Here are the team award-winners for spring varsity sports. (Editor’s note: Awards were given by the coaches. Not all teams handed out season-ending awards.)
The Ramblers enjoyed a successful spring by capturing a Class 4A sectional championship — the first since 2008 and second in program history — and finishing 23-10-1.
MVP — Ben Wagner
The senior right-hander went 9-0 with a 2.85 ERA and led the Ramblers with 54 innings pitched. His season highlight was throwing a complete in Loyola’s 9-3 victory over Evanston in the sectional final.
Offensive Player of the Year — Jason Vrbancic
Playing one of the most demanding positions in the field, the senior catcher hit .333 with an OPS of 1.018. Vrbancic had five home runs and a team-best 37 RBIs. He was named to the all-Catholic Blue team. One of five National Merit Scholars from Loyola, Vrbancic is going to University of Chicago, where he will play baseball.
Defensive Player of the Year — Johnny Mejia
Quick feet and sure hands enabled the senior to be a plus fielder at third base, one of most difficult positions to play in high school. The Ramblers were able to compete in the Catholic Blue and win four playoff games in part because of Mejia’s glove, according to Loyola head coach Nick Bridich.
Dorothy and Don Engels Awards — Henry Haracz, Sean McKeough, Patrick Murray
This honor recognizes players who have given four years of service to the baseball program. All three were on the pitching staff for the Ramblers as seniors.
The Varsity 1 boat finished fourth at the Grand Final at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America’s national regatta on the Cooper River in Camden, New Jersey.
Maroon and Gold Award — Emily Molins
The senior earned this honor for showing leadership both on and off the water and for being dedicated to improving herself individually as well as helping everybody around her become better. Molins was a National Merit Scholar and will row at Stanford.
Coach’s Award — Jane Harris
The senior coxswain was a leader by example who displayed dedication and loyalty to her teammates for four years.
The Ramblers captured the state championship, the first in IHSA history, and finished 22-3.
Patrick L. Rattigan Award — Andrew Forsyth
This is given to the senior with the highest GPA in an effort to recognize the ideal of the student-athlete. Forsyth led the team with 63 points (47 goals, 16 assists) and was an all-state and all-Catholic League selection.
Victoria Chane Award — George Stanton
An honor handed out to the senior who shows true commitment to the team.
Brebeuf Award — Andrew Forsyth
Awarded to the player who best combines leadership, spirit and courage.
Father Norm Coaches Award — Quinn Callahan
Given to player who displays dedication, desire and hustle. The senior and all-conference player tied Forsyth for first on the team in goals (47).
Dr. Talbot Award — Nolan Chow (pictured above)
This award goes to the junior for outstanding support and leadership. An all-conference selection, Chow finished with 37 goals and 19 assists.
Most Improved Player — Quinn Cashion
It was hard to tell the senior changed positions this season. After moving from midfield to defense, the senior had 66 groundballs and 37 caused turnovers and earned all-state and all-conference honors.
Defensive Player of the Year — Luca Lazzaretto
An all-state and all-conference selection, the senior collected 48 groundballs and finished with 28 caused turnovers for a defense that averaged allowing 5.24 goals a game.
Offensive Player of the Year — Timothy Hackett
A junior, Hackett scored 30 goals and had 22 assists. He was named to both the all-state and all-conference teams.
MVP — Dom Urukalo
An all-state and all-conference honoree, the junior goalkeeper saved 58 percent of shots on goal and finished with 125 saves. Urukalo made 14 saves in the Ramblers’ 7-2 win over New Trier in the state final.
Four Year Varsity Award — Luca Lazzaretto
The Ramblers finished 19-2-4, won a Class 3A regional title and played in the sectional final. They captured the GCAC Red championship with a 5-0-1 record.
MVP — Maggie Avery
The senior keeper gave Loyola a chance to win every game. She posted 12 shutouts in 21 games and allowed only 14 goals for an average of 0.67 per game. Avery earned all-state and all-GCAC Red honors. A four-year starter, she leaves as the program’s leader in keeper games played (93) and keeper starts (90). Avery is second on the all-time list in career wins (66) and shutouts (51).
