Rivera set for 1st of 2 meets on Team USA
For most Missouri high school track and field athletes their seasons came to an end in early May. For those good enough to advance through District and Sectional competition, their seasons came to an end in late May at the state track and field championships. For a small number, their seasons continued on their own at regional or national competitions or for a club team. For Brentwood High School’s senior-to-be Sophia Rivera, her season is weeks away from ending, and it’s likely she’s had the busiest summer ever for a Missouri prep track and field athlete.
After winning the Class 2 discus and breaking the state meet all-class shot put record at the Missouri State Championships, Rivera has traveled to compete in: Marietta GA, Albuquerque NM, Havana Cuba, Greensboro NC, Eugene Or, Lisle IL, and now she’s about to compete in two other countries while representing USA Track and Field.
Rivera is in Cali, Colombia, and on the Team USA roster of 49 16-17 year-olds competing in the World Youth Championships. The biennial World Youth Championships is held for the best 16 and 17 year-olds from countries all over the World.
After the Class 1-2 State Track meet, where Rivera won the Class 2 Discus with a best of 154-09 and destroyed the All-Class Shot Put state meet mark with each of her six throws farther than the record mark of 47-7.75 and she had a best of 51-1.25, Rivera headed out of state. Her IAAF athlete page shows she competed in the discus with a best toss of about 153′ in Marietta, Ga. on May 31. The following week, Rivera won the Javelin and Shot Put while taking 3rd in the discus at the Great Southwest Track Classic in Albuquerque, NM. A week later, Rivera was a part of a team of US athletes selected by the National Scholastic Sports Foundation to compete in Havana, Cuba for the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational. In the small meet, Rivera earned three top-3 finishes, wining the shot put, taking 2nd in the Javelin, and taking third in the discus.
Next came the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championships in Greensboro, NC. Rivera added her second and third career national titles with wins in the shot put; with a new Missouri State Record of 53-1, and the Javelin with a best of 157-2. Rivera also added a sixth-place finish in the discus. Then came the USA Track and Field Junior and Senior Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Or. Rivera increased her state record in the junior shot put with a 53-5.75, to take second behind NCAA champion Raven Saunders of Southern Illinois. Later that day, Rivera competed in the Senior Javelin. Rivera placed 16th in the field of collegians, post-collegians, and professionals, with a best toss of 157-11. The following day, Rivera competed in the junior javelin where she placed 7th with a 151-4.
A few days later were the World Youth Champs Trials in Lisle, Il. Rivera was looking for a top-two finish and solid marks so she could be chosen for the World Youth Championships U.S. team. In the discus she took 7th with a 138-10, but recovered to win both the shot put and the javelin. In the shot put, results show Rivera won with a 59-04.25 mark, although it’s unclear if the international 16-17 year-olds use the same implement as high schoolers and juniors. In the javelin, Rivera got close to her season best of 175 with a 169-03 toss for the win. Rivera’s ability and potential to be competitive at Worlds was clearly evident and she was selected to the team to compete in both the shot put and javelin.
The World Youth Championships won’t be the only time this summer that Rivera will get to wear the official USA Track and Field uniform. Rivera’s runner-up finish in the shot put at the USATF’s junior championship qualifies her for the Pan American Junior Games, to be held in Edmonton, Canada in several weeks.
At any point this summer Sophia could have shut it down and called it a season. She had done enough to make her the number one throwing female recruit in the country and made college coaches drool, but it’s obvious Sophia loves track and field, if she didn’t, she couldn’t have kept the schedule she has. Her ability is amazing and getting to compete for her country, twice in the same summer will surely be an experience she’ll never forget.
2015 IAAF World Youth Champs Sophia Rivera schedule
Wednesday June 15th
17:00/17:00=5pm CST Javelin Group A Prelims
Thursday June 16th
09:35/09:35am CST Shot Put(3kg) Prelims
19:30/19:30=7:30pm CST Shot Put Finals
19:35/19:35=7:35pm CST Javelin Finals