CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Morgantown’s Irene Riggs has proven to be the best high school cross country runner in the Mountain State multiple times but now she’s shown she can compete with anyone in the nation.
Riggs competed in the 42nd Eastbay High School Cross County Championships National Final on Saturday in San Diego.
Riggs finished in 14th place out of the best 40 high school girls runners from all over the country.
The Morgantown Mohigan finished the 5,000 meter course in 17 minutes and 48 seconds.
“Obviously the weather was great for a race. It was in the 50’s nice and early this morning. That was great. But the course was definitely a challenging course. It was pretty hilly, something I am a little more used to than some other people, but it was still pretty hard,” Riggs said.
Something that was very familiar to Riggs on the course due to running in West Virginia- the hills.
“I was more prepared for the hills and such so that was obviously a little bit of an advantage but I think everybody came out and really had a great effort,” Riggs said.
Riggs originally had sights set on finishing top 20. But she pushed herself for top 15.
“I was super excited. Going in my goal was top 20 and then I started to hear some people kind of gauging where everybody was placed and once I knew I had the ability to get in the top 15, which is when you get introduced as an All-American, so I knew I really wanted to focus on getting in that top 15 spot towards the end,” Riggs said.
Riggs yet again opened national eyes to the product of West Virginia athletes. She said she enjoyed the experience at Eastbay Nationals.
“It was definitely more of a new experience. Some of these runners I have raced at Great American Cross Country Festival and then the Regional qualifying for this race but other than that because of Covid I didn’t really get a sophomore season so it was really great. It was such a fun experience and I’ve met so many great runners,” Riggs said.