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Ritchie picked to play on elite regional soccer squad

The honors keep piling up for South Medford High soccer star Bryn Ritchie.

Two weeks after being named the co-player of the year in the SouthernOregon Conference, Ritchie was selected to a regional Olympic developmentteam that will meet and play in San Diego Jan. 2-4.

Ritchie is the only Oregon player on the Region 4 team. Three other regionalteams from around the country will also showcase their skills in San Diego.

Of the 72 players on the four squads, 18 will then be chosen to representthe United States Olympic development program that will travel abroad nextsummer.

I didn't really know how I matched against other players from otherstates, Ritchie says. I felt like it was a big honor to be selectedwith guys from 11 other states.

It's something I've always wanted to do since I was younger. ButI never thought I'd have the opportunity to play on a team like that. Alot of it had to do with being at the right place at right time.

In order to make the Region 4 team, Ritchie first had to make an Oregonall-star team and then beat out 200 other players from 10 other Westernstates.

The Western teams played against each other last winter and then metin Bozeman, Mont., last summer, where the final 18 players on the Region4 team were selected.

It's a real grueling process, said Mike Ritchie, Bryn Ritchie'sfather. In Bozeman, they played three times a day. Bryn went therewith a brand new pair of shoes and in a week-and-a-half, he'd worn themout. He blew a hole right through them.

Ritchie is the first male from Southern Oregon to make an Olympic developmentteam. South Medford's Jona Maukonen qualified for a girls team four yearsago.

Ritchie is also a standout basketball player at South Medford -- he wasa third-team all-conference selection last season. The trip to San Diegomeans he'll miss a conference basketball game against Roseburg.

In soccer, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Ritchie led South Medford to an overallrecord of 15-1-1 this fall, its third straight Southern Oregon Conferencechampionship and the first state title of any sport in school history.

Ritchie's 20 goals and 13 assists led the team.

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