Ritenour student-athletes thriving thanks to shift in policies



Junior Samantha Lohnes caught for the girls softball team this year. She also swam and played soccer in the other seasons. She would have had a difficult choice to make when the dual enrollment program first began before COVID.

Hallie Thornburgh, Staff Reporter

Student-athletes are thriving now that they can attend the Saint Louis Community College or North Technical High School full-time and still play their sport at Ritenour.
Ritenour offers three different opportunities for students to further their education. The first option is going to STLCC either part-time or full-time for dual enrollment to get a head start on earning college credits. The second option is going to North Tech part-time or full-time, which can provide real-world experience for future college and career situations. The third option is for students who are enrolled at the International Welcome Center, where they start to learn the American school system and improve their language skills.
In the last few years, the Missouri State High School Athletic Association (MSHSAA) has had to deal with newer school alternatives, and what that means for sports.
When Ritenour first started its dual enrollment partnership with STLCC in the late 2010s, full-time dual enrollment students were ruled ineligible to play at the high school. This was due to the fact that the student had to be in attendance to a certain amount of classes for the school in order to play on their teams.
“It was a matter of seat time at your home school,” Athletics Director Drew Lohnes said.
Students like junior Samantha Lohnes, who is part-time at the community college, are allowed to play for the Ritenour athletics teams. She is thankful that MSHSAA has updated its policies because of the values she places on both sports and athletics, and she is glad that she did not have to choose one or the other.
“If I was put in that situation I would choose my sports. Sports have been such a large part of my life and I don’t think I could give up any three of the ones I play. These sports also open up so many opportunities for me in the future,” Lohnes said. “I also would have to say with the programs in place at Ritenour I would be able to still challenge myself and extend my learning with some of the dual-credit or AP classes offered here.”
MSHSAA realized that things needed to change as more schools were embracing non-traditional forms of school.
“Athletic Directors, along with MSHSAA saw the need to allow for more alternative education to count towards the “seat time,’” Drew Lohnes said. “As long as the student is earning credit towards a Ritenour High diploma, they are eligible to participate in MSHSAA-sanctioned activities/contests. Similar to the International Welcome Center.”