MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WBOY) – It takes a very special performance for a person to take home two Harry Green athlete of the week awards in the same sport in the same year, but if you can’t break the rule for what Irene Riggs did over the weekend then you can’t break it for anybody.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Riggs took home the Nike girls’ high school cross country national championship in Portland, Oregon on Saturday.
While a midseason foot injury made her question whether she’d be able to compete there at all, it didn’t take long after her return for her to realize she had what it takes.
“I started running again and then I had a pretty good workout and then I did eight by eights and it was the fastest eight by eight hundreds I’d ever done so I realized my fitness did stay with me. After that workout, I realized I think I can have a chance of winning a national title and I was kind of determined and excited,” she said.
Since the end of the West Virginia high school cross country season, Riggs has spent her time chasing the numbers set by some of the best runners on earth, smashing the course record at the Nike southeast regional set by 2022 NCAA Division I champ Katelyn Tuohy and coming just three seconds short of Tuohy’s record in Portland.
The realization of exactly what she did and how she did it, didn’t quite set in right away.
“I was really shocked after the regional meet. I didn’t process for a day or so and then I think I took time to reflect on it and I was like ‘wow, that’s kind of crazy’ but it’s really exciting and it’s a bit promising I think too in a way,” she said.
In one of the more no-brainer picks you’re going to find; Irene Riggs is the latest choice for Harry Green athlete of the week.