Spending most of last year on defense for the men’s soccer team, you’d expect junior Tom Marks to fill a similar role this season. Instead, Marks, who moved up to midfield, is the leading scorer for the Red with two goals and an assist so far this year.
You might also guess that as a veteran player, Marks’ would have earned a fitting nickname on the team. Yet, his teammate and twin brother, Dan Marks, notes that Tom answered to “Twinkletoes” and “Tommy Twittlemouth” growing up.
“He’s going to kill me for saying that,” Dan Marks said.
While Marks has outgrown the “Twinkletoes” moniker, his feet continue to shine on the field for the Red. Playing on the right flank, Marks’ speed and skill with the ball make him a crucial link between Cornell’s defense and offense.
“The great thing about playing with Tom is his athletic ability. The guy has tremendous speed,” said freshman forward, David Browning. “More so than any other winger on our team, he can get crosses in, and he can really work the line well.”
Cornell’s strikers may love him, but opposing defenders have enough trouble just keeping up with him. In his most recent goal against Wofford last Friday, Marks scooped up a ball 40 yards out and easily split two Terrier defenders with a burst of speed.
“We knew from day one that he had a very high work rate,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “He’s got the engine for a couple of players, he can just run and run and run.”
For all his early success this year, Marks is quick to shift the spotlight from himself.
“I think I’ve just been in the right place at the right time,” said Marks. “[The two goals are] a testament to the whole team I would say.”
Marks has benefited from his move to the midfield this season, feeling more at home contributing offensively.
“My whole life I’ve played midfield or forward,” Marks said. “I didn’t mind defense, but definitely getting more involved in the offense is what I like to do.”
Although Marks’ athletic ability has given him a leg up on opposing players, it is the development in other areas of his game that has made him so dangerous this year.
“Tom has really improved tactically, knowing when to play and when to pass and when to take guys on,” Scales said.
Having his twin brother on the team has also helped. Although the two have different styles on the field, they share a competitive instinct that pushes each other in practice and makes the two a formidable duo during matches.
“They’re as competitive as any two players I’ve ever seen,” said Scales. “Talk about a competitive sibling rivalry – I mean they love each other, but they will kick the living bejesus out of each other in practice, and it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever seen.”
The Marks brothers also share a common love of fine cinema, each noting Dumb and Dumber as one of their favorite movies.
“I think Tom would have to be Jim Carrey,” Dan Marks said. “He’s a little bit skinnier, I’m a little bit more of a bigger build, and he used to have the same haircut as Lloyd Christmas from the movie.”
While Dan Marks may have an edge on embarrassing details, Tom Marks thinks he may have his brother covered one-on-one.
“He’s a good defender and he’s got some good moves,” Marks said. “But I don’t know [if he can match my speed]. I think I’d run right by him.”
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer