Veronica Cooper, Cleveland Tiger sophomore wrestler, was chosen to compete in the 2019 World of Wresting 23rd Annual Kickoff Classic at Expo Square Pavilion in Tulsa. This year was her 7th time to compete.
In the crowded hallways of school, she might seem like just another student — a girl of shorter height, at 5 feet, with a big smile on her face and a drive to excel in her classes. Though she be little, she is fierce. Cooper can squat 250 pounds and bench press 195, more than her body weight. She has grown her inner warrior since she was 9 years old.
She wants to prove the boys wrong, that girls can do anything. “Girls can do anything they put their mind to,” she said. Many times all her strength goes into defense against boys who wrestle twice as hard against her to avoid being ridiculed for losing to a girl. If she has to practice and compete against sweaty boys, the chance to wrestle is worth it. “She’s a very good wrestler and an even better person,” said Coach Bryan Till. “She works hard when she’s in the room and she always gives 100%.” She loves wrestling’s demands; the discipline and commitment required to control an opponent using skill, technique and grit. Her bedroom is filled with 27 wrestling trophies, 63 medals, and 2 plaques, commemorating her wrestling highlights. She won state in 2019; she is a 3-time state placer, and a 5-time national placer.
246 girls from all around the world were chosen to compete in the World of Wrestling Annual Kickoff Classic. Winners were medaled 1st through 4th. Cooper had 23 girls in her bracket and she placed 4th. “It was a hard tournament and I put everything I had on the mat, I gave 110%,” she said.
Cooper is looking forward to the wrestling season with the Tigers and is hoping to return to state. “High school girls wrestling is the fastest growing sport now; I will only have to wrestle girls this year.” She has a goal to wrestle at Oklahoma State University.