Working out with his mother and coach, Qwen Stewart, Riggins set lofty goals for his summertime running: Repeat as a double champion at the Junior Olympics, and break the age group records in his intermediate boys division (15-16-year-olds).
Riggins, a soon-to-be St. Pat's sophomore, is well on his way. Along with eight teammates from the V-PAL Fast Forward Track Club that Stewart runs, Riggins will hit the track at this week's USATF Junior Olympics at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, east of Los Angeles. Fast Forward's first races begin Thursday.
After taking the 100 and 200 titles last year in Baltimore in the youth boys class (13-14), Riggins tore through qualifying this summer despite a move up in age group. At the Region 14 meet in Fresno, held Jun 30-July 1, Riggins won both the 100 and 200. The eye-popping performance came in the 100, where he posted a personal best 10.59.
That mark inched him closer to the 100 intermediate boys record, a 10.51 set by Aurora, Colo., native Jeremy Rankin
I was shocked. That was like a jaw-dropper, said Riggins, who didn't expect that he'd run that fast until his time was announced. I guess that just comes from hard work and praying.
Riggins has indeed worked hard this summer. A week after state, he said, he began workouts with Stewart. Later, he would attend football training sessions in the morning (his first sport, he has said in the past), and track workouts in the afternoons. Recently, he has cut back to track only, but plans to pick up football again after this week's meet.
I had no choice, said Riggins, who'll attend his fifth Junior Olympics, after trips to Baltimore, Indianapolis, Oregon and Miami. If I was going to achieve my goals, I had to step up.
Said Stewart: Him and I puts our head together ... and he knows what he wants. He's put in so much effort ... what he wants, he attains.
Riggins won't just run open races, but will key a pair of fast relay teams. In the 4-by-100 relay he joins a trio of relatives, cousins Jalil and Maurice Mack and Brandon Box. Recently, Riggins discovered the quartet's familial connections: Jalil and Maurice, first cousins, are related to Riggins through Stewart's mother's side, while Box is related to Riggins through each of their fathers' sides (though distantly).
Riggins and the Macks made it a family affair at the Region 14 meet, as they guided the relay to an easy first-place finish and went 1-2-3 in the open 100, with Jalil second and Maurice third behind the winning Riggins, who said, We were real excited.
On the 4-by-400 relay, Riggins and the Macks, who attend Mt. Diablo High, will be joined by another St. Pat's student, Brenon Kalu (replacing Deon Turner, who helped qualify the team at the Region 14 meet). In the 200, Jalil Jack was the final Region 14 qualifier as the third-place finisher, behind the winning Riggins, while Box just missed in fourth place.
Fast Forward also brings a bantam boys relay (9-10), with Jelani Jack, Mario Turner, Nigel Center and Devon Booker running the 4-by-100 relay.
Each runner hopes to place well, though Riggins enters this week with the loftiest of goals.
I'm trying to get the national record in the 100 and 200, Riggins said. I'm a first year in intermediate, if I don't get it this year, then I'll try next year.
E-mail Timothy Scott at email@example.com or call 553-6838.