Women's track adding Higgin

NEW CASTLE, Del. - University of Rio Grande track & field head coach Bob Willey has announced the signing of William Penn High School's Chantal Higgin for the 2014 season.

Higgin, a 5-foot-6 sprinter, enjoyed a standout prep career for coach Stuart Vazzanna's Colonials.

She finished in a time of 26.18 to finish fourth in the 200-meter dash at the DIAA state championship meet in May, before placing seventh in the same event with a time of 26.15 just days later at the DIAA Meet of Champions.

Higgin established personal records in both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash during the Blue Hen Conference championship meet in April, completing the 100 in a time of 12.51 and the 200 in a mark of 25.48.

"It feels great to know that I'm going to continue running at the collegiate level," Higgin said. "Getting this kind of opportunity is something I've been thinking about since probably the 10th grade."

Higgin, who also competed in the 55-, 60- and 400-meter dash events, as well as the 5,000-meter run, during her prep career, was a varsity award winner at William Penn, in addition to receiving honors from the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association.

She also was named an All-State and All-Blue Hen Conference selection.

Higgin chose to run for the RedStorm, although she received recruiting interest from a number of other schools including defending NAIA national champion Indiana Tech, as well as Mars Hill College, American International College, Culver-Stockton College, Mount Olive College, Alderson-Broaddus University and Viterbro University.

She pointed the recruiting efforts of Rio Grande assistant coach Nick Wilson as a key factor in her decision to come to southeastern Ohio.

"He reached out to me and was very convincing on why I should attend Rio Grande," Higgin said.

Willey is giddy about adding a runner of Higgin's quality this late in the summer.

"I don't think that there's any question that Chantal will be a force to be reackoned with in our conference. They'll be some teams in our league who'll find themselves sorry that we have her," he said. "She's very strong in both the 100 and 200 and we're thrilled to death to have her here. She's very good."

Higgin is equally enthusiastic about getting her Rio career underway.

"Fun and Excitement 101," Higgin responded, when asked what she'll bring to the RedStorm program. "I need to improve on my block work and do some lifting to become stronger, but that's all part of trying to improve each and every year."

Higgin, who plans to major in Biology, is the daughter of Desmond and Vivia Higgin of New Castle.