Mark Dowdle returning to Chicago area: St. Thomas junior Mark Dowdle is busier than most student-athletes as the 2015 Loyola graduate plays both football and lacrosse for the Tommies.

“I also play intramural basketball,” he added, with a laugh.

Dowdle and St. Thomas club lacrosse team close out the regular season this weekend with two games at the South Barrington Park District. The Tommies (8-1) play Dayton on Saturday and Grand Valley State on Sunday.

In the fall, the 6-foot-3 Dowdle plays cornerback for the Tommies, one of the country’s best Division III programs. St. Thomas went 11-2 last season and advanced to the national quarterfinals for the second year in a row. As a freshman, Dowdle helped the Tommies finish 14-1 and take second. He’s 37-4 in his three seasons.

Even though it’s lacrosse season, Dowdle still is participating in spring football workouts and practices. It’s not unusual for him to have football and lacrosse practice on the same day.

“I love doing both sports,” he said. “It’s taxing, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It keeps me competitive. Might as well do it while I’m young and energized.”

Dowdle was part of one of the best defenses in all of college football last season. According to FootballScoop, the Tommies were first in nearly every statistical category among every level, including total yards allowed (157.6) and yards per play (2.79).

“Our No. 1 goal is to win a national title,” he said. “We want to leave our legacy. But it won’t be for us. We play for the guys who came before us. We stand on their shoulders. It was the same way at Loyola.”

At Loyola, Dowdle played football, basketball and lacrosse. The lacrosse team won a state title when he was a sophomore on varsity, and he started at cornerback for the football team that placed second in Class 8A his junior season.

A Northbrook native, Dowdle graduated from St. Norbert.

Photo credit: Mike Ekern/University of St. Thomas