Varsity teams look towards St. Mark’s games


Finn Lynch

Varsity Basketball prepares

Rivalries always loom large on the schedule. The stakes are high. Passions run deep. Tensions rest at the razor’s edge. As Jimmy Connors once said about his battles with John McEnroe, “There are no hugs and kisses.”

With the earliest competition dating back to 1886, Groton vs. St. Mark’s is a storied rivalry in the truest sense of the term. St. Mark’s Day often features some of the closest, most memorable, and most intense games of every season. This winter, it appears that the competitions will be as tight as ever. Especially for seniors, St. Mark’s Day brings out great emotion as it is the culmination of years of hard work, tough losses, and triumphant victories.

    Boys’ Varsity Hockey not only has the rivalry at stake, but also a chance for revenge, and the possibility of the playoffs. Earlier in the season, boys’ puck suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to the Lions, and they have not forgotten about it. With a record of 10-12-2, Groton is just behind St. Mark’s (11-14-1) in the New England Hockey Standings which determine who will advance to the playoffs, with the Lions currently in tenth place and Groton in eleventh place.

For the seniors on the team (Kei Nawa, Tristan Smith, Matt Mullen, Tim Bukowski, and Will Norton), this game will be one of the most meaningful of their careers. “I’m craving to play this game,” said Co-captain Kei Nawa ’17, “We haven’t beaten them in the five years that I’ve played against them. That’s nine times they’ve beaten us. Losing to them in overtime earlier this year was tough, and we’re ready for revenge. Also, this is potentially the last competitive hockey game for a lot of the seniors, but we really hope that that will not be the case because we are looking to win and enter the playoffs in March.” With all that is at stake and a fiery competitive history between these two teams, this matchup has all the necessary ingredients for an epic battle.

    Similarly, Boys’ Varsity Basketball is hungry for some long due revenge. St. Mark’s was formerly a basketball powerhouse,  winning ISL titles in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. However, this season these once mighty lions have turned from predators into prey. They have a record of 2-17 and in a recent game got trounced by Nobles (83-30). Seniors John Cecil, Aram Moosavi, Eddie Uong, and Matt O’Donnell hope to defeat St. Mark’s for the first time in their Groton careers. Fresh off an ISL win against Middlesex, the Zebras are in good spirits and ready for the challenge of a vulnerable St. Mark’s team. With a record of (7-13), Groton is favored in this matchup. Co-captain Jon Cecil ‘17 said, “I’m very excited to play St. Mark’s for my final basketball game at Groton. It should be a very close and intense game, and I can’t wait to show the Lions who is boss. I think we have a very good chance of winning.” Look out for John to throw down some monster slams and teammate Aram Moossavi to be dropping dimes and swishing threes all over the court.

Last year, Girls’ Varsity Basketball beat St. Mark’s 47-46 with some brilliant late-game heroics from Alyna Baharozian ‘18. Her thrilling buzzer-beater was worthy of Number Seven on ESPN Sports Center’s Top 10. It sets the stage for an enticing sequel as Lions look for payback. With the benefit of home-field (or rather, court) advantage, the Zebras are the clear-cut favorites. They have a deep bench, and returned all 5 starters this season. St. Mark’s, for its part, is in a rebuilding year with tough losses to Dana Hall (31-41) and BB&N (32-66). Groton is confident, but also expecting strong competition from a Lions squad that is hungry to create a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy season.

Girls’ Varsity Hockey is a marquee piece of the winter match ups with St. Mark’s. Coach Dumont has been the head coach at Groton for six years. A St. Mark’s alumna herself, Dumont is still looking for her first win against her alma mater. She reminisced about an overtime game two years ago that included countless heroics as Groton blocked shot after shot to hang on for the tie. It was, as she says, “a fast-paced, back and forth, intense game.”

Co-captains Piper Higgins ’17 and Cha Cha McLean ’17 lead the Groton squad. They rely heavily on strong play from Min Shin ‘18 at goaltender. Coach Dumont noted the team has “a solid cohort of kids who could play at the college level.” While their 9-11-4 record may suggest a mixed season, there have been moments of greatness. The Worcester Academy game (4-3) stands out. Of this game, Emma Beard ’20 said, “We were losing at the beginning, but we rallied and played strongly as a team to come back and win at the end.” St. Mark’s also has a solid team with a win against Middlesex and a solid performance (1-3) against St. Paul’s (Groton lost 7-0). Coach Dumont looks forward to the match up, noting, “It’s always a highly anticipated game for the kids and coaches–it’s such a fun experience for me every year, as an alum of St. Mark’s to be standing on the other side of the rivalry.”

Due to the New England Championship tournament being held on rivalry weekend, Boys’ Varsity Squash and Girls’ Varsity Squash competed in their St. Mark’s Matches on Saturday, February 18. Both teams defeated the Lions handily; the boys’ match ended in a score of 7-0 and the girls’ a score of 5-2. On the boys’ side, highlights included number one seed Terrence Wang’s decisive 11-0 win in his first game. Terrence went on to win his last home match as a Zebra 3-0. Number ten seed Gus Vrattos ‘19 also bageled his opponent in his first game. The Girls’ match was highlighted by Caroline Wilcox ‘20 winning her ninth match of the year, finishing her impressive first season with a personal record of 9-3. Co-captain Elle Santry ‘17 played a close match, ultimately winning in four games. Best of luck to both teams in the New England Championships.