MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Morgantown High School’s Irene Riggs was named Gatorade’s 2020-2021 West Virginia Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year on Thursday.
Riggs, the sophomore, went undefeated this past cross country season and ended it as the Triple-A girls state champion.
Not only did Riggs win the state meet but she also beat her competition by almost 30 seconds and helped lead the Mohigans to a girls state championship as well.
Riggs had this award in the back of her mind in hopes of becoming a Gatorade Player of the Year at some point in her high school career and is excited that the time has come.
“That means a lot to me I think it will be something that I will be able to look back on and really appreciate forever. This award was something that I wanted to achieve at some point and I’m really excited that I got to achieve it this year,” Riggs said.
When Riggs found out she won the GPOY award, she was excited to continue a legacy at Morgantown High.
“I was really excited and it was especially meaningful because now for two years runners have been from MHS so I know that means a lot to the team and the coach,” Riggs said.
She follows teammate Lea Hatcher in winning this award. Hatcher won the 2019-2020 Girls cross country Gatorade Player of the Year.
With two Mohigan runners consecutively winning this award, Riggs said it does a lot for the program not only for the present, but for the future.
“I think that our program keeps getting stronger and stronger and I think it’s something that is really exciting and I think it’s going to have an impact on younger runners coming into MHS. So I think it’s really exciting that we’ve had such a strong program,” Riggs said.
Riggs also gives a lot of credit to her coaching staff with both MHS cross country and track and field programs and said Mohigan athletes winning this award shows how much work is put in.
“I think it really shows how much our coach cares and how much effort he puts in in making this team really strong and I think we have a really strong team and a really strong team atmosphere<” Riggs said.
And if this fact didn’t stand out above, Riggs is only a sophomore. So she has this upcoming track and field season and two more years of running with the Mohigans. Riggs said winning this award makes her more excited to get back to competing in the sport she loves.
“It gets me really excited for this track season and just being able to have even more normal of a season, being able to see what I can do and maybe even travel outside of the state of West Virginia so it’s really exciting to see that I’ve grown a lot since last year,” Riggs said.
She said her goals and expectations, personal and team related are very in tact.
“I definitely have some time goals in mind. So that’s kind of really my main goals right now so going into this track season I have some things that I want to do and definitely I think i know the whole track team is hoping to win the state title at this state meet so that’s really something that I think the whole team is working towards,” Riggs said.