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Author: Matt Harness

GIRLS SWIMMING AND DIVING: Ramblers Enter New Era

The Ramblers started the season Monday morning, and Loyola girls swimming head coach Mike Hengelmann joked he couldn’t remember the last time one of his teams was excited to practice.  A big reason for that energy is Loyola’s brand-new, state-of-the-art natatorium. The John D. Norcoss (Class of 1954) Aquatic Center officially opened Monday.  “Usually, everyone is tired and groggy coming back from vacation,” said Hengelmann, a 2000 Loyola graduate and former swimmer. “But everyone was super thrilled to be in the pool. We have exceptional athletes, and they deserve to have a facility like this to call home.” As...

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BOYS LACROSSE: Ramblers Connect to Program’s Roots

Loyola alum Connor Koch owes a lot to the pioneers who paved a path for the program’s success.  A four-year varsity player and captain, Koch (Class of 2019) took advantage of an opportunity to give thanks to some of those people. At halftime of the team’s 20-7 win over Lake Forest at home May 11, Koch and five of his teammates assembled at midfield to pay tribute to the Class of 1988. He was joined by senior captains senior Mick Burden and Mike Feuer (pictured above) and junior captain Kaden Keller as well as senior Patrick Cronin and senior...

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WRESTLING: Ramblers Hire Former State Champ Matt Collum as Head Coach

Loyola’s new wrestling head coach Matt Collum is familiar with the Catholic League.  Collum wrestled at Providence Catholic as a freshman before transferring to Neuqua Valley, where he won a state title as a senior in 2004. After one season as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Collum has returned to the Catholic League, arguably the top wrestling conference in the state.  “I was drawn to Loyola because of the opportunity to compete against the best,” he said. “I also believe there’s a lot of untapped potential there that I can bring out.” Loyola wrestling alum and former head coach Chris Stephens (Class of 2000) said Collum is the perfect person to lead the Ramblers. Since Stephens stepped down in 2015 after seven seasons, Collum is Loyola’s third head coach. This is Collum’s second stint as a high school head coach. He led Timberland in Wentzville, Missouri, for seven seasons. “I’m excited about his passion and knowledge of the sport, and he constantly wants to learn more,” Stephens said. “He’s a great competitor and has been on top of the game at several levels. He’s enthusiastic about this opportunity, and the direction he wants to take the program.” Collum’s first priority is increasing turnout. Junior Josh Kruetz is one of two wrestlers who competed at the Catholic League’s meet with eligibility remaining. Kruetz finished fourth at 220 pounds...

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FOOTBALL: Nate Van Zelst Driven to Be the Best

Even after finishing his final exam of the school year, Loyola rising junior Nate Van Zelst wasn’t done with his work that day.  Instead of celebrating his freedom from tests for a few months, Van Zelst went to the football field. The presumptive starting place-kicker and punter this fall practiced for nearly two hours by himself before beginning his summer break.  While he already has experienced success in high school and ranks as one of the best in the country, Van Zelst continues to strive for perfection.  “I’ve been told that you want to practice so much that you...

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Spring Varsity Sports Team Awards

Here are the team award-winners for spring varsity sports (Editor’s note: Not every team hands out awards.) BASEBALL The Ramblers finished 14-16, with seven of their losses coming by two runs or less. They ended their season with an 8-4 loss to New Trier in eight innings in the Class 4A regional final at Niles North.  John A. O’Loughlin Award — Jake Novak This honor goes to the team’s MVP. A senior outfielder and captain, Novak hit .371 with an OPS of 1.052. He finished with three home runs, 42 RBIs, 30 runs scored and 17 steals, earning a spot...

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