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Lions' Hopes High for Strong Fall Sports Season in 2017
Lions' Hopes High for Strong Fall Sports Season in 2017

As St. Mark's prepares for the start of classes, athletes are back for early practice, in anticipation of the upcoming fall season. Hopes are high for strong showings by all the Lions' varsity teams this autumn.

Both the boys' and girls' varsity soccer teams have some talented players returning after posting strong winning records last autumn. Boys' varsity soccer is coming off a 9-6-2 regular campaign in 2016 with St. Mark's MVP and All-ISL goalkeeper Darren Pike '18 back in the net. Last season, Pike had 450 saves for a .920 save percentage with five shutouts and allowing barely two goals per game. On offense, leading scorer Matt Leigh (an SM single-season record 20 goals and another All-ISL First Team selection) returns, on an historic pace to set SM career records as well. A balanced squad of experienced veterans and talented newcomers will be guided by N.E. all-star coach Neil Cifuentes, with hopes high for another strong campaign.

Coach Lauren Ames' girls' varsity soccer team had an outstanding season last fall, going 12-2-6 overall—one of the best records in the history of the sport at St. Mark's—finishing 3rd in the ISL and making it to the finals of the NEPSCAC Class B tournament before falling by just a single goal. MVP Hailey DuBose '18 is back, along with fellow All-ISL selections Caroline Peterson '18, Caroline Dawson '19, and Ainsley DuBose '19, as well as keeper Zoe Maddox '19, terrific in goal in 2016. With so many fine players returning, members of last year's 11-2-1 JV squad moving up, and the addition of some strong new talent, things are looking good for the 2017 season.

Boys' varsity cross country was 12-4 in the autumn of 2016, while the junior varsity squad was unbeaten at 12-0, winning the ISL JV championship and the SM Wiedergott Award. Grant Gattuso '19 and Hans Wu '19 were both recognized by the ISL last year, and Matt Walsh is among those back from the successful JV program. Steven Burke '18 and other talented runners round out a varsity program with tremendous potential for the season ahead.

SM alumna Colleen Finnerty '11 has taken over the coaching reins of varsity field hockey this year. Last year's team was 10-6-2 overall, tied for 3rd in NEPSAC Class B. All-ISL selections Grace Sambrook '18 and Lizzie Provost '18 are back (Grace earned National Field Hockey Coaches' Association All-Region honors as well), and they are joined by a host of talented players that hope to continue the program's long-running success.

Coach Karen Bryant has a young roster for girls' varsity cross country, led by N.E. All Star and All-ISL honoree Nina Tanaka '20. The team is seeking to improve on its 5-8 mark from last fall, and the outlook is good.

Varsity football was 3-5 last year, and has several fine players back for Coach Chris Young. ISL All-Star Laquan McKever is one of the best running backs in the league, while other All-ISL honorees Tommy MacNeill '18, Neil Swain '18, Anthony D'Angelo '18, and Jon Noel '18 are also returning, along with Tyreese James '18 anchoring the front line. With so many veteran Sixth Formers on the squad, there is reason to be optimistic this fall.

Prospects, then, are bright for one of the better fall athletic seasons at St. Mark's. Come on out and cheer on your favorite Lions!