With each swing of her golf club, Texas Southern sophomore Kassandra Rivera is making history...

That strive to perfection, I guess that s what gotten me here, says Rivera.

Her golf journey started when she was 4 years old. Her dad would take her to their local course down in the Rio Grande Valley.

It was hot outside, says Rivera. My dad would get after me all the time.

Despite her frustrations, Rivera kept playing and she kept improving, enough so that she caught the eye of long time TSU coach Hank Stewart who offered her a scholarship after a golf tournament during her junior year in high school.

Honestly, no other coach really looked at me, says Rivera. I sent out several tapes, but no one responded.

Rivera is currently ranked in the top 10 in the nation among Division 1 golfers with an average score of 71.63. Her career low is 66 and she is the first player ever from a historically black college to be ranked in the top 150.

Never in the history of Texas Southern golf has a player ranked that high nationally, says TSU head coach Hank Stewart. In my years as a player at TSU, an assistant coach and a head coach, I cannot recall any HBCU player ranking in the top 10.

A lot of people have a misconception that they need to go to a big school or a big conference to get recognized, says Rivera. You don t need that. If you work hard and do what you re supposed to do, you can make it from anywhere.

Which in Kassandra s case is more than just what college she comes from.

My parents sacrificed a lot to get me to all these tournaments, says Rivera. They were trying to find every penny to help us get over there. It was hard.

Difficulties which have definitely paid off.

My dad is proud and he s happy, says Rivera. He s still mad that he doesn t really beat me anymore.

A trade-off worth taking any day.

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