Rivera headed to Menlo College
Brady Rivera finally answered the football or wrestling question Thursday afternoon.
Rivera, a three-year starter for coach Blair Roman’s football squad and a four-year wrestling starter for Tim McCarthy and Paul Carter, signed to wrestle at Menlo College in Atherton, Ca.
The 225-pound Rivera, a two-time regional champion and four-time state-meet participant, will be joining a NAIA program ranked fourth in the region and 13th in the country last season.
That, and being in the Bay Area, was enough to bypass his dad’s alma mater, Western Colorado, which wanted him for both football and wrestling.
“He (dad, Reagan) was trying to convince me to go to Western,” said Brady Rivera. “He’s always wanted me to go there. They wanted me for both. I didn’t really want to do two sports.
“The (Menlo) coach talked to me during the season. At first, I wasn’t very interested. When I went there for a visit, I was sold. I really liked the team; cool guys. They are close to Google and to Stanford. I’m going to major in Business Management or International Business, and they are considered the Silicon Valley Business School.”
And, if that’s not enough, former NFL great Jerry Rice owns a home right behind the school’s baseball field, and is often seen running on the track.
Rivera, who wrestled at 215 his senior season at Carson, is going to wrestle heavyweight for Menlo. The next weight down was 195, which would have been a stretch for Rivera to make.
“I’m glad,” he said. “I don’t have to cut (weight) now. I’ve already gained 12 pounds since wrestling ended. If I can get to a solid 250 I’ll be OK. I’ve got the rest of spring and all summer to do it.”
The Oaks, who are losing their two-time All-American heavyweight Scott Brasil to graduation, are counting on Rivera to make an immediate impact.
“He’s going to be a little smaller his freshman year (than other guys),” Menlo coach Joey Martinez said. “He’ll grow into that weight. I’ve been following him since last year. I didn’t get to see him wrestle this year. He had a good career in high school, and he has a huge upside. I think his best wrestling is yet to come.
“He moves well for a big guy. He’s athletic and strong. There is always going to be a transition from high school to college no matter how good you are, but I think his will be a fast one. He has a great work ethic. He is going to wear people out. In college you have to do everything well to beat the top guys.”
Carter thinks it will be a good fit for his former pupil, who posted 44 wins this year and won more than 100 in his career.
“It’s a good school,” Carter said. “They have a good program.
“I think he fits what they were looking for. I originally e-mailed him (Martinez) about both Brady and Brady O’Keefe.”
Rivera came on strong this year on the gridiron after being shifted to defensive end. He played a big role in Carson’s undefeated Sierra League season, earning all-league and all-region honors.
Besides Western Colorado, Drake and Simon Fraser were both interested in Rivera for football. Neither Drake or Simon Fraser offered enough scholarship money, however, to get him to sign on the dotted line.
Carter said he also contacted Southwest Baptist’s football coach about Rivera.
“I’m going to miss football a lot,” Rivera said. “I had a lot of really good memories playing football, and I’m OK with those memories.
“I’m more excited than nervous. I had a lot of fun in high school, athletically and socially, and I’m ready to end that chapter and start a new one.”