Try as you might, but it’s unlikely to find two more polar-opposite athletes in track and field than Daniel Viveros and Moises Medrano.
Viveros is a big-haired, burly Liberty sophomore who has become one of the nation’s premier prep shot putters.
Medrano, a Highland junior, is a lean middle- and long-distance runner on his way to becoming the next great 800-meter runner in Kern County.
What is similar is the drive both possess to be at the top in their respective events. Also, they both finished third in the CIF State Championships last month.
Viveros and Medrano are the BVarsity Boys Track and Field Co-Athletes of the Year.
“That’s one thing I like about track is you get athletes from all different sports and different sizes,” Medrano said. “That’s what makes it great.”
Medrano and Viveros were each great in their own events this season.
Viveros finished third in the state with a throw of 62 feet, 4.5 inches in the finals.
The goal going into the season was to surpass 60 feet and contend for a state medal with state champion Jonah Wilson of Clovis and his cousin, Jacob Wilson of Clovis-Buchanan, looming just up Highway 99.
Working in the weight room as much as he is in the shot put ring, Viveros had high confidence he could clear 60 feet.
“I threw at the national meet for my age group and I threw a 55, so I thought it was within reach,” Viveros said. “I just worked really hard on my technique and in the weight room to finish strong.”
Viveros watched and competed against the Wilsons all season while finding his way in the event.
“It was really cool that they were giving me support and they really wanted to see me do good,” Viveros said. “It’s a great feeling to know for the next few years.”
Medrano, a junior at Highland, wasn’t as keyed in on his goal for this season.
After he won the Central Section Division II cross country title last fall, his initial focus in track was on the 1,600.
As the season progressed, Medrano was succeeding in both the 1,600 and 800, but his times in the 800 were in the top five in the state, while his 1,600 was hovering in the 70s because of the huge field of high-end distance runners in the state.
So, the focus shifted.
“It was really weird,” Medrano said. “Jumping to the (800) was really nerve-racking. Every time I raced, I was nervous. It doesn’t feel as tactical as the mile because it goes by so fast. That’s just another thing I had to adjust to. But it being so short makes it more exciting.”
And it paid off for Medrano, who became the sixth consecutive 800 section champion from Kern County and the fourth consecutive county runner in the event’s state finals. He earned his first state track medal with a third-place finish in 1:51.67.
“That’s not how I thought my season would end, with a medal in the 800,” Medrano said. “I thought it would been in the mile walking off the podium.”
Now the focus moves to what’s next for both.
Viveros will be the state’s top returner in the shot put next year, something he said is “crazy to think about.”
“I try not to think about it too much, because that would make it even harder on myself,” he added.
Good thing Viveros has a couple of distractions in the meantime: He’s a starting offensive lineman for Liberty’s football team and is back on the basketball team after a year off.
Medrano, who holds a 4.3 grade-point average, will head into cross country knowing he is willing to be flexible with his final track season next spring after such great success this year.
“I don’t know how next year will unfold,” Medrano said. “When it comes around, I will refocus my goals.”