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Lafayette's Ritchie James - WTXL Scholar Athlete of the Week

Chiles' Caroline Jacobsen - WTXL Scholar Athlete of the Week
Posted at 6:35 PM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 18:35:41-04

LAFAYETTE, COUNTY — Lafayette senior Ritchie James decided to do something different his senior year: Play football.

Ritchie caught 35 passes for over 600 yards, scoring six touchdowns, earning himself a scholarship to Thomas More University. But that's just the beginning of his athletic dominance.

"It was pretty neat, I had never won anything that big," said Ritchie.

Ritchie finished third in the high jump, sixth in the 200 at this week's Class 1A State Track Meet, his first year competing in track and field.

"He got hurt last year, a fracture on one of his hip flexors, so it shut him down," said Mark Beach, the head coach of Lafayette High's football team. "As far as his drive in wanting to be successful, he's got one of those top notch qualities all the special people do."

"It's something that you wish you would have done as much as you could have, but you can't go back in time," said Ritchie. "You're just thankful for what you got."

Thankful for what he's done and that's not just limited to athletics. Ritchie will leave Lafayette with a 3.4 GPA.

"I've always been the kind of guy to be the best person I can be in this life," said Ritchie. "I give all the honor and glory to God for what he's given me and I'm going to do the best I can from here on out for as long as I'm alive."

"It's been neat to see the guys in the weightroom come up to him and they're all congratulating him," said Beach. "He finally had his time, which that's what neat to see as athletes. They work and prosper, finally they get their opportunity and they shine and here we are."

Here we are. One year in, a two time state placer, off to college to play football and hoping to leave Mayo a little better along the way.

"I hope they see me as a guy that worked as hard as I could," said Ritchie. "I hope that they take that and do the same exact thing to accomplish things that I have, if not better."

As hard as he could enough to bring home a pair of medals.