Prospects are good for the upcoming 2017-18 winter sports season at St. Mark's.
Coach Dave Nelson's Varsity Wrestling team is coming off one of its best seasons ever. In their first winning campaign in fifteen years, the SM grapplers went 11-6, tying the School record for most single-season wrestling victories (set in 1995). With all that success, practically the entire team is returning this year, as only one wrestler from that 11-6 team graduated last June. Last year's Most Valuable Wrestler Laquan McKever '18 is back, along with classmate Anthony D'Angelo, recipient of the 2016-17 Coe Prize (for wrestling skills, co-operation, diligence and courage). Both were All ISL Honorable Mentions last winter, along with teammates Steven Burke '18, Kareem Chambers '19, Micah Dwirantwi '19, and Luis Perez '20. At least six other veterans of the successful 2016-17 campaign are also back, including C.J. Schumaker '19 and Louis Lyons '19 (both of whom medaled at the New Englands, along with returnees McKever, Burke, Chambers, Dwirantwi, and Perez), joined by a handful of talented newcomers. Hopes are indeed high for 2017-18.
With a strong group of veterans returning from last year's 13-10-3 Girls' Varsity Hockey team, the prospects for Coach Casey Pickett '09 and her talented skaters are also extremely positive. The offense will be led by Sixth Formers Lindsey Dumond (last season's leading scorer) and Caroline Peterson (2016 leading scorer), both two-time All ISL selections. MVP, goalie Lydia Rascher '20, is back in the net. Last winter she recorded 516 saves for a .925 save percentage while allowing just 1.95 goals per game. Rascher was All-ISL Honorable Mention, along with Danielle Peterson '18, who will help anchor the defense, and forward Julianna Gong '19. Impressively, with last year's Girls' JV Hockey team taking home the Wiedergott Prize for their outstanding 9-1-1 mark, the St. Mark's girls' hockey program was an excellent 22-11-4 overall in 2016-17, and it is poised for success once again.
St. Mark's Boys' Varsity Hockey was 11-16-1 last year: a building season for a traditionally powerful program (29 championship seasons including two in the last three years). It is a testimony to the program's reputation and strength that this year's squad lost two potential returnees to the National Development Program, but that distinction also created a challenge for Carl Corazzini's team this year that the fourth-year head coach intends to meet. Offensive leadership will come from Sixth Form Co-Captains Peter Nugent '18 and Colin Boylan '18, as well as veteran Connor Berry '19. In goal, C.J. McKennitt '18, who played the vast majority of minutes last winter, returns to give St. Mark's some solid netminding play. Still, for the Lions to have a successful season, new players to the program will have to play to their potential. New Fifth Former Matt Toporowski, Fourth Former Danny Ciccarello, and Third Former Jackson Coutu look to chip in. Tucker Hartmann '20 will be a defensive mainstay. New Fifth Former Ben Smith should provide some immediate help, while Third Formers Jake Oblak and Ian Moore look to crack the lineup.
Boys' Varsity Basketball has a brand new coach. Ilya Nicholas comes to St. Mark's with an impressive pedigree. From 2004-2013 he was head coach at Marlborough High School, where he helped guide the program to one of the most successful periods in school history. Over a stellar five-year span his team posted a record of 82-27, with three consecutive MidWach B League Championships, two Central Mass Div. I Semifinal appearances, and one Central Mass Div. I Finals appearance. This year at St. Mark's, Coach Nicholas plans to improve on last season's record. It will be a young team. Last year's MVP—Nick Murray '18—is still recovering from surgery, so Jonathan Noel '18—like Murray an All-ISL Honorable Mention selection last winter—will be called upon to provide veteran leadership.
Girls' Varsity Basketball is ready to build on the work of last year. Coach Lauren Ames is excited for this team of young talent and veteran players that have dedicated themselves to improving in the off-season. 2016-17 MVP Ava Limonciello '20, a 2017 ISL Honorable Mention selection is ready to lead the team this season, as well as Sixth Former Hailey DuBose. Nina Tanaka '20 and Teresa Meyer '19 are prepared to lead from the back court and newcomers Brooke Farrell '21 and Mary Callahan '21 from the front court.
Head coach Shelly Killeen takes the reins of a Girls' Varsity Squash team that finished 2nd in N.E. and notched the School's best placement ever at the Nationals last year. With two-time team MVP and ISL All-Star Natalie Bartlett '18 back, along with All-ISL Cricket Dotson '18, last year's Most Improved Player Summer Hornbostel '18, and a wealth of young talent, the goal is to improve on this past winter's winning 8-7 regular season record and once again challenge at the New Englands.
Boys' Varsity Squash had a challenging season in 2016-17, only a year after winning the N.E. Class C championship in a stunning upset. Veterans of that success—Edwardo Perez '19 (All-ISL Honorable Mention last year) and Conor Browder '19 (Most Improved in 16-17)—are back, as is head coach Dan Shartin, entering his 29th year at the helm of the Lions' boys' squash program.
Coach Shartin's Boys' Varsity Squash team opens the SM winter campaign on Wednesday, November 29, along with Boys' and Girls' Varsity Hockey. Wrestling, Girls' Varsity Squash, and Girls' Varsity Basketball start their seasons on Saturday, December 2, while this year's Boys' Varsity Basketball team makes its debut on Wednesday, December 6.