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Alden Ritt and Alayna Tisch named Lake Orion Senior Student-Athletes of the Year

Alden Ritt and Alayna Tisch named Lake Orion Senior Student-Athletes of the Year

 

LAKE ORION, Mich. – Dragon basketball’s Alden Ritt and track and field’s Alayna Tisch were selected as Lake Orion’s Senior Male and Female Student-Athletes of the Year for 2021-22.

Awarded annually to one male and one female senior, the honor recognizes excellence in the classroom while also standing out amongst your peers in your given sport.

Graduating with a 4.2 GPA, Ritt was a three-year standout for Lake Orion under head coaches Joel Schroeder and Jose Andrades, helping lead the program to consecutive league titles as a junior and senior, earning All-Oakland Activities Association (OAA) accolades both years.

On top of this, he was an All-State Honorable Mention selection by the Associated Press in both 2020-21 and 2021-22 and picked up a spot on the Detroit Free Press’ All-North Third Team as a senior.

Enrolled at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Allendale, Ritt is studying Finance and continuing his basketball career at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II level for the Lakers.

Set to embark on their first season under head coach Cornell Mann, GVSU went 17-11 (11-9 GLIAC) in 2021-22, tied with the Lake Superior State Lakers for fifth in the conference standings.

Andrades coached Ritt for his final three years as a Dragon, working as an assistant under Schroder for two-plus seasons before taking over as the program’s head coach in December 2021.

Playing a large role in Ritt’s ascension into one of Oakland County’s top players, the coach pointed to Alden’s work ethic as the major reason why he is in this position.

“Just seeing his development as a player, as a leader, he’s a very hard worker at whatever he does,” Andrades said.

“It could be academics, it could be volunteering, anything he does, he does a masterful job, he does his best, and that’s what makes him successful, he works very hard at what he does.

“To watch him as a sophomore (in 2019-20) work every day to get to his goal, it doesn’t surprise me, but it’s great to see the work pay off.”

A legitimate 6-foot-7 and a potent outside shooter, Ritt profiles as a great fit at the collegiate level in today’s era of emphasizing the 3-point shot and increasing your number of possessions in a game. These physical gifts obviously play an irreplaceable role, but Andrades highlighted the mental side of the game when it comes to what helps Ritt stand out on the floor.

“He has a high IQ, he loves to learn the game,” he began. “When he goes to college, he’ll learn a lot more, but he has a high IQ and he wants to learn more, I think that’s what makes him stand out from other players.

“It does help being 6-foot-7, as a guard, and can shoot it. That helps a lot, too, it makes the game a little bit easier for you, but again, it goes back to the IQ and his always wanting to learn more about how to get better.”

Transitioning to Tisch, she had a year for the record books as a junior in 2021, winning both the Oakland County and Regional Championships in the 300-meter hurdles and capturing another regional title in the 100-meter dash at 12.62.

As a senior, she was terrific again, finishing second in the region in the 100-meter and third in the 300-meter hurdles.

One of the area’s top runners, Tisch has chosen to put an end to her competitive career, as she will attend Michigan State University in East Lansing and study Economics.

Versatile enough to compete with the region’s best in two different races, Tisch did prefer one of the events over the other.

“I really enjoyed running the 300-meter hurdles,” she said. “It’s a really challenging race because it’s a really long distance and there’s obstacles in your way, but it was my favorite.”

Tisch has the unique distinction of wrapping up her high school career in legendary head coach Stan Ford’s final season, and she credited both him and hurdle coach Mike Hatch, a man who has been involved with coaching at Lake Orion since the 1970s, with helping her reach these heights.

“Coach Hatch definitely did, he’s a great mentor and a great coach,” she said. “He’s done a lot for me over the years.”

A four-year varsity contributor with a remarkable 4.6 GPA, Tisch was also on the Dragons’ 4x200 and 4x400-meter relay teams, qualifying for the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Lower Peninsula Division 1 State Meet at Rockford High School on June 4 and finishing 10th in the former.

“She’s willing to do anything,” Ford said of what he enjoyed most of his time coaching Tisch. “She was a sprinter in middle school and Coach Hatch was looking for speed for hurdles, and we saw her and said, ‘Let’s try the 300s.’

“The 300s are a little easier to adapt to the hurdle life, and that worked for her, and she was so valuable on the relays. She has just done everything, she was versatile in that sense – doing hurdles and sprints, even the longer sprints – and always willing to try other things, never complained about being put in this relay or doing that.

“If we had 20 of her, we would be an awesome team. Not just in talent, but in their willingness to get better and work hard. She was the total package.”

Lake Orion’s athletic teams have now all finished competing in the 2021-22 academic year. Next up are the fall sports of the 2022-23 school year, which are football, cross country, boys’ soccer, boys’ tennis, girls’ golf, girls’ swimming and diving, and volleyball.

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