Offensive Player of the Year — Maggie Brett
Junior forward was directly involved in 44.3 percent of the team’s scoring, finishing with 19 goals and 12 assists. Brett scored in 15 of the 25 games and many came against top-notch competition, such as her penalty kick in the 2-0 win over St. Francis that secured the GCAC Red championship. She was an all-state and all-conference selection.
Defensive Player of the Year — Riley Burns
After missing all of last season with an injury, the senior was a big reason why the Ramblers surrendered only 16 goals in 25 games. She was named to the all-sectional team at Glenbrook South as well as the all-GCAC Red team.
Most Improved Player — Kiersten Kerrane
An injury sidelined her for the last two seasons, but the senior defender was second on the team in minutes played this year behind senior keeper Maggie Avery. Kerrane’s strengths were winning 50-50 balls and corner kicks.
Coaches Awards — Anna Holton, Stephanie Ramsay, Cate Shellenback
The three seniors all were instrumental in the team’s success this season. Ramsay, a forward, had 14 goals and six assists, resulting in all-state and all-GCAC Red selections. Shellenback, an all-conference midfielder, scored eight goals to go with six assists. She had the lone goal in Loyola’s 2-1 loss to New Trier in the sectional final. A midfielder, Holton’s hard work earned her more minutes as the season went on. Ramsay graduates as the program leader in games played (103) and second in points (158). Shellenback is No. 2 on the list in career games (102).
The Ramblers finished 20-9 and advanced to the Class 4A regional final.
Defensive Player of the Year — Riley Bendery
A corner outfielder, the sophomore made plays “that people will remember and will talk about for years to come,” Loyola head coach Michelle Farrell-Fink said. Bendery finished the season without making an error.
Offensive Player of the Year — Marisa Michi
The sophomore shortstop led the team with a .511 batting average and an OPS of 1.390 to go with five home runs and 40 RBIs.
Pitcher of the Year — Alexis Rocha
As the staff ace, the senior right-hander finished 17-5 with a 3.98 ERA and struck out 107 in 100 1/3 innings.
Rookie of the Year — KK Raymond
In her freshman year, she hit .491, scored 39 runs and led the team with 10 stolen bases. She also played multiple positions, including center field.
Coaches Award — Hope Balourdos
A freshman, the catcher caught bullpen sessions and warmed up pitchers in between innings. Balourdos’ one hit this season was a pinch-hit grand slam. “She helped the team in so many ways,” Farrell-Fink said.
The Ramblers won the Catholic League title and qualified one singles player and two doubles team to the Class 2A state tournament.
MVP — Alan Arocho
A senior, he captured the No. 1 singles championship at the conference tournament before finishing first in singles at the Class 2A Niles North Sectional. Arocho won his first three matches at the state tournament, ending his run in the consolation quarterfinals.
Most Improved — Jonah Wheeland
The senior finished first at No. 3 singles at the league tournament.
Captains Awards — Sam Freda, Brendan Schafer, Thomas Sullivan
BOYS TRACK AND FIELD
The Ramblers were the co-champions of the Catholic League and qualified one individual to the Class 3A state meet.
MVP — Declan Ritzenthaler
The senior took third place in pole vault at the Class 3A state meet. It was the best finish in the event in program history. Ritzenthaler finished first in pole vault at the Catholic League meet. He set the program record April 24 with a mark of 15 feet, 6 inches.
Outstanding Performers Award — Diego Collado, Jack McCall, Luke Phillips
The seniors shined at the conference meet. Collado won the shot put, while Phillips ran on the 4×400-meter relay that finished first. Phillips placed second in the 800 and fourth in the 400. McCall was fifth in the 100, fifth in the long jump and sixth in the 200.
Keller Coaches Award — Marc Daly, Fraol Jimjimo, Connor Mocny
GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD
Three individuals and two relay teams qualified for the Class 3A state meet. The Ramblers won the GCAC meet by finishing first in events.
MVP — Addison Bendery
The junior qualified for the state meet in the 100 meters, 200 meters and on the 4×200-meter relay, which finished first at the Niles West Sectional. Bendery won conference championships in the 100, 200 and 4×200.
