After Varsity Football, currently ranked 8th
in the Houston area 3A-Private poll, earned a berth into the SPC Championship game with a thrilling semi-final victory over Cistercian Prep on Skip Lee Field last Saturday, the rest of the Maverick Fall Varsity teams, all in SPC Division 1, look to follow their lead starting Friday in Fort Worth.
In the first Maverick match of the weekend, Girls’ Volleyball plays Greenhill, the top team from the North Zone. Destined for Division 2, the Mavericks got help from John Cooper in the last week of the regular season. Down 2-0, Cooper clawed back and defeated Kinkaid 3-2, giving St. John’s the last spot in the Division 1 bracket.
“We were freaking out on Friday watching the Kinkaid-Cooper game,” said Anna Cain ’13. “We feel lucky to be there and we’re working hard this week.”
“Making D1 at the end is giving us extra motivation,” said captain Kate Bres ’13. “We went through thinking we were in D2 and now we have a second chance.”
“I haven’t felt it this strong for the entire season,” said captain Jane Labanowski ’13.
Boys’ Volleyball goes into the tournament as the South Zone #1 seed and will take on Fort Worth Country Day in their opener. On a three-game winning streak, the guys are feeling good about their chances.
“We have high expectations after winning SPC South Zone,” said freshman Paul Labanowski ’16. “We’ll have to have a couple of big games to pull it off. It’s my first SPC. I've heard a lot about it and am looking forward to the fun.”
“I like how close we are as a team,” said captain Jason Shyu ’13. “We’ve never won SPC.”
Boys’ Cross Country is coming off a solid second place finish at SPC South Zone last weekend, landing behind St. Andrew’s, the favorite to win this weekend as well.
“With focus and effort, we have a strong chance to contend at SPC,” said captain Blake Actkinson ’13.
Two years ago the Mavericks finished 11th, and last year they got 5th place. What will it take to fend off front-runners St. Andrew’s and St. Mark’s this weekend?
“It might not be obvious, but cross country is a team sport. If we can stay in a pack and work together as a team and not let each other down, rather than run our own individual races, we have a chance,” said one of the Mavericks’ top runners, Akshay Jaggi ’15.
The strategy for the team is to run in packs similar to pace lines in cycling races. St. John’s top three runners (Jaggi, Joe Faraguna ’16, Xavier Gonzalez ’14) make up the first group, and each takes a turn leading the pace in the three mile race. Jaghi takes the first mile followed by Faraguna in the second and Gonzalez in the last mile, all trying to stay at a 5:15 pace.
“We’re responsible for making sure the rest of the pack stays at race pace,” said Akshay.
Each team in the field enters 10 runners. The top 5 from every team score. If there is a tie between teams, the 6th place finisher will be the tie-breaker.
“The rest of the team is critical to giving us the lowest possible score we can get,” said Assistant Coach Dan Alig. “You don’t have to have the top runners, but if you have a group of guys like we have that are close together then we can score by beating out the other teams’ 4-6 runners. We have run as a team all year.”
Girls’ Cross Country took first place in the SPC South Zone meet last weekend in Austin and in the Trinity Valley race a week earlier.
“We’ve been looking strong, and it will come down to performing at the highest level,” said captain Martha Daniel ’13. “We like the course. We won on it a few weeks ago.”
Like the boys competition, the girls will need to score at the number four and five spots to have a chance. Hockaday, Kinkaid, EHS, and ESD have excellent top runners. Six of St. John’s 10 runners are freshmen, led by Margaret Trautner ’16, Francie Williams ’16, and Olivia Havel ’16.
“The best thing about our team is our depth,” said Head Coach Rachel Fabre. “There’s not much difference in my number 4-10 if we have a good day!”
Field Hockey, the 2012 South Zone Champs and 2011 SPC Champs, knows what it takes to win, and looks forward to the challenge of a repeat championship performance. The Mavericks, 17-3 on the season, are on a six game winning streak. They lost to FWCD, a team they could meet in the second round, 1-0 in late September.
“When we work together things will come in place for us,” said Paige Albert ’14.
“You have to trust your teammates and know that they will be there if you miss and that you are working for them and not yourself,” said Jessica Nyquist ’15.
“Focusing on what we can do and not everything else is the key,” said Assistant Coach Terrie Warren.
having defeated Cistercian last Saturday in the Small School semi-finals held at Skip Lee Field, is already in the SPC Championship game. The Mavericks
are lined up against undefeated All Saints’ on Saturday at Pennington Field in Bedford, Texas.
The Saints (10-0) have cruised through the SPC North due in part to the roster of players that have either committed or signed to UCLA, Baylor, TCU, University of Texas, and UT San Antonio.
“Hopefully our offense can control the time of possession, and we can limit big plays on defense,” said defensive coach George Turley. “We also need to do a good job at the line of scrimmage.”
“We’re going to rally to the ball like we did against Kinkaid and keep playing solid D and make tackles,” said defensive back Jonathan Newar ’13.
“You don’t really stop them, you just try and slow them down,” said 31 year veteran football coach Stobie Whitmore ’68.
No matter who they are—freshmen, first time SPC goers, seniors, captains—the Mavericks know what they need to do: trust their teammates, focus on what they do best and dig deep. Whether they’re lucky to be in the game or they bring home the hardware, it’s a great opportunity to show the league that Mavericks really are dynamite.
Sam Chambers- Athletic News