Boys Varsity Football
Spencer Rivera converted 97 percent of his extra-point and 56 percent of his field-goal attempts in two seasons as a kicker for the Columbus North football team. The Bull Dogs’ senior now will have the chance to continue kicking at the college level following his commitment to Wabash College for academics and athletics.
“I always have heard about the success that has come out of Wabash,” said Rivera, who also considered attending Franklin College and Concordia University in Chicago. “The Wabash football program has been very successful, and their work ethic is unbeatable in both football and academics. It is a small school, so getting to know your teachers is a no-brainer. I am looking forward to that.”
On the football field, Rivera converted 31-of-32 extra points and 5-of-9 field goals for 46 kicking points over the past two seasons while sharing duties with CN junior Carter Ward. In addition, Rivera averaged 46.7 yards with one touchback on 46 kickoffs. He also was a situational punter as a junior, averaging 25.3 yards with a long of 45 on three punts.
Columbus North coach Tim Bless was pleased that Rivera will have the opportunity to kick in college.
“My staff and I are happy for Spencer continuing his education at a premier college and continuing on in football,” Bless said. “His love of the sport and the disciplines of being a kicker-punter specialist, along with his positive attitude, will give him a legitimate opportunity for playing time at one of Indiana’s all-time winningest programs.”
Rivera will be joining a Wabash program that competes in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Last season, the Little Giants went 7-4 and qualified for the NCAA Division III playoffs. Historically, the Wabash football program dates to 1884 and has an all-time record of 696-392-59 over 133 seasons of competition.
Rivera dealt with Little Giants head coach Don Morel and assistant coach Olmy Olmstead during his recruitment. Rivera visited the school in late January and finalized his decision late last month.
“Coach Morel told me that I made a great choice and said he is eager to start working with me,” Rivera said. “Coach Olmstead said he can’t wait to see me for summer camp.”
Rivera said the coaches discussed various on-field possibilities with him.
“They would like to use me as both a kicker and punter, if needed,” Rivera said. “It all depends on what I bring to the table as well as what the other guys bring. In an ideal world, you would have one guy for each area – one placekicker, one kickoff specialist and one punter.”
Rivera plans to major in accounting and minor in business at the college based in Crawfordsville, Ind. He said he is looking for a post-college career in real estate, possibly in the house-flipping area.
“My goals as a freshman are to be top 10 in my class and to become a starter on the football team,” Rivera said. “Throughout my career, I would like to remain top 10 in my class while completing a business degree and giving back to the community.”
Rivera is the fifth Columbus North football player and the 18th CNHS athlete in the Class of 2020 to announce plans to pursue college athletics. He joins Mitchel Collier (Central Michigan), Jackson Davis (Butler University), Jackson Payne (Hanover College) and Landon Robbins (Valparaiso University) as Columbus North athletes who plan to play football at the next level.
A full list of Columbus North seniors who plan to pursue college athletics follows.
COLUMBUS NORTH CLASS OF 2020
Student, Sport, College Choice
* Annie Anderson, women’s golf, Rose-Hulman
* Brooke Bruin, softball, DePauw University
^ Casper Clark, baseball, Indiana University
# Mitchel Collier, football, Central Michigan
* Jackson Davis, football, Butler University
^ Caroline Hollenkamp, women’s soccer, Brandeis University (Mass.)
^ Betsy King, women’s swimming, Ball State
^ Olivia Morlok, women’s swimming, Ohio University
^ Sierra Norman, softball, Marian University
^ Lauren Opalka, volleyball, Muskingum University (Ohio)
* Jackson Payne, football, Hanover College
* Spencer Rivera, football, Wabash College
# Landon Robbins, football, Valparaiso University
* Adrienne Salemme, women’s track & field, Samford University (Ala.)
^ Erica Samuel, women’s swimming, Indiana Wesleyan
* Nicholas Schiavello, men’s basketball, Wheaton College
* Sydney Sluys, women’s cross country/track, Manchester University
Grant Trinkle, baseball, John A. Logan (Ill.) College
^ took part in ceremony on Nov. 13, 2019
# took part in ceremony on Dec. 18, 2019
* ceremony was to be in April or May 2020, ceremony canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic
PHOTO: Columbus North senior Spencer Rivera (9) follows through on an extra-point attempt during the Bull Dogs’ 21-3 victory at Terre Haute North on Sept. 27, 2019. Rivera converted 31-of-32 extra points over two seasons.