* Irene Riggs in early September at the Red, White & Blue Classic
Photo Credit: Phil Grove/MileSplit
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Irene Riggs accomplished the unthinkable on Saturday at the Team Southeast Regional.
Not only did the Stanford-bound runner down the former record at the Cary, North Carolina-based WakeMed course that was formerly held by Katelyn Tuohy -- who is the NCAA's newly-minted XC champion -- but she also did the former high school superstar one better:
She clocked the second-fastest 5K ever recorded in girls cross country history.
Riggs ran an astonishing time of 16:02.1, which was a full 20 seconds faster than Tuohy's effort of 16:22.80 at WakeMed from 2019.
On top of that, Riggs' performance is now only behind Jenna Hutchins' effort of 15:58.42 from 2020 at the RunningLane Championships. It also leap-frogged Natalie Cook's top time of 16:03.93 from last year, also recorded at RunningLane.
Prior to Saturday, only five girls in high school history had ever broken 16:20 for 5K.
Similarly, only five girls had broken the 17-minute barrier at WakeMed.
And yet, Riggs didn't just break the mark. She set it on fire.
Consider that Riggs was just two seconds shy of entering the sub-16 club.
It was an incredible statement by the three-time West Virginia state cross country champion, who entered competition holding the nation's fastest 5K with a time of 16:32.32.
With that singular performance, she will enter Team Nationals on Dec. 3 in Portland, Oregon, as the prohibitive favorite.
Top 5 Times In HS Girls XC History Prior To Saturday
TX Flower Mound
TX Denton Guyer