GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD: There were so many highlights Saturday at the GCAC meet in Wilmette that Loyola head coach ChrisJon Simon had a hard time picking out one.

The Ramblers finished first in seven of the 18 events to capture the conference championship with 192.5 points. St. Ignatius took second with 171 points.

“I don’t remember us ever having that many champs,” Simon said. “The warm weather brought out our best performances.”

On a day that the temperature reached into the 80s, junior Addison Bendery won both the 100 meters (12.44 seconds) and 200 meters (25.94). Senior Emily Plodzeen placed first in the 3,200 (12:08.06). Senior Angela Lynch won shot put (31 feet, 10 3/4 inches), and freshman Grace Powers took the league title in discus (111-3).

The 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams also earned conference championships.

The 4×200 team of juniors Anne Santangelo, Arianna Awdisho, Drea Barone and Bendery set a meet record with its time of 1:44.95. Senior Louisa Edwards joined freshmen Evan Holtan, Nicole Cleland and Betsy Delaney to clock a 4:12.92 on the 4×400 relay.

“The 4×200 is one of the best relays we’ve had in a long time,” Simon said. “Thing is, we have at least six kids who can run on it. It’s a talented group. We will have some tough decisions to make.

“It’s always cool to win the 4×400, especially when you win the meet. I’m glad we got to do that.”

Although she didn’t win, senior Brooke Moran had one of more memorable moments at the meet when she ran a program-record 59.62 to take second in the 400.

“She’s really talented, and one of our best sprinters,” Simon said. “She met the challenge [Saturday] and really competed. It was nice to see.”

Loyola starts the Class 3A state series Thursday at the Niles West Sectional.

BASEBALL: Senior Trey Torain hit a grand slam in the top of the seventh inning Saturday to rally the Ramblers to a 14-8 win over St. Rita in Chicago.

Down 8-7 after six, Loyola loaded the bases with no outs and scored the tying run when junior Jack Moran (pictured above) was hit by pitch. Torain followed with the go-ahead grand slam. It was his third home run in three games.

The Ramblers scored seven runs in the second to take a 7-0, but the Mustangs tied the game in the fifth and went ahead 8-7 in the sixth.

After Loyola put up seven in its half of the seventh, junior Jake Novak pitched a 1-2-3 inning to earn the win. He was helped out by Jonathan Mejia’s unassisted double play.

Torain finished 2-for-5 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Senior Jason Vrbancic went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs. Moran went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Saturday was Loyola’s first error-free game of the season.

The Ramblers (13-7-1, 5-6 Catholic Blue) close out the conference schedule next week. They host St. Rita on Monday and Providence Catholic on Tuesday before traveling to play the Celtics on Thursday. On Wednesday, Loyola plays New Trier at home.

GIRLS WATER POLO: Senior Lauren Voss scored six goals Saturday to lead Loyola to a 12-5 win over St. Ignatius and a third-place finish at the MCAC tournament at Fenwick.

The Ramblers beat Resurrection 20-2 in the opener before losing to Fenwick 9-7 in the semifinals. Junior Aidan Koconis-O’Malley scored a team-best 10 goals at the tournament. Voss had eight.

Loyola opens the state series Thursday. The Ramblers are the No. 1 seed at the Glenbrook South Sectional.

Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola