Despite her small stature, Palm Springs High School senior Rianna Flores tackles some pretty big responsibilities.
The two-sport athlete who is a lucky to reach 5-feet tall, excels on the court, on the course, in the classroom and juggles it all, even winning a national championship.
Flores, who played four years of varsity basketball and three on the golf team, posts a 4.52 GPA and captured a national title in the Health Occupations Students of America sports medicine field. She is a student trainer in the popular and award-winning program at Palm Springs and plans a career in the medical field.
She also coordinates the J.U.M.P. (junior upcoming medical professionals) program where she speaks and assists at Raymond Cree Middle school about sports medicine. If she’s not busy enough, she also holds a weekend job in an ice cream shop.
She spoke to The Desert Sun about her schedule and the Indians’ return to the CIF playoffs in girls’ basketball.
Tell us about your high school sports background.
“The summer before my freshman year I decided to try out for the golf team since my dad played the sport, and I ended up really enjoying it. I did well, making varsity my freshman year, receiving most improved my sophomore year and MVP my junior year, while also qualifying for DVL both my sophomore and junior year. Unfortunately, I actually decided not to do golf my senior year, wanting to narrow my focus more on sports medicine.
As for basketball, I also made varsity as a freshman. There wasn’t much stability in the program in the four years I’ve played, having three different coaches but I’ve managed to keep my passion for the sport and take the most I could out of it. I received MVP my junior year and first Team DVL.”
What’s ahead for spring, taking care of softball?
“In the spring I plan to focus on sports medicine, competitions, and school. I am competing in three different competitions, one in February and two in March — all focused on sports medicine.
I’m also in three AP classes, so I will also be preparing myself for the AP tests this spring. I don’ think I’ll be working a certain sport in the spring, just working in the training room and hopping around practices.”
You were the sports med leader in football, what were your main responsibilities?
“I helped make sure along with the other team leaders that everything was running smoothly. We supplied water and first aid to the athletes in need and, my favorite, taped ankles, wrists, fingers, etc., for the prevention of injury.”
What was the most memorable in football? And the least?
“The most memorable part was probably the rivalry game against Cathedral City near the end of the season. It was probably the funnest game I had worked, the vibe that everyone that attended brought was unforgettable.
The least memorable part of it — well the memory that I would most likely want to forget — would be the very last game I worked. It was the first round of CIF and we had lost, it was tough seeing the senior football players realize that their high school football season was over.”
You also are in honors/AP classes, how do you balance it all?
“I’m in AP Statistics, AP Calculus, AP English IV, Physics Honors and when it comes down to everything I do, my grades in school are what come first. In order to balance everything I just have to keep my time management skills in tact and have my priorities in order.”
With sports med, tell us about upcoming competitions and getting back to defending your title, what’s the process?
“Last year I competed in two competitions for sports medicine, St. Francis in which I placed fifth in, and for HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) which I placed first in at the state and national level. There’s a lot of expectation and pressure in defending my title at HOSA, so I’m going to be trying my absolute hardest to do that. The process involves a lot of commitment to studying and practicing my taping skills.”
What do you hope to do with sports med college/career?
“I have two careers in mind, Physical Therapy or Surgery. I’m going to be attending California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo in the fall majoring in Biology. I’m not quite sure which career path I’ll take, but hopefully I’ll get a good idea of where to go as I progress through college.”
And one more — how exciting is it going to CIF?
“I’m really excited about going to CIF, especially since my team fell short of making it to the playoffs last year. It’s been an amazing season, and I hope that we can gather everything we’ve learned about the game throughout and put it into action in CIF.”