By Shanna Shernaman |Staff Writer|
CSUSB Track and Field athlete Cynthia Rivera has been running competitively for seven years.
Rivera started racing her freshman year at San Gorgonio High School.
“I was a soccer player at first,” said Rivera.
“Then my PE teacher recruited me,” continued Rivera.
In high school, Rivera always came in first when running the mile in her PE class.
“I remember these two boys always want
ed to race me,” said Rivera.
Eventually, Rivera’s gym teacher saw potential in her being a runner and began to recruit her for the school’s cross country team.
“I told him I didn’t have a way to [get to] practice and he provided me with transportation,” said Rivera.
“I told him I didn’t have shoes and he got me a pair of shoes,” added Rivera.
According to Rivera, as hard as she tried to make excuses, her teacher was set on getting her to run. He even went as far as to ask her parents if she could join the team.
“I felt like I had to do it because he was trying so hard. I actually ended up liking it,” said Rivera.
Rivera started running steeplechase last year when her coach noticed that she would always jump over a gate on their runs.
“Everyone was always going around this gate. I always thought it wasted time, so I started hopping over it,” said Rivera.
Rivera is working hard to become faster by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Conference Championships in May.
Currently, Rivera is one of three steeplechasers on the team and holds the school record of 11:31.
Steeplechase is a long distance event where competitors jump over four barriers and a water-pit for seven and a half laps
“For this year I really hope, hope, hope, hope that I am able to hit low 11’s,” said Rivera.
“I really want to break 11 [minutes] by championships,” added Rivera.
According to Rivera, she’s been putting in a lot of miles in order to break her record. She not only practices with the team but also logs in extra evening miles on her own.
“Evening runs, you average around three to four miles,” said Rivera.
“Then we have 300’s [meters] on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are long distance and tempo, then speed again on Wednesday,” continued Rivera.
For Rivera, the 3000-meter steeplechase is the missing piece she needed this season.
“I like that it has obstacles around the track,” said Rivera.
“You aren’t just running laps so you don’t get bored. It’s an intense interesting race,” added Rivera.
Rivera finds her motivation to run from her team. They encourage her daily to give her best every workout and race.
“Just having positive outcomes out of the teammates makes me want to do better myself,” said Rivera.
Rivera is passionate about her sport and has learned a lot in her seven years competing.
“It’s kind of like life; of course you feel the pain, but you eventually overcome it,” said Rivera.