Two of the WPIAL's biggest distance stars took to Gateway High School on Saturday in the 1,600 meters at the South Hills Classic.
Melissa Riggins of Shady Side Academy came out on top over Moon Area's Mia Cochran in a terrific early season matchup over four laps. Riggins went 4:57.86 for a win, a new PA No. 2 clocking. Cochran took second in 5:01.97, a PA No. 3. It turned out to be a very fast race even after those two, with Mount Lebanon freshmen Logan St. John-Kletter (5:10.92) and Caroline Adams (5:12.61) taking third and fourth, respectively. Fairview's Maddison Hayes was fifth in 5:12.84. Each of those times puts them inside the top 12 in the PA state rankings.
Up front, Riggins jumped out to the early lead, gapping the field through the first lap. Cochran didn't waver though, staying on the hunt for the rest of the race. Riggins proved too strong in the end, closing well to pick up the victory.
It's not the first time Riggins and Cochran have battled it out in a race. The last time came in Riggins' first and only career XC race at the Red, White & Blue Classic. Cochran, a two-time XC state champion had the upperhand in that duel, winning that 5K by 34 seconds over the second place Riggins.
|1||Melissa Riggins||12||Shady Side Academy||4:57.86||3|
|2||Mia Cochran||11||Moon Area||5:01.97||3|
|3||Logan St. John-Kletter||9||Mount Lebanon||5:10.92||3|
|4||Caroline Adams||9||Mount Lebanon||5:12.61||3|
But Saturday was back on Riggins main domain, the track. While we may see Riggins and Cochran race again this spring in an invitational setting, it won't happen at the District 7 (WPIAL) Championships or the PIAA State Championships; Riggins' Shady Side Academy competes in Class AA, while Cochran's Moon Area is a AAA school.
But Saturday was a good test for the two runners. Riggins will be looking to win her third state title in both the 1,600 meters and 800 meters. Cochran will be a factor for the state title in whatever event she goes after.
Riggins returned to take second in the 400 meters in a quick 58.80. Cochran came back to win the 800 meters later in the meet in a time of 2:19.14. Watch the girls 1600 meters from South Hills above and check out interviews with Riggins and Cochran below.