THE TRACK STAR
SUPERPOWERS: DEDICATION AND DRIVE
Irene Riggs comes from a family of swimmers but picked up running in middle school. “I love the activity of running. I love training and racing and being able to push myself.”
Riggs’ love for and dedication to the sport have landed her three cross country Gatorade Player of the Year awards, a Nike Cross Nationals title, and a slew of wildly impressive times. But that doesn’t mean her high school running career was free of obstacles. At the start of her senior year, a freak foot injury threatened to derail her season at its peak. “The most difficult part was that I did nothing wrong—there was nothing I could have done to avoid it. That’s difficult to deal with and accept, but it taught me a lot about commitment.”
This fall, Riggs took off to Stanford University, where she committed to compete on the cross country roster. With the move, she is bringing West Virginia with her in all of the lessons she learned here. “Have confidence in yourself and don’t think too much about what others think,” she says. “West Virginia gets a bad rap, and it’s not fair. We produce amazing individuals, athletes, and students. Having this successful career has allowed me to help put West Virginia on the map for running. We’ve produced so many amazing runners, and we deserve that recognition.”
Learn more about our Wonder Women
Since 2014 WV Living magazine has been honoring West Virginia Wonder Women, amazing women who are raising the bar in their communities, serving as beacons of light in their industries, and forcing change for the greater good. WV Living is proud to celebrate these Appalachian mothers, millennials, and mavens proving that in a time full of uncertainty, divisiveness, and hate, love for one another is all we really need. No need for bulletproof bracelets or a golden lasso of truth—these women are creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit.