May 1, 2002
Junior sparkplug softball player Roni Rivera was recently selected to represent Santa Clara University at the 2002 NCAA Foundation Leadership Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, May 26-30.
The conference, held at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex and Coronado Springs Resort, is made up of 300 student-athletes from across the nation from Division I through Division III programs. Rivera is one of 13 softball players in the nation going to this year's event. Every year, each institution nominates four people and the NCAA selects one. The NCAA received 1,183 nominations from 296 institutions for the 2002 conference.
Junior Pati Ruiz from women's tennis, freshman Rahim Walker from men's soccer, and sophomore Rick Ruso from men's tennis, were SCU's other nominees, each having to complete an essay for the for the NCAA to choose from.
"I put a lot into the essay," Rivera said. "But, I was completely blown away when I was picked."
Many can attest to the fact that Rivera is a perfect candidate to represent SCU at this year's conference. "The NCAA selects student-athletes who they believe can be change agents on their campus. Roni could not have been a better choice for this conference," said Academic Support Coordinator and head of the Student-Athlete Leadership Council, Valeri Quintero.
Rivera, a catcher from Azusa, Calif., is one of the most active members of SALC and has already brought much leadership to the athletic department. She has organized several activities to help increase the spirit between teams, including the "Flag Run" for the soccer games and the Athlete Ball, which the council hopes to make an annual event.
There has been much talk the past few years about having a student-athlete formal event, but as the Chair of the event committee, Rivera decided that it was time to put the idea into action and go for it. Rivera hopes to take away even more experiences and ideas to apply to the rest of her time at SCU both on and off the field. When asked what her expectations of the conference in Florida were, she said, "I expect to learn leadership things that will help my team and go beyond that by improving the overall student-athlete's experience at Santa Clara."
"I think the athletic department needs to be ready to go when Roni returns from the conference because I know she will," said Quintero.
On top her extracurricular activities, Rivera maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.2, majoring in History. Fellow teammate and Co-Captain Deanna Rodriguez said, "Roni's approach to doing things and determination on the field both mentally and physically has helped me want to improve as a pitcher."
Head softball coach Marcy Crouch also had some remarkable things to say about Rivera as well. "She is an intense young lady who operates at 100 percent in all areas of life. Her passion and energy are contagious and she has a very bright future ahead of her. She is very deserving of the opportunity to attend the NCAA conference and is an excellent representative for Santa Clara Athletics."