Former Golden Eagle Riggien believes she can make Olympic team - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Former Golden Eagle Riggien believes she can make Olympic team


With the Olympic Trials on the horizon this week, a lot of the attention has been focused on Southern Miss All-American Tori Bowie. Rightfully so, but she's not the only one hoping to make it to London.

Chastity Riggien, Bowie's former teammate and a second-team All-American  at Southern Miss, will be competing in the 100-meter dash. As far as she's concerned, she's not going just to run. She believes she has a legitimate shot to make the US Olympic squad.

"It's the United States. There's a lot of great athletes, a lot of great female sprinters, and the way I see it, we all have to battle it out," said Riggien, "That's going to be a challenge, but I'm up for expectation is to win."

A lofty goal to be certain, but Riggien isn't feeling a lot of the pressure that may come with such a goal...yet. "Everyone's been asking me if I'm nervous," she said with a smile, "I'm not nervous yet. It's all excitement.

"But I'm pretty sure I'll get nervous as I start to warm up for my first race."

Shane Brandford, an assistant coach for USM's track and field team, has coached Riggien for the last five years. He believes Riggien is ready, but that she has to take things race by race.

"I expect her to progress through the rounds," he said "...and take on challenges as they come because she has to race against the best the United States has to offer. She knows that.

"She's ready mentally, physically she's ready for it, and I'm just looking forward to her stepping up to the challenge."

Riggien spent Monday and Tuesday practicing on campus. On Wednesday, she leaves for Eugene, Ore., where the trials are held, and the challenge begins Friday. She'll have to place in the top 18 in order to advance to the semi-finals, and from there finish in the top 8 spots to make it to the finals. To where the red, white and blue, she'll have to finish in the top three.

"It's been a journey," she said, "It's not supposed to be easy."


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