Dylen Ritchey is a Triple Threat

Dylen Ritchey | Senior | Ralston High School

Ralston High School senior Dylen Ritchey stays very busy. She’s a three-sport athlete: cross country, wrestling, and soccer. Ritchey is a female wrestler who became the state champion with a record of 44-0 in her second year of wrestling. She placed third in the state as a first-year wrestler and finished top 12 in the country in a competition in Fargo, ND, this past summer. She currently holds most of Ralston’s female wrestling records. In addition to her athletics, Ritchey is second in her class academically.

What makes her such a success? Tara Behrens, Ralston girls varsity soccer coach, believes Ritchey is a tough athlete with high expectations of herself. “She knows what it takes to be at her best, whether that’s in the weight room, on the field, or in the classroom. She puts in the work needed to be great. Dylen will fight and never give up. I’m proud to be her coach, and I’m thankful for her positive leadership on our team.”

Ritchey first fell in love with soccer, which she’s been playing for 12 years. “It taught me to love the spirit of competition and gave me the desire to be successful.” Cross country has shown Ritchey some advantages. “It sets me up for success in my other sports by becoming both physically and mentally tough,” she said. Ralston cross country coach Justin Farr appreciates her effort. “Dylen is a hard worker, a great teammate, and an excellent student. I am very honored to able to coach such a great student athlete the past four years.”

Although Ritchey played varsity basketball as a freshman, she switched to wrestling and has never regretted it. Ed Schmitt, head wrestling coach at Ralston, is impressed with Ritchey. “Dylen’s commitment to excellence is rare to find. To me, Dylen appears to be fearless. Competing on some of the highest stages and handling that atmosphere is very challenging even for a seasoned veteran. She has never given herself an excuse for not performing well. Dylen’s mental toughness, work ethic, perseverance, dedication, and positive attitude has led to her success.”

Winning state her junior year was a proud moment for Ritchey, “Not because I wanted the medal, but because I had the opportunity to become my coach’s first state champion. Sharing that moment with all my coaches was something I’ll never forget.”

After winning the title in wrestling, Ritchey burst the bursa sacs in her knees. “I’m still working on overcoming that obstacle. I got hurt going into my soccer season, and I had to learn how to listen to my body instead of my heart. I wanted to play, but I had to make choices regarding the rest my body needed. Eventually, my knees got better, and I could return to play.”

Ritchey believes being a part of a team has taught her how to get along with people. “A positive of playing on teams is getting to meet new friends who will always be there to support you. I have found that in girls wrestling many of the people I have met won’t hesitate to help you in any way they can. In other words, a team can become a family away from home.”

Although Ritchey hasn’t decided where she’ll attend college yet, she plans to become a collegiate athlete and study physical therapy. “I don’t know if I will be wrestling, playing soccer, or both. All I know is that I am not ready to give up all my sports, and I want to compete for as long as I can.”

Ritchey also has a full life outside of sports. “Most of my free time is spent doing homework, participating in student council or National Honor Society, or working at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. However, I do spend my Friday nights at Ralston’s football games, showing my support and spending time with my friends.”

Ritchey will continue to excel both in sports and academics due to her internal passion. “My drive to compete comes from always knowing I can do better. I don’t expect perfection, I only expect improvement from myself. I want to achieve everything I can with the opportunities I’ve been given.”

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