Rivera’s Shot Put Best in Nation for 2015

Sophia Rivera competes in the shot put at a meet in 2014. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Sophia Rivera competes in the shot put at a meet in 2014. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

She’s tops among high schoolers; makes USA junior team

By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

Sophia Rivera of Brentwood is now the best high school shot putter in the U.S. Her put of 53 feet 5.75 inches this past weekend in Eugene, Ore., beat the previous top mark in the nation by one-quarter inch. It is also the best mark ever in the U.S. by a high school junior.

Rivera also has the No. 2 javelin throw of the year among U.S. high schoolers and is in the top 20 in the discus throw.

Competing against mostly collegiate throwers, Rivera took second place in the shot put and seventh in the javelin throw at the USATF Junior National Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 25-28 at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field. The junior division is for athletes under 20 years old. She also placed 16th among 18 in the javelin’s senior division, for collegiate and professional athletes.

Her second place in the shot put qualified her to represent the USA at the Pan American Junior Championships July 31 to Aug. 2 in Edmonton, Canada.

“So she made her first national team,” said her mother, Michelle Hassemer.

This week, June 30 and July 1, she is in Chicago competing in the World Youth Trials in an attempt to qualify for and be selected to the USA team for the IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia. The Youth division is ages 17 and under. If she qualifies, she will attend a training camp in Lisle, Ill., before leaving for Colombia.

Hassemer said Sophia will be back in Brentwood on July 3-4.

Sophia Rivera at the USATF.
Sophia Rivera smiles about her second-place medal in the shot put at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Junior Championships this past weekend in Eugene, Ore. She also finished seventh in the junior javelin and 16th in the senior javelin.

Memorable meet in Eugene

Rivera’s shot put attempt of 53-5.75 beat her previous best by 4.75 inches. The top mark of the year among U.S. high schoolers had previously belonged to Elena Bruckner of San José, Calif., 53-5.50, according to Track and Field News.

Rivera finished second only to Raven Saunders of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, who threw just over two feet farther. Rivera beat 18 other throwers, most from NCAA Division I schools such as Stanford, UNLV and the Universities of Kentucky, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Alabama and Colorado.

Rivera took seventh place in the junior javelin throw with an attempt of 151 feet 4 inches. Her personal best of 175-10 remains the No. 2 high school attempt in the U.S. this year and 16th best among all U.S. throwers.

Rivera also competed in the senior javelin throw against some of the best in the U.S. She beat only two others in the field but was excited afterward at having gotten to compete against Olympic-caliber athletes. To see her interviewed at the meet by a reporter for Milesplit.com, click here.

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