Cheltenham's Rittler Commits to Run at Dartmouth

On Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, Cheltenham senior MaryGrace Ritter was recognized for committing to continue her cross country and track careers at Dartmouth University. To review photos of the signing event, visit the Photo Gallery.

MaryGrace Rittler – Dartmouth University (Cross Country/Track)

Major:  Possibly Neuroscience

Final list of colleges:  Dartmouth, Bucknell, Cornell, Penn State

Reasons for choosing Dartmouth:  “It sounds kind of corny, but I walked on the campus and I just kind of knew. There was just the right vibe of the people, and the team is awesome. I loved the coach, I loved the location – it’s beautiful there. It was definitely the right fit for me both academically and athletically.”

What was the progression that led you to competing in both cross country and track at the collegiate level?  “I wasn’t sure I was going to run in college, but sophomore and junior year when I started to get better and I started thinking about what it would be like to not run - I would be miserable, and I don’t think I could not run in college. I just love the sport so much.”

Track coach Jerome Lowery says:  “With MaryGrace, one of the things that I’ve seen is her strength. She also had some challenges she’s been working through. What I will say is how truly strong she is. She’s still supportive of the girls. A lot of girls you’ll see in high school – sometimes if things don’t go their way, if the race doesn’t go their way, they kind of feel down and close themselves in. What I’ve seen with her is she’s a great team player. She’s a really great motivator, and she’s such a wonderful athlete in the State of Pennsylvania, but she’s still down to earth and very loving and caring. Those are some of the awesome traits you get from your parents. To see her able to exemplify those and share them with her teammates is really awesome. I know a lot of her teammates are going to miss her when she goes on, but the legacy she’s left as a leader is what’s going to stand and what they’re going to remember about her.”

Former track coach Kelly Jensen says:  “I have just been very impressed with her drive and her commitment. She wants to excel in everything, and God bless her – she seems to be able to do it and maintained her humility throughout the whole thing. She didn’t come to us until her sophomore year, and she just blossomed so quickly. She came out of nowhere. In those types of situations, you can get a little heady, and she’s been pretty humble, and I think that’s what has helped her become even better. Her parents have done a wonderful job raising a wonderful young lady. I think she’ll do well at Dartmouth.”

Indoor track coach Adam Syty:  “I started coaching MaryGrace when she was a freshman in outdoor track. You could tell right away she was tough. She came out with no real experience, but you could see the potential. We asked her if she was really going to commit to this and see what she could do with it. She came back sophomore year, and she really started working hard at this thing. One part of her mentality was – I’m going to go out and conquer this, no matter who I’m running against. The workouts kept getting stronger and stronger, and we kept getting closer and closer to making it to the state meet, and indoor is really tough – they only take 12 to the two-mile. I remember the last race of the season was do or die. She had gone skiing the night before, which made me a little nervous, but she went out there against some of the best girls in the state and qualified for the first time in the two-mile race in one of the hardest races she could. That was really the breaking point and showed us – all right, this girl is going to be something pretty good. Went to states that year, went to nationals. She came back junior year with big goals. She had always been a field hockey player, so she came out and ran cross country that year, qualified for states and finished top 30 in the state in cross country. She came back for indoor and was running phenomenally and finished third in the state for indoor her junior year. Went to nationals and finished top 20 in the nation in that race as well. In outdoor, she made it to the Penn Relays, but it was always her mentality, her commitment, her dedication to the sport and what it took to be good. She was just one of those athletes who was very coachable, that would listen to you and would always do whatever you asked of her. She’s the same way in the classroom and managed one of the most rigorous academic loads that you could and was a top student at Cheltenham. She’s a hard worker in the classroom and in the field. She’s just a good person in every way possible, somebody you know is going to succeed in whatever she decides to do in life.”

Cross country/track coach Drew Magaha:  “She’s an incredible athlete, an incredible student. She’s one of those rare athletes who can push herself past her limits. She had an up and down season with some health issues, but she’s pushed past them, and she’s ready to go for outdoor. I think she’ll really fit in well with Dartmouth. She will be a fantastic member of that team, and I’m pretty confident she can be a scoring member next year.”

About MaryGrace:
Favorite food: 
Pizza Bagels
Favorite movie:  The Avengers
Favorite music:  Beach Boys