Name: Tyler Rigby
High School: South Park
Sport: Cross Country
Background information: Rigby is a veteran on the Class-AAA South Park boys’ team. His goal for the season is to go undefeated in his section and to qualify for states. Likewise, Rigby is succeeding. He has smashed three course records in the past two weeks at Bishop Canevin, the Big Eight Invitational (for the Big Eight football schools), and once more at Brentwood. His times on the courses at Bishop Canevin and Brentwood were 18:06 and 17:16 respectively.
South Park Assistant Coach Kristen Hutter is enthusiastic about Rigby’s success. “He is really focused on doing well and getting to his goal this season,” she says. Rigby’s focus comes from missing the PIAA state meet last year. “He just missed states last year, so he was on a mission this summer to work really hard to get there,” Hutter adds. She also notes that part of Rigby’s difficulty in qualifying came from the realignment of the South Park boys’ team in recent years. “[Rigby] missed going to states in Class-AAA by 30-some seconds,” Hutter explains. “If he would have ran [his 2010 WPIAL] time in Class-AA (where we have been for the last 10 years or so), he would have been in the Top 20 runners,” she adds. Rigby’s 2010 WPIAL Championship meet time was 17:34.
At the time of the 2010 WPIALs, Rigby had also been a member of South Park’s soccer team. “To focus more on his running, he gave up playing soccer in order to reach his goals this season,” Hutter says. Refocusing his efforts probably felt natural to Rigby, as he has a long history with the South Park varsity team. “Tyler ran with our varsity team as a sixth grader to challenge himself,” Hutter says. “He ended up beating half of our varsity runners, who were seven and eight years older than he was. Hutter adds that Rigby qualified for Cross Country Nationals his first year in USA Track and Field.
Maybe the reason that Rigby is so dedicated is simply that it’s fun. “We do team bowling competitions, carving pumpkins, designing t-shirts, mini-golf, and ultimate football,” says Hutter about team activities. “We try to do one thing a week because it gives athletes a chance to bond and laugh.”
Laughing is important, especially when the weather gets bad. Hutter notes that Head Coach Levdansky is adamant about practical, outdoor experience regardless of any rain or snow. “The athletes will always come up to me and ask are we going outside,” says Hutter. “My head coach will always say: ‘Rain or shine, we run all the time!'"