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East County Athlete of the Week: Vicente Rivera

The Lakewood Ranch High boys junior won the 3,200-meter race (10:11.48) at the Lakewood Ranch Invitational.

Lakewood Ranch High junior boys runner Vicente Rivera.
Lakewood Ranch High junior boys runner Vicente Rivera.
Photo by Ryan Kohn
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Vicente Rivera is a junior on the Lakewood Ranch High boys track and field team. Rivera won the 3,200-meter race (10:11.48) by 15.35 seconds at the Lakewood Ranch Invitational, held Feb. 22 at Lakewood Ranch High. 

When did you start competitive running?

I started running as a freshman in high school. I did not know if I actually wanted to do it or not until I saw my JROTC first sergeant (Dylan Underwood) run. He was a senior. I saw how fast he could run, and I said, "I want to be like that." So I tried out for track and field that year. But I did not start taking track and cross country seriously until this year. I'm still trying to improve my times. 

What is the appeal to you?

It gives me a good feeling. I get the 'runner's high' now and then. That's a good rush. But I also think I can run in college. It could help me get into places. 

Do you prefer track or cross country?

Cross country. I like that the courses are more diverse. But I like any type of longer run, so I like doing the 1,600-meter and the 3,200-meter in track, too. 

How did it feel to win the 3,200 at the Lakewood Ranch Invitational?

It was euphoria. I did not expect to win, but I felt like I had a little more left in me at the end, so I went for it and pulled ahead. It was a personal record for me. I just thought, "Wow, I cannot believe I did it." It is my first win at the varsity level. 

What is your favorite running memory?

Well, winning the 3,200 was pretty memorable. But I also had a moment during cross country season in the fall. I was on a 10-mile run by myself near Greenbrook Adventure Park, and I went over a hill. It was a bridge that arched upward. It was beautiful. I felt peace in that moment. It was nice. 

What are your goals for this track season?

At the beginning of the season I wanted to get under 10 minutes in the 3,200. At the pace I'm going now, I feel like I'll probably break that, so now my big goal is getting under 9:50.  I also want to get under 4:40 in the 1,600. 

What is your favorite food?

I love a double cheeseburger from Culver's. I get one after every single race with my dad (Humberto Rivera). He's one of my biggest supporters, so those times of getting food with him are some of my favorite memories, too. 

What is your favorite school subject?

U.S. History. I know a good amount of it, so the tests are easy, but I also just find it interesting. The United States has gone through a lot in the last 200 years or so. It's incredible. 

What are your hobbies?

Honestly, I like to run a lot in my free time. But I also play games with my friends, or every now and then read a book. 

What is your favorite TV show?

Either the "Halo" series or "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds."

What is the best advice you have received?

Just run miles. The rest (of the skills) will come later. That's what I did. This offseason, I'd sometimes run eight miles per day. It's helping now. 

Finish this sentence: "Vicente Rivera is …"

Persistent. That's what distance running is about. You have to be persistent and consistent about hard work. 



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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