Lefty Lozano launches into record books

Lefty Lozano launches into record books

By Symone Woolridge

“Knock Knock.” “Who’s there?” “Second place.” “Second place who?”

For junior thrower Sophia Lozano, it was second place no more after a teammate riled her with the humorous yet encouraging joke.

Lozano, who at a point in her career almost always came up short, launched a 68-foot weight throw that landed her in 14th in the national rankings and fifth all-time at Southern Illinois University.


She was knocked down to second place by Bowling Green State University thrower Brooke Pleger three times before winning the weight throw on her final attempt.

Lozano, who has been a Missouri Valley Conference scholar-athlete, established her name in the SIU history books and triumphed through struggles to be noticed as a definite threat.

The Missouri woman was not always throwing. In fact, she nearly decided to attend the University of Missouri until throwing coach John Smith saw potential in her.

“Her determination and willingness to put in the work makes her stand out; she has a really good work ethic,” Smith said. “In today’s generation you don’t see that often. I tell people I quit recruiting about 10 years ago because there’s a lot of talented people who don’t want to work.”

This season, the junior has finished first in the weight throw four times out of her last six meets.

Along with missing four classes nearly every week because of a busy training schedule, a job as a Community Assistant and schoolwork, Lozano has still managed to succeed in the classroom. The number wiz remembers everything from proof by induction in her math classes, to the times distance-runners had weeks ago.

Academics are very important to Lozano and she hopes to become an All- Academic All-American.


“It just means a lot to me that I’m a top athlete and a top student,” she said. “I think those kinds of awards mean just as much to me as any athletic award.”

Lozano said sophomore thrower Josh Freeman is not only a teammate but also someone she can lean on during her trials and tribulations.

Freeman said he gave Lozano tough love and the realistic yet uplifting knock-knock joke, which was only intended to make her much more determined to finish first.

“She’s always behind someone and I asked her if she’s tired of being second place,” Freeman said. “It’s not like she’s getting blown away, she’s right there, close to being number one.”

Lozano’s confidence has grown drastically. She no longer stresses about the butterfly nerves in her stomach, and has done nothing but give it her all.

Coach instills in us—you can’t be nervous at a D-I level,” she said “You have to go into it with aggression and give it everything you’ve got.”

Growing up in a family of nine, Lozano has always had a broad support system that stood behind her. One of Lozano’s brothers passed away in 2011 and ever since then, she has done everything in her power to keep his spirit around, especially when she is competing.

“I tell myself I’m doing this for him,” she said. “He knew a lot about throwing and one of the biggest reasons it was so disappointing not making it to state was because I just never made it, and he believed in me.”

Although one of her motivators is physically gone, Lozano still wears her heart on her sleeve and her passion on her back. The loss of her brother made her stronger, mentally and physically as an athlete.

Lozano’s proud father, Chris Lozano, said he could not be happier about his daughter’s success. Chris and Sophia’s mother, Nancy, try to make it to as many meets as they can.

Chris said it’s fun to watch Sophia, especially after knowing how hard she works and perseveres while never mentioning the word “quit.”

“In her first few years of college she was always overshadowed,” Chris said. “She just kind of snuck up on everybody because she’s been in the shadow of so many great throwers.”

Juggling it all, the Saluki’s drive and compassion for the game has made her a prospect to look out for. The second place spot no longer has Lozano’s name on it, and she is destined to make it to the top.

Lozano and her teammates face the most important meet of their season yet. This weekend’s MVC Indoor Championships will begin Saturday in Cedar Falls, Iowa, which will determine who will compete in the NCAA Championships.

Symone Woolridge can be reached at swoolridge@ dailyegyptian.com on twitter @swoolridge_DE or ext. 536-3311 ext. 269