best SMGVT records of all time and this year we were invited to play in the Class B New England Championship for the first time in St. Mark’s history. We are prepared to bring our physical and mental toughness, our positive attitudes and our fun personalities (with our amazing assortment of snacks) to New England’s this weekend. We will leave our hearts on the court and walk out with swagger no matter what happens. I’m so lucky to be a captain of such a wonderful and fun group of girls this year. Our practices and team dinners are always full of laughter, and I love seeing smiles on everyone’s faces. I will miss hearing Rosanna scream every time a bug comes near her. I will miss being my sister’s doubles partner. I will miss listening to Anni sassing Tate and Leila (and vice versa) and I will miss playing with Leann. I will miss co-captaining with Reevie and making really bad cheers with her. I will miss joking around with Emma and I will miss eating snacks and talking with Isabelle. Thank you to Ms. Behnke for giving her all to our team and to Ms. Kosow and our managers!

Zumba Changes up the Spring Sports Offerings

By Luke Lee '20

Students are familiar with the 13 team sports throughout the fall, winter, and spring, but many would be surprised that one of the sports offered at St. Mark’s is Zumba.

Zumba, a program created by Colombian dancer Alberto Perez, is a form of exercise that incorporates dancing. Approximately 4 million people in 40 different countries are estimated to take zumba classes each year. Zumba’s popularity originates from its effectiveness in losing weight. According to the website Fitnessblender, women on average burn about 350-650 calories from an hour of Zumba.

Zumba has spread not only because it is good for one’s health but also because it is very fun. Mary Flathers, a junior at St. Mark’s and member of the Zumba class, described the experience of zumba as, “so much fun” and “it relieves so much stress!” Mary’s enthusiasm for the sport was surprising to learn since she had never had a passion for dance before taking Zumba. That itself is a testament to the positive qualities of zumba. Also, the program offers a great amount of freedom in music choice. Though many zumba classes feature Latin Music, Mary elaborated on how much musical freedom there is in class, adding, “Mr. Gayle always plays music if people ask him to play their favorite music. It’s not Latin music all the time.”

Unlike lacrosse or baseball, where students play under the scorching sun and drizzling rain, Zumba takes place in the room next to Taft in the PFAC, meaning rain or shine, you have the chance to exercise in cool air. So, if you are a student looking for a new sport to try that is both fun and indoors, give Zumba a try!

The Girls of Winter

by Shelby Howard ‘19

 Pictured above is the St. Mark's Girls JV Ice Hockey team from the 2016-2017 season

Pictured above is the St. Mark's Girls JV Ice Hockey team from the 2016-2017 season

As the Battle Hymn of the Republic plays in the Gardner Rink, the girls of winter skate out onto the ice. This is one of many great traditions of St. Mark’s Girls JV Ice Hockey. Senior captains Brynn Kennedy and Rebecca Lovett are four-year members of the team, who are proud pioneers of the program. This team is built from girls who have a passion for the sport, which is fostered by coaches Bernt and Eslick. Coach Eslick is new to the team, replacing Mr. Upton's one year stint as assistant coach, and he has already taught the players some invaluable rules of the sport. Coach Berndt is entering her seventh season as JV Girls Hockey coach and is a maternal figure for many of the players, including her biological daughter Zoe Maddox.  But when the girls take the ice on game day she shows her lion spirit as she gets the girls prepared for the tough fight ahead of them.

Every week, the team battles in an intense scrimmage in preparation for game day. Practice begins and ends every day with a dance party. Then, when it is game day, the girls scream in the locker room before they take the ice. Key defensive players include Rebecca Lovett and Kate Normandin. Mary Hoffman and Mary Flathers are skilled players on the second line, and Brynn Kennedy and Sarah Lammert are a threat to any opponent’s defense. Together, the team has an aggressive, hard-working style of play.

Another tradition of the team is the annual Hockey Olympics, which includes intense events such as; relay races, speed skating, and the choreographed synchronized skating competition. The girls are split up into three teams, in hopes to lay their hands on the winning title.

JV Hockey is a force to be reckoned with, and at the end of the day, the girls skate off the ice as sisters rather than teammates. Rebecca Lovett epitomizes this sisterhood by saying, “I love JV hockey with all of my heart and soul.”

