Yosemite High 2012 graduate Riley Cooks earned the title of top junior college woman athlete in the state after winning the seven-event heptathlon at the State Junior College Track & Field Championship May 16-17 at Mt. San Antonio College in Southern California.
Cooks, a sophmore at Cuesta Community College who placed second in the heptathlon at last year's state meet, broke her own heptathlon school record with 5,110 points. On her way to the title, she won the 200 meter dash, and placed second in the remaining five events (high jump, shot put, long jump, javelin, and 800 meters). She lowered her 100 hurdles school record to 14.33.
Cooks ends her cuesta track & field career with three school records and a Top 10 mark in seven events.
Last week she was presented with the Cuesta College 2014 George Silveria Career Student/Athlete Award, and the school's Athlete of the Year. Cooks is one of the most decorated track and field athletes in the history of Cuesta.
"Riley is extremely coachable and eager to learn," Coach Brian Locher said. "She leads by example for the team and quietly guides her peers. She is willing to do whatever it takes on meet day to help her team and beat the competition. A good sportsman, though very competitive. That's the way we like them!"
Cooks was also the school's volleyball team MVP for each of the past two seasons and a two-time All Western State Conference First Team selection as an outside hitter. She led the 2013 team to a 14-9 record and third place in the Western State Conference. Cooks was the Cougars' top offensive threat and paced the team with 278 kills.
"Riley is a dynamic, explosive volleyball player," Coach Roche Nystrom said. "She's a great team leader and player. Always hard working and striving to improve her performance."
She is a two-time all-conference academic selection and has compiled a 3.39 GPA, while competing every semester at Cuesta.
The award takes into consideration a student-athletes' career as an athlete, their involvement in the college and community, sportsmanship, citizenship, coachability and leadership on and off the field. In a sense, this award exemplifies type of athlete Cuesta College strives to mold.
In 1966, the Cuesta Athletic Booster Club Board of Directors established the George Silveria Student/Athlete Career Award.
This award honors and serves as a memorial for George Silveria, a graduate of the original San Luis Obispo District Junior College in 1948. He was the captain of the championship football team in 1947, an executive member of the student body, a dedicated student and extensively involved in the community. The World War II veteran was well respected by his teammates, coaches, teachers and peers. Silveria passed away in 1961, after battle with leukemia.
Cooks, who was the North Sequoia League MVP in both soccer and volleyball her junior and senior year, signed her National Letter of Intent last week to attend Long Beach State in the fall on a full scholarship.