Presented byTHE U.S. MARINE CORPS
NIA TOLIVER has speed (12.1 seconds in the 100 meters), strength (she routinely pushes a 250-pound homemade workout sled in her backyard) and immeasurable determination. She could be a standout in any sport, but the senior honors student at View Park Prep in South Los Angeles plays rugby, and in a discipline not known for many women or minority participants, she's a role model and ambassador. Nia travels the globe as a captain for her high school squad and as a member of the national Girls' High School All-American team. She hopes to compete in college and at the 2016 Olympics. But her goal at home is to inspire the youth players she coaches through the Inner City Education Foundation public schools' rugby program, where she got her start. "You have to give kids something to shoot for," she says. "If they see you and you're tangible, you're real and you're doing it, it makes them want to do it too." For more on Nia, visit SI.com/HSathlete.
ALEXANDRA FENWICK FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (TOLIVER)