It could not have been much better of a weekend for Sullivan senior Macy Ritter.
Competing in the MSHSAA Class 3 track and field championships last Friday and Saturday at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Ritter captured all-state honors in four events, including the state title in the long jump.
The top eight finishers in each event earned state medals.
Ritter won the long jump with a leap of 18-0 and finished fourth in the triple jump with an effort of 35-3 1/2. She’s the first female athlete to win a state track and field title at Sullivan High School.
The 400-meter relay team of Ritter, Bria Bartolotta, Brianna Winistoerfer and Natasha Snavely placed sixth in a time of 49.91.
The 800-meter relay team of Ritter, Bartolotta, Winistoerfer and Natalie Schriever was sixth in 1:45.97.
Ritter’s performance helped the Lady Eagles win a state trophy for a third-place finish in Class 3.
“It’s really exciting to see the team do so well. We’ve had a good season. It’s been a good senior year,” Ritter said. “It feels really good to win four medals. I thought I had a good chance to do it. It’s an awesome way to end my high school career.”
Ritter won the long jump title in dramatic fashion on Friday. Entering her last jump of the finals, Ritter stood in second place with an effort of 17-0.
Kayla McGee of Lincoln College Prep was in first place at 17-10.
Needing to beat 17-10 for the state title, Ritter exploded for a distance of 18-0, a full foot better than her previous best mark of the day.
“I feel awesome. I’m very happy,” Ritter said after receiving her state medal. “I didn’t really feel I had a chance to do this. I kind of thought about it and then the girl jumped 17-10. I knew it was going to be tough to beat that, but I somehow pulled out an 18 on my last jump. I usually do good under pressure.”
Sullivan Coach Pat Burke said Ritter came through in the clutch.
“Macy saved one of her best jumps of the season for her final jump, winning the event on the last jump of the competition,” Burke said. “It was great to see her get that. She lost the championship last year in the exact same fashion, so it was nice to see some redemption.”
Considering that Ritter’s personal best in the long jump is 18-4, she knew she could beat 17-10.
“Going into the last jump, I had to pump myself up in my head,” Ritter said. “I had to have Bria (Bartolotta) pump me up. It definitely helped. It gives me a lot more confidence and helps me out.”
Bartolotta also won all-state medals in the same four events Ritter did.
So how exactly did Bartolotta pump Ritter up for her final jump?
“Pretty much in every one of her events, I sit there and give her little speeches. That seems to get her going somehow,” Bartolotta said. “I just told her that she got second place last year. You’ve jumped over 17-10 before. You can do this. And she went out and did it.”
Ritter came back on Saturday and finished fourth in the triple jump with a best effort of 35-3 1/2.
“My second jump was the best, but I scratched. It was an awesome jump, one of the best jumps I’ve ever had. It was probably a high 36 or low 37,” Ritter said. “It’s still pretty good to get fourth place. I’m happy for Bria. I didn’t know what to expect. I just went out there and did my best. I wasn’t expecting to place this high.”
Ritter made big strides in the triple jump in a short period of time.
“We switched Macy over to the triple before the conference meet and she has been getting stronger and stronger,” Burke said. “Macy had a monster jump on her second finals jump. It would have easily won the meet, but she barely scratched on the board. It was huge, definitely her best jump of the season.
Ritter and her sprint relay teammates competed in the preliminaries on Friday and the finals on Saturday, notching sixth-place finishes in both the 400- and 800-meter relays.
“I was very proud of our two sprint relays,” Burke said. “We have talked all year about making it to Saturday in both the 4x100 and the 4x200. The girls knew that they would most likely have to run school records to get there.”
It was a banner weekend for Ritter and Bartolotta.
“Macy and Bria accumulated 27 individual points of our 36,” Burke said. “Those girls work incredibly hard at what they do and this was a great reward for that hard work.”
Ritter leads a senior class at Sullivan that enjoyed tremendous success in track and field.
“I can’t say enough about our seniors. They are such a great group of competitors. To say that they will be missed is an understatement,” Burke said. “Not only are they tremendous athletes, but they are very special young ladies who have worked extremely hard and have dedicated themselves to this sport and their team. I couldn’t be more proud of these girls. “I’m going to miss our seniors as they move on to college. A couple of them will be running in college, so it’s nice to see them continue in the sport that they excel in.”
Ritter said she will continue her track and field career probably at either Southeast Missouri State University or the University of Missouri-Kansas City.