BOYS CROSS COUNTRY: The Ramblers swept team and individual honors Saturday at the Lakefront Invitational in Chicago. Sophomore Spencer Dzyacky finished first in 16 minutes, 24.78 seconds, and Loyola totaled 30 points to top the 22-team field.

The Ramblers ran in a tight pack, which is what Loyola head coach Dan Seeberg said he wanted to see from his team. All five scorers were within 25 seconds of one another.

Senior Eli Miller finished fourth (16:33.80), junior Alex Owens placed seventh (16:43.41), senior Jack Lynch was eighth (16:47.37) and freshman Spencer Werner took 10th (16:50.52).

“We had a strong meet,” Seeberg said. “We knew our guys could run toward the front together, and they did. It was a perfect meet for us at this time of the year.”

Senior Zach Swanson finished 14th (17:00.39) and senior Ian Gallo placed 15th (17:01.57) to round out the team’s top seven.

In only his second varsity race, Werner posted a top 10. He made his debut Sept. 22 at Palatine’s invitational, one of the top meets in the state, and finished 70th. He was Loyola’s second runner behind Dzyacky, who took 38th.

“We took it slowly with him at first, allowing him to get used to the distance and nerves of running against varsity competition,” Seeberg said. “He’s still learning.”

The victory was the second this season for the Ramblers, who finished first at DePaul Prep’s invitational Sept. 8. It was the first of two wins for Dzyacky. He’s been the low Loyola runner at every competition this year.

“I love the way our team has been developing and working together this year,” Seeberg said. “We were very happy with how it went Saturday.”

The Ramblers run a dual meet against Prospect on Thursday before competing at the Catholic League meet Oct. 13 at Lewis University in Romeoville. Loyola is expected to contend with Marmion and St. Ignatius for the conference championship.

NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARS: Seniors Brendan Hering, Ryan Hering and Ned Seaman are proof it’s possible to succeed in sports and school. After helping the Loyola boys lacrosse team win the state championship last season, all three were named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

Loyola seniors Christopher Hara, Jack Riley, Maeve Silk and Kaitlin Zelinski also earned the prestigious academic distinction, and all seven were recognized at halftime of Saturday’s varsity football game.

The field will be narrowed down to the finalists before the winners are announced next year.