GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD: With three events remaining at the GCAC meet Saturday in Wilmette, Loyola head coach ChrisJon Simon said his team faced an “insurmountable” point differential. Thanks to the efforts of juniors Emily Plodzeen and Brooke Moran and sophomores Raegan Robertson and Anne Santangelo, the Ramblers were able to catch up and challenge for the conference championship in the final event of the meet. Plodzeen and Robertson placed 3-4 in the 1,600 meters, while Santangelo took second and Moran finished fourth in the 200. Even though Loyola ultimately finished second by less than two points, Simon said he was proud of the way his team rallied at the end. “They got us back in it,” Simon said of Plodzeen, Moran, Robertson and Santangelo. “They gave us a chance to win. That was exciting.” St. Ignatius captured the eight-team conference championship with 121 points, narrowly edging Loyola, which totaled 119.33. “It came down to the last race, and we came up short,” Simon said. The Ramblers host a Class 3A sectional Thursday. Senior and Alabama-bound Margot Dooley is the team’s best bet at advancing to the state meet. Simon said she will run the 800 and in the 4×400 relay. Dooley finished first in the 800 (2:20.56) at the league meet. According to Simon, junior Lainey McKinley, another mid-distance runner, is a candidate to qualify for the state meet. Simon also said he likes the potential of the 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams. While he isn’t sure of the 4×200 lineup, Simon said the 4×400 will consist of junior Jackie Topping, sophomore Addison Bendery, Dooley and McKinley.

BOYS WATER POLO: Although he’s in his first season of water polo, junior Tommy Barr played a big role in Loyola’s near upset of Fenwick, the No. 5-ranked team by illpolo.com, in Saturday’s MCAC final, which the Ramblers lost 11-8. Loyola head coach Dan Hengelmann said Barr was able to draw fouls from the 2-meter position to provide the Ramblers with valuable power-play opportunities, especially in the second half. “He looked like a veteran out there, coming up with big plays in crunch time,” Hengelmann said. “He’s become a very important part of our offense in a very short amount of time.” Barr wasn’t the only player who had a good weekend, according to Hengelmann. Junior Tony Spallone scored six goals in Loyola’s 14-4 win over St. Rita in the first round. But Spallone also stood out on defense in the team’s 8-6 overtime victory over St. Ignatius in the semifinals and in the loss to Fenwick, Hengelmann said. “He was asked to take on the other teams’ best players and quarterback our defense,” Hengelmann said. “He’s been such a big part of our success this year.” Freshman goalie Jake Carr continued to show why Hengelmann trusted him with the starting position at the start of the season. “He’s been great all year, but he really stepped up big this weekend,” Hengelmann said. “His maturity and poise has been an example for the entire team.” Loyola landed three players on the all-MCAC team. Junior John Merucci earned first-team honors, while senior Zach Holecek and Spallone were selected to the second team. The Ramblers start the state playoffs Thursday at the Glenbrook North Sectional.

BASEBALL: Junior right-hander Henry Haracz got himself out of a major jam in the top of the first inning in Monday’s 4-1 win over St. Rita in Glenview, and Loyola head coach Nick Bridich said he wasn’t surprised at all. “He wasn’t perfect, by any means, but he was outstanding,” Bridich said. “He’s a pitcher who knows who he is and doesn’t try and do too much. The situation he was in in the first inning didn’t affect the way he pitched.” In their first at-bat Monday, the Mustangs had the bases loaded with no outs. Haracz struck out the clean-up hitter for the first out. He walked in a run on a 3-2 count, but he ended the inning with consecutive strikeouts. “He stayed composed out there,” Bridich said. “To be able to get out of that inning down 1-0 and then shut down a good offense is a credit to him. He is a leader by example.” Loyola (18-10, 9-8) went on to score three in the second and one in the fourth to earn the Catholic Blue win over the Mustangs, who are the No. 6-ranked team by the Prep Baseball Report. Haracz, who pitched his second seven-inning complete game, leads the team in innings (37) and strikeouts (28) and is tied for first in wins (3) with junior left-hander PJ McKermitt.

BOYS LACROSSE: The Ramblers closed out their out-of-state schedule last weekend with one win and one loss at the Midwest Lacrosse Challenge in Crown Pointe, Indiana. They beat Detroit Country Day 8-2 on Friday and lost to Brother Rice (Mich.) 14-4 on Saturday in the semifinals. Culver Military Academy (Ind.) beat Brother Rice 17-1 on Sunday to finish first. For Loyola, sophomore Timothy Hackett (pictured above) — the team’s leading scorer — had two goals in the opener. Senior Quinn Roddy and freshman Kaden Keller also had two goals at the tournament. Senior Billy Jardeleza won 10 faceoffs against Detroit Country Day. He scored Loyola’s first goal against Brother Rice to give the Ramblers a 1-0 lead, but the Warriors went on a 5-0 run to take the lead for good. Loyola (10-7) plays at Grayslake North on Wednesday and at St. Viator on Friday. The Catholic League champion Ramblers, who are 9-0 versus in-state opponents, wrap up the regular season May 16 at home against Glenbrook North.

Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola