Coached By: Jason Sanders
When Chris Ritchie scored his 375th career point at Mount Sinai in 2006, his lifetime of work came full circle on the lacrosse field. On the road in Babylon, Ritchie scooped a ground ball after a face-off, sprinted down the left side of the field, ripped a shot and beat Panther's goalie Matt Martinez (who is the goalie at Cornell, where Ritchie plays).
It was just one goal of many during a brilliant high school career, but it was extra-special because it put him atop the Suffolk County scoring list (and third all-time on Long Island). From the moment he picked up a lacrosse stick during first grade at home in North Babylon, Ritchie was hooked. The only problem was that North Babylon didn't have a youth lacrosse program. But for every problem there is a solution and Ritchie's father, James, started the program so he'd have someplace to play.
Ritchie stuck around North Babylon until 8th grade when his family moved to Mount Sinai. The program wasn't tremendous but by the end of his high school career, Ritchie helped the Mustangs turn it around. From his freshman year when the team was losing 14-1 to perennial favorites like Comsewogue, to his senior year when Ritchie was the best player on Long Island, Mount Sinai made an about face move in the lacrosse world.
He was a two-time All-American and three-time All-County selection. Among many accolades, he was named Newsday's 2006 Scholar Athlete of the Year, North Shore Sun 2006 Male Athlete of the Year and Mt. Sinai's Male Athlete of the Year. On the football field, he was a three-time letter winner, holds the school's career interceptions record and was a National Football Foundation Golden-Even Scholarship winner. He finished his career with 393 points and won the 2006 Enners Award.
"It's an honor," Ritchie says of the award. "I remember the whole room applauding. I heard Lt. Enners' name a bunch of times and knew about him and his history. I knew what he meant to lacrosse on Long Island. It was a prestigious honor for me. I was speechless when my name was called."
Ritchie chose Cornell to play college lacrosse. His playing time has increased the last three years. The Big Red lost to Syracuse last season in the National Championship, but Ritchie will be a key contributor and senior leader this season as his squad prepares for another run at the title.
"At Cornell we consider ourselves a blue-collar team," he says. "We're not the best players, but the hardest working guys. That team last year was the closest group I had ever been with. When I was growing up, I'd always dream about going to the National Championship.
"You score the game winning goal in the backyard. How close your team is really magnifies the affect of it. I wouldn't trade a win in that game though for anyone of my teammates."
That's the kind of character that won him the Enner's Award.