Riggins Wins Two In Her Indoor Career Debut

When her days as a top-flight athlete are over, Melissa Riggins might want to consider an acting career. The Shady Side Academy senior sure knows how to make an entrance.

For the second time in a little more than 4 months, Riggins made a debut in spikes. On both occasions, the two-sport Georgetown signee left little doubt that she has a long career ahead of her as a runner if she chooses to go in that direction.

On Saturday in the Ohio Championship Preview Meet, Riggins had her introduction to indoor track against fields loaded with state champions and nationally ranked middle-distance specialists who have plenty of experience running under cover. The turns might be tighter and the laps shorter, but the four-time PIAA champion didn't miss a beat, turning in a pair of US top 10 performances in what also could be her swan song in HS indoor track.

Watch Race Videos From The Ohio Championship Preview Meet

"I didn't mind the distance as much as I thought I would, it went by pretty fast," said Riggins, whose one-and-done high school XC career was a rock solid runner-up finish to two-time PIAA Class AAA champion Mia Cochran of Moon Area in last September's Red, White and Blue Classic. "And all the girls are super sweet, and that makes it a lot less pressure.

"I get so nervous before my races, especially since these are my first (track) races since spring of my sophomore year and they put my seed times in as my personal bests, which are from sophomore year and that's really intimidating. But I'm really happy with the way I performed."

Working off a training base of soccer practices and 10-15 miles of running per week, Riggins set the pace in the morning session 1,600-meter fast heat and was never headed. Hitting another gear with 100 to go, she crossed the line in a US#6 4:55.33 as the next four, including Cochran in a PR 5:00.26, also recorded top 25 times nationally.

About 5.5 hours later, Riggins was back on the track and again the early leader out of her No. 1 position along the rail in the 800. She slipped back as far as fourth in the third 200 but regained the lead with 200 left and looked effortless in tearing away from the field for a US#5 2:10.47, a time that she has only bettered once in big-meet situations.

"The (indoor soccer) season's kind of kicking off which is why I think this might be my last indoor meet as well as my first until college, like we're playing the cross country card again, first and last at the same time," Riggins said. "We're going to be traveling more for soccer and practices are picking up, and it's just harder to get out and train and be ready for a meet like this against such great competition."