MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You gotta hear the story T’Nia Riley tells about last year’s state meet, when there was a rain delay and a race official told her to come back to the track at 5:30 to run the 100 meter dash. Only problem? The race actually started at 5. Riley was on the other side of the complex when she was frantically told to get to the starting line.
“And I was warming up and everything, and then, they were like, ‘You’re about to run. They’re about to run the race without you.’ So I had to run across the field, I had to run across two fields to make it to my race. And I made it just in time, or else they were going to start the race, in like 30 seconds,” she said.
“Not really out of breath, just like, antsy and just trying to hurry up and make sure that I don’t get disqualified or anything.”
So then naturally, Riley went out and not only won the race, but broke the state record. Yes, 30 seconds after running all the way across the infield, she still had enough left in the tank to run faster than anyone else in Class A history.
“I don’t know,” Riley said. “It was just a lot. But it was really fun. I enjoyed it.”
She didn’t have any trouble getting to the 200 meters on time. And she won that one too. Two state titles, as a sophomore.
And now as a new track season gets underway, she’s got her sights set on even more.
“This year I’ve trained more than I have before any other year, because I want to break that record again,” Riley said.
“It’s what we call a gifted talent. Natural speed. And her work ethic just puts her above everybody else,” coach Charles Walker said.
What motivates Riley?
“The records,” she said. “And nationals, and everything. And just, being great. Like, I just want people to know my name, for something good.”
“As long as she stays healthy, then she can do a lot,” Walker said. “Go on to college, maybe even the 2020 Olympics. That’s what she’s looking forward to. The 2020 Olympics. In Tokyo.”
At least she wouldn’t have to run there.