Thrower being courted by 7 Division I universities
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Chris Thornton studied physics, engineering and law in college. He worked as the CIO for a telecommunications company, as a lawyer for a big downtown firm and now has his own law practice. In April he was elected the mayor of Brentwood.
But at the Brentwood Board of Aldermen meeting on Monday, Thornton looked out at Brentwood High School senior Sophia Rivera and, smiling, told the crowd, “She’s pretty good. I’ve never been that good at anything in my life.”
Thornton had just read a mayoral proclamation recognizing Rivera for her athletic accomplishments in track and field, calling her “an outstanding young Brentwood resident” who sets “a positive role model for all students and athletes at all levels.”
Recruiters come knocking
Rivera’s hometown isn’t the only one that’s taking notice of her accomplishments in the javelin throw, shot put and discus throw. Track and field coaches from seven NCAA Division I schools have visited her home recently: Alabama, Duke, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Stanford and Wisconsin. The coach from Duke accompanied her to a recent BHS football home game.
“They come to my home and we talk about what the program is like, what the school is like academically,” she said. “Then we go into what they do training for javelin, for shot put and how he’d mix it together for me because it’s kind of an unusual combination.”
Added Sophia’s father, Edwin, “We also talk about their academic programs and their academic assistance and tutoring for athletes.”
Rivera plans to commit to a school during the National Letter of Intent early signing period of Nov. 11-18. Before then she will have made five official visits (Duke, Oklahoma, Texas at Austin, Texas A&M and Wisconsin) and two unofficial visits (Alabama and Georgia).
Accomplishments since last city proclamation
Monday’s board of aldermen meeting was the second time the board has honored Rivera. Mayor Pat Kelly read a similar proclamation in July 2014. But she has accomplished so much more since then, with another high school track season and another globetrotting summer under her belt.
In May she set the all-time state meet record in the shot put. She has now won six state titles, three each in the shot put and discus throw, and should add two more this spring. If the javelin throw were held at the state meet she would graduate in May with not eight but 12 state titles. Missouri began allowing it as an exhibition event this past spring and in her first meet she posted what’s now the second longest throw in the U.S. for female high schoolers in 2015.
Rivera’s high school season is only part of her throwing career. Her accomplishments this summer included being on a high school all-star team that competed in Cuba, the first U.S. athletes to do so in almost 20 years.
Then she went to North Carolina where she won both the shot put and the javelin throw at the New Balance Nationals outdoor championships.
Then it was on to Oregon, where she uncorked the longest high school shot put of the season in the U.S., and the best mark ever by a high school junior.
The Oregon meet qualified her to represent the USA at the Pan American Junior Championships in Canada, where she won second place in the shot put.
Rivera also went to Santiago de Cali, Colombia, for the IAAF World Youth Championships. She took second place in the shot put and eighth in the javelin, despite being the first ever to compete in two events simultaneously at an IAAF championship.