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St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

ReMarker

The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

ReMarker

Back to back champions hope to repeat

The+Academics+team+faced+off+against+faculty+in+the+annual+Quiz+Bowl+assembly+on+Friday%2C+October+13%2C+beating+them+by+over+three+hundred+points.
Winston Lin
The Academics team faced off against faculty in the annual Quiz Bowl assembly on Friday, October 13, beating them by over three hundred points.

Never once has a group of seniors been so dominant.
An unprecedented team of seven seniors, each strong in their own individual aspects, are spearheading the school’s Academics team to the top.
In the ‘22 to ’23 season, seniors Vardhan Agnihotri ‘24, Ethan Bosita ‘24, Arnav Lahoti ‘24, Aditya Shivaswamy ‘24, and Sohum Sukhatankar ‘24 placed eighth at High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT), one of the three national competitions the Academics team competes in every year.
At the Small School National Championship Tournament (SSNCT), seniors comprising two teams placed third and 11th, and at National Scholastic Championship (NSC), fifth, the highest any team has placed in school history.
With an unparalleled performance, this year, the team hopes to take first at all three competitions.
While this is no easy task, former captain Shivaswamy is hopeful and almost expectant of winning all three national championships.
Shivaswamy came across Quiz Bowl in fifth grade and has competed ever since.
“I’ve been doing Quiz Bowl since I first came to St. Mark’s,” Shivaswamy said. “One of the first things I did was join the quiz bowl team, and at the start, I was really bad. I went into high school not really expecting to be on any team, but I made the A team. I suppose it’s just because they needed fine arts, which I just studied a lot of.”
Filling the fine arts gap the team needed, the A team, with then seniors Ned Tagtmeier ’21, Aayush Goodapaty ’21 at the helm, Miki Ghosh ‘22, and Shivaswamy, competed at SSNCT.
“At the Small School Nationals, we won for the first time in four years,” Shivaswamy said. “That was a huge surprise for us.”
With Tagtemeier and Goodapaty’s guidance, Shivaswamy was able to lead the team after they left.
“They would constantly answer the question within the first two lines,” Shivaswamy said. “Seeing that really helped me because it was thinking, ‘oh, that’s sort of the level that I need to be competing at.’ They told me, for example, these are the areas which you should focus on, or this is what you should do. They always went to the Wednesday practices. And I wanted to do the same thing.”
Just the following year, Ghosh, Shivaswamy, Bosita and then senior, Tomek Marczewski ‘22, won once again at SSNCT in 2022. However, after some of the best seniors the school had ever seen before graduated, the remaining team was unsure if they were able to recover.
“My sophomore year, many of the seniors had left and there was a huge hole to be filled,” Shivaswamy said. “But that summer there were a lot of people who really kind of like jumped up and we’re ready to like, grind it out in quizbowl. And now we have seven really good seniors.”
Director of Academic Information Systems and academics team coach Paul Mlakar has coached and prepared countless brilliant minds for several years, but this year is different. He’s not just confident of his team’s prowess; he’s excited.
“They work well together: really well,” Mlakar said. “I think the most fun aspect of this year’s team is watching them push each other.”
Since middle school, this core group of seniors have competed together, complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses in an array of subjects. Lahoti, used to usually seeing one person shine individually on a team, recognizes the unparalleled synergy he has with his teammates.
“It really gives the team aspect of Quiz Bowl a new meaning,” Lahoti said. “Even if you don’t do well yourself at a tournament, but your team does extremely well, you’ll still feel hyped up. There’s something to it that just can’t be replaced.”
The year just started but some members can’t help but think about having just one more year with this team. Mlakar has been leading the program for over 15 years, but he’s never gotten used to it.
“That’s always the hard part of coaching Quiz Bowl,” Mlakar said. “This is our last run together, and I’ve got to say goodbye to these guys after working with him for four years. And that can be tough.”
With a team full of upperclassmen, the level of experience and skill on the team is nearly at its maximum potential. But after these seven seniors graduate, there may be a void, with shoes too large for underclassmen to fill. Mlakar isn’t worried, though.
“We’ve got some really talented guys coming up,” Mlakar said. “I think when it’s their time to step up, they’ll really buckle down. They certainly have the ability; they just have to put in the time.”
The seniors know that the current freshmen and sophomores are going to have to put in a lot of effort to just catch up. They want to show the underclassmen the level they should strive to be at.
“A huge part of graduating is trying to leave a strong legacy,” Shivaswamy said. “We can help out the upcoming middle-schoolers and ninth-graders, and I hope to inspire them through our results.”
But right now, the team doesn’t want to worry about these potential problems; they’re all just distractions. With the ambitions of this team, they understand that they have to be focused, with eyes on the prize. They are projected to take first at nationals. They will take first at nationals.
“We put in a lot of work in the last four years,” Lahoti said. “And this year, it’s really going to show because we’re at the top of the bracket now. We don’t have any excuses to not be the best.”

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About the Contributors
Joseph Sun, Academics Editor
Doan Nguyen, Staff Writer
Winston Lin, Staff Writer, Staff Photographer