Last year, Morgantown's (WV) Irene Riggs battled with Mia Cochran for 5000 meters over a deceivingly challenging White Oaks Park course at Red White and Blue. The two traded strides every step of the way, but Cochran was able to create some separation in the final moments of the race to cross the line in 17:26
Riggs settled for second in 17:29.
This year, with Cochran gone to graduation, Riggs treated the fans at Red, White, and Blue to a treat as she masterfully picked her way through the White Oaks Park course and earned her 17:03 finish, a US No. 5.
Riggs made it clear from the gun that she was targeting a historic finish. She came through the first mile in a low 5-minute split and never looked back... well, for the most part.
While Riggs did run a record-setting 17:03, it could have been faster. She admitted that she had made a wrong turn and stopped mid-race another time to ensure she was going the right way. She laughed about it after the race, and we're left to wonder how much quicker it would have been.
But regardless of the what-ifs, one thing is clear. Riggs is one of the best runners in the nation, and this is just the start of her dominant campaign.