Outstanding Performers Award — Brooke Moran, Emily Plodzeen
Moran, a senior, was a member of the 4×200 relay team that qualified for the state meet. She also finished second in the 400 at the GCAC meet. Plodzeen, a senior, won a league title in the 3,200 and took second in the 1,600 at the conference meet.
Coaches Award — Ngozi Okoli, Jackie Topping
According to Loyola head coach ChrisJon Simon, Topping was “one of Loyola’s best all-around track athletes.” The Middlebury-bound senior was a three-time Class 3A state qualifier on the track and holds the program record in long jump (17 feet, 5 1/2 inches). A hurdler and jumper, Okoli was “everything you want an student-athlete to be,” Simon said. The senior will attend Harvard.
Most Improved — Louisa Edwards
The senior was part of the 4×400 relay team that captured a conference championship. One of three Loyola student-athletes who received National Merit Scholarships, Edwards is going to University of Virginia.
The Ramblers finished 27-13 and won a regional title. They were within one victory of qualifying for the state tournament.
MVP — Drake Johnson
An all-state and all-Catholic League selection, the senior right-side hitter led the team in kills (294) and blocks (64). He was named to the all-tournament team at Vernon Hills and Wheaton Warrenville South.
Coaches Award — Matt Wiertel
The senior showed leadership by switching positions this season. A former middle, Wiertel proved to be a capable outside hitter by totaling 99 kills and 31 blocks. He led the team with 38 aces.
Robert Erlenbaugh Award — Nick Howard
This honor is handed out to the player who exhibits outstanding effort. An all-Catholic League pick, the senior finished with a team-best kill percentage of .357 and was third on the Ramblers in blocks with 41.
BOYS WATER POLO
The Ramblers had their best season since winning the state title in 2014, finishing 26-7 and capturing the MCAC championship for the first time since 2014.
MVP — John Merucci
A well-respected player throughout the state, the senior was a major contributor to a team that came within one win of qualifying for the state tournament. Merucci finished with a team-best 80 goals to go with 51 assists. He was an all-state and all-MCAC selection. His 179 career goals are second to Cameron Shewchuck, the state’s player of the year in 2014, in Dan Hengelmann’s 13 seasons at Loyola.
Rambler of the Year — Tony Spallone
The best defender on the Ramblers, the senior was tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best offensive player. Spallone managed to be an offensive threat, too. His contributions didn’t go unnoticed as he was named the MCAC’s Lawless Award winner and picked to the all-state team.
Defensive Player of the Year — Jake Carr
The sophomore goalie’s skills allowed the Loyola coaches to get creative with defensive formations. Carr played his best games against the best teams. He limited Missouri state champion St. Louis University to its fewest goals of the season in Loyola’s 4-3 win. Carr earned all-sectional honors at Glenbrook South as well as being named to the all-conference team.
Most Improved — Kenny Sajnaj
In his first varsity season, the junior scored 75 goals and his 61 assists are the most in Hengelmann’s tenure.
Coaches Award — Wil Edwards
The senior was a model of consistency, playing in all 33 games this season and all 32 last year. Edwards scored a difference-making goal in the third quarter of Loyola’s 11-8 win over Fenwick in the title game of the conference tournament.
GIRLS WATER POLO
The Ramblers tied for the program’s best finish by taking fourth at the state tournament. They ended up 20-14.
MVP — Lauren Voss
The senior led the team in goals, assists and kickouts drawn. She scored 14 goals in three games at the tournament. Voss was selected to the all-state first team and earned all-MCAC honors.
Most Improved Player — Aidan Koconis-O’Malley
In her first season as a varsity starter, the junior was third on the team in scoring and was named to the all-state honorable mention team.
Coach’s Award — Mary Kate Lopez
Although volleyball is her primary sport, the junior goalie and first-year starter was a big reason why the Ramblers were so successful. Lopez was named to the all-conference second team.
Rambler of the Year — Sarah Pinkerton
One of the team captains, the senior led in and out of the water. According to Loyola head coach Kim Przekota, Pinkerton “truly cares about all of her teammates and is always looking for ways to build team spirit and have fun.” An honorable mention all-conference selection, she led the team in steals.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola