On Saturday, January 28th, 2017, Luis Rivera stepped into the circle for the first time at the Findlay Elite Weight Throw Meet. In it's 11th year, the Findlay Elite meet has been home to some of the best elite Shot-Put and Weight Throw competitions in history. Search for Findlay Elite in YouTube, and you will find a vast archive of amazing performances and competitions.
As the cliche goes, if you would have told me five years ago that Luis Rivera would have been throwing in the Findlay Elite 35lb. Weight Throw competition, I probably would have had to think about it before giving my response. Over the course of the past five years, Luis has developed into one of the hardest working and dedicated athletes I have ever coached.
His hard work, dedication, grit, and persistence since he started throwing has slowly began to pay off. The biggest payoff thus far came this past Saturday. On this date, Luis broke the Puerto Rican National Record in the 35lb. Weight Throw with a toss of 21.22m (69'+). This throw placed him second in a very competitive field of unattached, Division I, and Division II throwers.
I am so proud of Luis' accomplishment in the circle. However, I am more proud of the path he has taken this year to achieve this goal, outside of the throwing circle. Luis is a full-time graduate student in the Human Resource Management program at Nazareth College. He is also a graduate assistant on the Track & Field team. Luis recently started a 20 hour a week internship in Rochester. For those that may say it is difficult to excel at many different arenas of your life I say this to you, Luis has been able to achieve his goals while balancing "life" and the daily struggles that come along with it.
Congratulations Luis on achieving one of your goals. I'm so proud of what you have accomplished in your relatively short throwing career. Next stop, the 2017 USATF Indoor Championships!
Charles Infurna, Ed.D. is the owner of Forza Athletics, a throwing club that supports and mentors high school, collegiate, & post-collegiate throwers. Dr. Infurna currently coaches DIII National Champion Luis Rivera and Savannah Cook.