Sunnyside Class of 2022 graduate Jaime Rivera Jr., who attended the United States Military Academy West Point last school year, will join the Army West Point wrestling team in 2023-24 as part of a nationally-ranked recruiting class.
The incoming class for coach Kevin Ward features nine state champions, three All-Americans, and a pair of NHSCA finalists.
It was ranked nationally 17th by Intermat and 20th by MatScouts.
“We are thrilled to welcome another dynamite class of freshmen to our program and look forward to the impact they will make on our team,” Ward stated in a Army West Point press release. “These are young men who truly embody what it means to chase greatness and all they do and I’m excited to get to work with them right away.”
Some of Rivera’s accomplishments to date:
- Attended United States Military Academy West Point.
- Ranked No. 193 by MatScouts.
- Wrestles at 149 pounds.
- Four-time state finalist.
- Three-time state champion.
- Reno Tournament of Champions All-American.
- National All-American.
- Named Honor Roll.
- Distinguished Sunnyside High School graduate.
- National Academic All-American Team.
- Wrestled for the Sunnyside Wrestling Club/Academy.
Rivera is also distinguished historically as the first Sunnyside graduate to attend West Point.
“He’s a leader, someone who can really set the tone in the wrestling room,” Sunnyside coach Anthony Leon said of Jaime Jr. “You need those guys. We’ve had them in the past but sometimes you don’t pick the institution, the institution picks you.”
Rivera has two younger brothers — Sunnyside senior Cristian Rivera and freshman Giovani Rivera — who are highly successful in their young wrestling careers.
Cristian is a repeat state champion who won at 144 pounds last season.
He is set to make his announcement soon for his collegiate wrestling plans.
Giovani earned middle-school wrestling titles while at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate the last two years.
Jaime Jr. has made an impact on the wrestling careers of his brothers, and he plans to use his experience at West Point and beyond to help youths in the community.
“Leadership is something I take super seriously,” Jaime Jr. said. “It’s one of the reasons I chose West Point to be honest. Being able to pave the road for people of the school and the community to follow behind in my footsteps, in their own way, is something big to me.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.