Out of the 41 years of SPC Wrestling history, St. Mark’s has lost only three SPC victories, once by default, another to a snow storm and now, to the SJS Wrestling team.
This year, the Mavericks overthrew St. Mark’s 38 year monopoly on SPC wrestling titles on the Lions’ home turf.
St. Mark’s School of Texas, located in Dallas, hosted this year’s SPC wrestling tournament, Feb. 16.
The Mavericks earned 163 points, placing them 10 points ahead of runner-up Kinkaid and beating out the previous champions, St. Mark’s, by 26.5 points.
“As far as scoring goes, every individual match scores team points. Through the rounds, a wrestler receives advancement points for his performance,” Captain Ben Stein said.
Different rankings receive varying minimum points. Wrestlers earn additional points through more dominating performances, including majors, technical falls and pins.
“The whole day was filled with ups and downs; we lost some early matches and had to battle back and have other guys step up,” Stein said. “At the end of the day, we had 5 SPC champions, quintupling Coach Paul’s career total. When we finally went out and took the trophy, it felt like a dream. It still hasn’t fully sunk in for me.”
“At the start of the season, Coach Paul sat the team down and told us that this year we were finally going to be able to put up a banner dedicated to wrestling in the middle of the gym,” junior Daniel Jellins said.
Wrestling preseason started simultaneously as fall tri-semester sports this year.
“Winning SPC was the completion of our goal,” Jellins said. “A lot of the people had to work so hard. We had horrible practices, like practicing jumping for 45 minutes straight. But a lot of work and focusing helped us achieve it.”
The success of SJS’s wrestling team at the Prep State Individuals tournament in Dallas, Feb. 2, served as a premonition for winning SPC.
Freshmen Cyrus Lee and Yo Akiyama, sophomore Raymond Yuan and captains Ben Stein, Eric Hobby and Nathan Avery ranked high enough to advance to compete in the National Prep Wrestling Championships held Feb. 22-23 at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn.
Mavericks ranked a handful of All-SPC in their respective weight classes. Freshmen Reed Brace (106) and Akiyama (120) and seniors Stein (138), Hobby (195) and Avery (220) ranked first place. Sophomores Yuan (126) and Orion Hicks (160) earned second place. Four other teammates made consolation finals and ranked 3rd or 4th place.
“It was really special to accomplish something that hadn’t been accomplished in 38 years,” Yuan said.
“I think this championship is a testament to all the hard work that this team has put in, and it is such a joy to finally see the fruits of our labor,” Stein said. “Going into the year, we knew that if we worked hard, we could be the first school ever to take the trophy away from St. Mark’s and to have finally accomplished that goal was something I’ll never forget.”