When Daniel Viveros began his high school career at Liberty in 2016, his goal was to hit the 45-foot mark in the boys shot put.
Three years later, Viveros leaves high school as one of the best in the event in state history and one of only four in California history to eclipse the 70-foot barrier.
“Coming in freshman year, you don’t really expect much,” Viveros said. “You just hope you can just keep progressing and getting better and better. Once you start throwing 60 feet you start to wonder how far you can throw. You just keep throwing and it keeps going and going. It’s just amazing.”
Viveros won his second consecutive CIF State Track and Field shot put title in May and at the South Area Championships in May 8, set his personal-best with a mark of 71-3, which stands as the third-best mark in state history.
For his efforts, Daniel Viveros is the BVarsity All-Area Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year for the third consecutive season.
Only Van Mounts, who was also a two-time state champion in the shot put at Bakersfield High in 1997-98 has a better mark (71-10) in Central Section history, but that came during National Scholastic competition.
In high school competition in state history, Viveros trails only state-record holder Brent Noon from San Diego-Fallbrook (76-2, 1990) and Matt Katnik from Bellflower-St. John Bosco (72-3, 2015).
Viveros, who is headed to Ole Miss on scholarship next season, said being the same conversation as the best in state history is very meaningful.
“It means everything to me,” Viveros said. “Seeing guys like Matt Katnik at state and Arcadia (Invitational) and seeing how far (the best) far can throw and then being able to say that I was right there with them. It’s amazing and mind-blowing. It still hasn’t really set in.”
Viveros finished third in the shot put as a sophomore at state and then went on to win 33 consecutive shot put events to end his high school career. Viveros also finished fifth at state this season in the discus and was a two-time All-Area first-team offensive lineman on the football team.
“He might be the greatest two-sport guy I have ever been around,” Liberty track and field coach Ryan Renz said. “To be that big and be as agile as he is. Plus the humble way he goes about his life, he’s silent, but he’s so good. You compare him to two-sport guys like Cody Kessler.”
When Viveros won state as a junior in 2018, his best mark was 63-10.25. Viveros was coming off a knee injury suffered during football season and wanted to better prepare himself mentally and physically.
Viveros took up a vegan diet and began eating six small meals a day to improve his metabolism and was able to regain flexibility that allowed him to use more momentum in his throws.
“It helps a lot,” Viveros said. “I felt more refreshed everyday and felt better.”
His confidence also improved.
At South Area, he was able to complete throws in the shot above 65 feet while just “muscling” his attempts in the preliminary heats.
Then when it came time to unleash his first 70 foot-plus throw, he knew right away it was special.
“As soon as I released it,” Viveros said. “I was just muscling the first throws and then I was finally able to get my leg up and felt so much torque in that throw and I knew it was going to go far. I knew it was going to be 69 feet or 70. But it just kept going.”
To cap off his high school career, Viveros also medaled at state with a fifth-place finish in the discus (176-9) and had a PR of 195-5 in the event, which also puts him in rarified air as one of the best all-around throwers in state history, too.
“There is a lot of pride to say I am up there with all of those greats and I can call myself a great,” Viveros said. “I still cannot believe it.”