Here are the team award-winners for winter sports. (Editor’s note: Awards were given by the coaches.)
The Ramblers went 22-13 and won a Class 4A regional title, losing in the sectional final to eventual state runner-up Evanston. The team captured the championship at the Gulfcoast Holiday Hoopfest in Naples, Florida.
Gene Sullivan MVP — Connor Barrett
A senior and captain, Barrett (pictured above) was a Catholic Blue selection and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association all-state special mention despite missing nine games with an injury. He averaged 11.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and had 26 steals in 26 games. The team’s best shooter, Barrett made 37.9 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Buzzy O’Connor Most Improved — Quinn Pemberton
In his first season as a starter, Pemberton, a captain, contributed on both ends of the court. He led the team in assists (110) and steals (33). Pemberton scored a team-high 12 points in Loyola’s win over Maine South in the regional final.
John O’Loughlin Intangible Player of the Year — Bennett Kwiecinski
A junior, Kwiecinski was one of the most valuable players for the Ramblers. An all-Catholic selection, he was first on the team in rebounds (177) and blocks (31). Kwiecinski also averaged 10.9 points and had 29 steals. He attempted a team-high 114 free throws, converting 86 of them for a 75.4 percentage.
Defensive Player of the Year — Jordan Kwiecinski
Kwiecinski usually was assigned to guard the opponent’s best scorer. In the regional semifinals, the junior helped hold Rolling Meadows sophomore Max Christie, one of the state’s best college prospects, to five points in the first half and 14 overall. Kwiecinski led Loyola with 131 deflections to go with 30 steals and 21 blocks.
The Ramblers finished 24-8 and captured a Class 4A regional championship.
MVPs — Julia Martinez, Celia Satter
Martinez and Satter, both seniors, were the backbone of the Ramblers. The St. Louis University-bound Martinez led the team in almost all statistical categories, averaging 6.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 3.4 steals and had 21 blocks. She leaves as the program’s all-time leader in rebounds (793) and assists (767). Satter, who will play at Richmond, averaged 10.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists and 1.2 steals. She finished with 71 3-pointers.
Coaches Award — Keely Stanton
Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker said Stanton, a senior, embodied what he means to be a teammate. “She understood her role and did everything we asked of her,” he said. “All of the little things she did, whether it was in practice before a game, off of the court, made us better.”
Best Defensive Player — Addison Bendery
Bendery, a senior, earned her minutes by slowing down the other team’s top offensive player. She averaged 1.9 rebounds and totaled 18 steals.
Most Improved — Silvana Scarsella
A sophomore, Scarsella was a fixture in the rotation the last half of the season. She averaged 3.3 points and 1.4 rebounds.
BOYS SWIMMING AND DIVING
Rambler of the Year — Luke Maurer
In one season, Maurer solidified himself among the best to ever swim at Loyola. The junior won state titles in both the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle and set program records in each event. Maurer also swam on the 200 free relay and 400 free relay, both of which placed 12th at the state meet.
MVP — Everet Andrew
Andrew, a junior, earned his first individual state medal by taking second in the 500 freestyle in a program-record time. He was part of both the 200 and 400 free relays.
Coaches Award — Ben Dukes
A four-year swimmer, Dukes enjoyed the best season of his career. He swam on both the 200 and 400 free relays in the state finals and qualified as an individual in the 500 free, taking 14th.
Most Improved — Brian Solmos
Called a “great leader” by Loyola head coach Mike Hengelmann, Solmos, a senior, finished fifth in the 100 backstroke at the MCAC meet.
Diver of the Year — Johnny Ryan
Ryan took third place at the conference meet as a sophomore.
MVP — Aidan McKeag
A senior, McKeag earned at least 30 wins for the second consecutive season and advanced to the Class 3A sectionals for a third time in four years. McKeag, who went 31-11 this season, will leave the program as the all-time leader in career wins with 119.
Fr. Ignatius Burrill, S.J. Award — Billy Sullivan
Loyola head coach Joe Haney described Sullivan’s commitment to the sport as “second to none.” After the junior’s season ended at regionals, he continued to come to practice to work out his teammates.
Coaches Award — Charlie Paxson
Haney said the senior had the biggest heart on the season. Paxson went from two wins as a junior to 10 this season.
Most Improved — Sam Schierloh
After sitting out his junior season to concentrate on football, Schierloh came within one win of qualifying for the Class 3A state meet at 195 pounds. He finished 23-8.
Photo credit: Margo Grogan/Sports Depiction