Most of the time, Daniel Viveros is an easygoing guy who likes to joke around and have fun.
However, that all changes when it’s time for the Liberty High track and field standout to compete in his two events: the shot put and discus.
“The first thing I usually do when I get in the ring is stomp on the ground to get myself focused,” Viveros said. “When I get in there, it’s all business.”
That businesslike approach to throwing has led to some outstanding results for Viveros.
Last year, as a sophomore, he finished third in the state in the shot put.
This year, Viveros looks primed to possibly win a state championship in the shot and medal in the discus.
Through the end of March, the 6-foot, 275-pound junior, ranked No. 1 in the state in the shot put (62 feet, 8.5 inches) and No. 5 in the discus (176.5 feet).
“I’m pretty confident, with how things ended last year,” Viveros said. “I kind of expected things to be a little bit better, but I’m still pleased with how I’ve been throwing. I’ve just wanted to see a little bit bigger throws, but I’m happy with the consistency.”
Viveros began competing in the shot put and discus in fourth grade. It was a case of following in the footsteps of his older sister, Alicia, currently a thrower on the Mississippi State track and field team.
Viveros credits Alicia and his longtime throwing coach Rod Chronister for his success.
“She’s impacted me greatly, just seeing all the accomplishments she had and wanting to mimic them,” Viveros said. “She gave me something to look up to and goals to set based on what she did.”
Viveros hopes to accomplish something his sister wasn’t able to do by winning a state title.
“It would mean a lot because the last two years it’s been hard being an underclassman competing against 17- and 18-year-olds that are basically grown men,” Viveros said.
Being younger than most of his competition wasn’t the only difficulty the Viveros had to endure last year.
“Toward the beginning of (last) year, I was really having a hard time with technique and strength. I tore a tendon in my elbow during football season, so it was hard to have good practices and lift weights. It was tough to get prepared for the meets and I wasn’t doing well. But during spring break, I started to feel better. Soon afterward, I hit a big PR and then just kept going up and up and up. At state, I had the best meet of life.”
Vivero’s distance goals this season are 66-67 feet for the shot put and 185-190 feet for the discus.
“I just need to be consistent in my workouts and lifting,” Viveros said. “Make sure that my technique’s always consistent.”
Viveros, an All-League and All-Area lineman for the Liberty football team this past season, works out in the weight room four or five days a week during track season. During the offseason, he lifts weights nearly every day.
He can bench press 310 pounds, squat 540, and clean 270.
“I’m kind of small for a thrower,” Viveros said. “Most throwers are 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-5. But I am decently powerful, and it helps a lot having great technique with a great coach.”
Viveros’ outstanding throwing efforts and 4.0 grade-point average have already drawn the interest of a few college track and field programs.
Viveros wants to throw in college and possibly compete internationally, despite admitting it can sometimes be a difficult grind.
“I really love (throwing), but it’s kind of a love-hate relationship,” Viveros said. “Whenever you’re doing great, you feel like on top of a mountain. But if you have one bad meet, it kind of breaks you. You always want to do well but it’s hard. It takes a lot of work with your technique.”