Featured! Boy's JV Cross Country Team

by Blake Gattuso ‘20, featuring Boys JV Cross Country

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Thirty-Eight straight wins. Two ISL Championships in Three years. Five Runners in the top eleven spots in the Championship Race. This year, JV Boys Cross-Country continued our dominance. Running to a perfect 15-0 record, placing second in the ISL Championships to a tough Roxbury Latin team, finishing fourth in the Division 1 NEPSTA Championships, and setting a new St. Mark’s record for most consecutive wins at 38 straight, this team was confident, relaxed, and most importantly...fast!

This year, many people contributed, with twelve runners (Matt Walsh ‘19, Rick Sarkar ‘19, Henry Butterfield ‘18, Ben Teixeira ‘19, Crawford Wittman ‘21, Nolan Willoughby ‘21, Kareem Chambers ‘19,  David Ragone ‘19, Chapin Pyne ‘20, Connor Browder ‘19, Leo Xie ‘19, and myself) scoring across nine meets. The season began with a bang with a 15-50 (the best possible score) win over St. Sebastian’s and took off from there with at least four more 15-50 finishes. Some highlights from the season include a 1 through 4 sweep on parents weekend against Tabor, and individual first-place finishes from Matt Walsh ‘19 during the two team Tabor race, Nolan Willoughby ‘21 during the four-team Middlesex race, and myself during the four-team Governors race.

The regular season ended with a challenge against Roxbury Latin, but nevertheless, we pulled through a tight 26-29 win. ISL championships came in the following week and once again we ran a great race. For those who do not know cross-country, championship race scorings are generally very high because the scorers take the place of the top five runners on each team and add them up - lowest score wins. So, most often the winning scores are in the 60’s or 70’s and the worst teams near 400. We just barely lost despite scoring an unheard of 38 points, with Butterfield ‘18 leading the way in 4th place.  

A wildly successful regular season lead to an incredible second place finish in an elite league. The following week, the team traveled to Choate to compete in Division 1 NEPSTA Cross Country Championships. Despite being the smallest school there, we finished fourth, with our top 5 runners all placing in the top 35. Next season, many of these outstanding runners will jump on up to help the 14-1 varsity team (who also finished in second place at the ISL Championships) while the rest look to each other and Coach Lyons to help continue the dominance of St. Mark’s JV Boys Cross-Country.

  From left to right: Connor Browder ‘19, Rick Sarkar ‘19, Henry Butterfield ‘18, Kareem Chambers ‘19, and myself after the ISL Championship race. All 5 placed in the top 11 in a race with 235 runners.

From left to right: Connor Browder ‘19, Rick Sarkar ‘19, Henry Butterfield ‘18, Kareem Chambers ‘19, and myself after the ISL Championship race. All 5 placed in the top 11 in a race with 235 runners.

Tales of the Tailgate Club

by Henry Butterfield '18

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Early in the fall of last year, Colin Boylan and I finished our Wednesday cross-country practice and saw that the Girl's Varsity Soccer team had a home game against Brooks. We noticed that there weren’t many students at the game, but decided to join the few parents watching from the stands. It was a beautiful day, and Mr. Hebert was watching the game with his son when he approached us and said that we should bring a grill to games and cook for the fans. On that day, Colin and I got the idea to found the Tailgating Club at St. Mark’s.

Colin and I had thought for some time that at St. Mark’s there was little to no fan engagement and very little school spirit at games. We created the club to increase a sense of community and fan involvement, hoping that by bringing food to the games and cooking for fans and players, more and more people would come to events around school. Each Wednesday, Colin, Pete Nugent and I would pick a game to tailgate. The weekend prior, Pete or I would go out and buy the necessary food for the game. During free periods on Wednesdays, we would bring the grill down and get everything ready for the games. We sent emails out to the school and made announcements at school meeting to make sure every student at St. Mark's was aware of the tailgated game.

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Last Fall we tailgated ten games for nearly every varsity sport, and we were able to tailgate away games too, including the New England Championship Girls Soccer game, which was held at Brooks. At that game we had hundreds of students and parents drive to the game to cheer on the team. The club has been widely successful in the fall and we plan on attending more winter and spring games soon. Go St. Mark's!