Girls Cross Country and Girls Volleyball Dominate State Tournaments
Three days, two sports, two state championships. Not a bad run for the Spartans.
The Saint Mark’s girls cross country team AND the girls volleyball team each earned top honors with state championship wins just a few days apart.
The girls cross country team went undefeated this season, winning five invitationals including the Great American XC Festival, the Joe O’Neill Invitational, the Catholic Conference Championship, the New Castle County Championship and, of course, the DIAA State Championship.
Head Cross Country Coach Mike DiGennaro credits good old-fashioned grit and determination for the championship win on November 13 at Brandywine Creek State Park. "This team win is the culmination of four years of hard work and commitment. I am so proud of the entire team for their energy and effort throughout the season. They showed up at the state meet and delivered on the biggest stage," he said.
"The girls were battle tested this season,” he continued. “We won five major invitationals, and those early season races gave the girls the confidence that they could race well later in the year."
Identical twins Tiffany and Stephanie Herrera, consistent superstars on the cross country team, shined at the state tournament, as they have all season long. Tiffany earned first-team all-state honors for the fourth straight season after her runner-up finish at States. She will graduate as one of only two girls in Saint Mark’s history to lead the team in every single race over four seasons, a feat only accomplished by Analise Kaminski (class of 2016). Stephanie's 5th place finish at States earned her first-team all-state honors for the second year in a row.
The volleyball team is also celebrating, earning their second straight state championship with a 3-0 sweep at the Bob Carpenter Center on Monday, November 15.
The win marks the Spartans’ 12th state volleyball championship and the 105th overall for Saint Mark’s. The team has been undefeated for the past two seasons, going 15-0 last season and 18-0 this season for an amazing 33 wins in a row. If that wasn’t enough, 16 of their 18 matches this year were three-set sweeps.
“I’m so very proud of this team and so happy for them,” said Head Girls Volleyball Coach Nancy Griskowitz. “Back-to-back undefeated state championship seasons! Such an incredible accomplishment for a phenomenal team!”
“As was seen in the championship match, every player has the ability to contribute at any moment on the court and every player on this team was an integral part of this championship season,” she continued.
Six of those players earned all-state honors. Brooke Dow, Mya Lewis and Julia Yurkovich were named first-team all-state while Nicole Dimiris, Taylor Holly, and Katie Sonchen achieved second-team all-state.
President Tom Fertal has high praise for both teams. “Our entire community celebrates for and with the girls volleyball and cross country teams. The young ladies of these teams individually and collectively exemplify the very best of what it means to be a student athlete at Saint Mark’s. Their dedication, passion and commitment to excellence has resulted in these well-deserved championships, and we are extraordinarily proud of them,” he said.