North Dallas senior Jeremiah Cooper has a favorite saying that he carries with him into every match. The words give him the strength to do his best.
“I say to myself, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,'” Jeremiah said recently. “It pushes me to go forward, strives me to do better. And it keeps your mind from thinking about all the work. It makes it a little bit easier.”
Jeremiah and the Bulldogs will be heading to the district meet this Thursday and Friday at Conrad High School. Cooper is the returning district champion at 132 pounds, but he has been wrestling at 145 pounds this season.
Jeremiah, and teammates Pilar Pineda (119 pounds) and Jayla Macintosh (165 pounds) each qualified for regionals at last year’s district meet.
“I think he can repeat as district champ. He’s going surprise a lot of kids,” North Dallas wrestling coach Matthew Clay said. “He’s a good wrestler, and his strength is going to help him. But we’re looking past district and getting ready for regionals.”
Jeremiah said his “ultimate goal” is to go to state.
“Trying to go to state. I’m all in,” he said. “I’m giving it all I got. It’s my ultimate goal. It’s any wrestler’s ultimate goal. I’m trying to go as far as I can to the top.
“Even though they are heavier than me, basically, it feels like I’m wrestling where I need to be right now.”
Jeremiah said his preparation for the district meet has been to work harder.
“Twice as hard. If coach says ‘Do 10,’ I’ll try to do 20,” he said. “I’ve got to double on everything. I have to. I have to be better than my best.
“This year, I have a little bit more discipline and a lot more technique.”
Wrestling matches are similar to a game of chess, Jeremiah said, adding that his strategy isn’t always how it goes.
“It’s knowing the moves before the moves come,” he said. “It’s like a game of chess; you have to be one step in front of your opponent at all times.”
Competing in a heavier weight class, Jeremiah has been facing new wrestlers this season.
“Most of the guys eluded me because I’m not in the same weight class,” he said. “But as far as the teams go, they pretty much have the same styles as far as wrestling goes. It should be pretty fun.”
Asked about the fun part of wrestling, Jeremiah said:
“Just wrestling period. Just going against other opponents and half the time not knowing who your opponents are going to be,” he said. “Finally, knowing that you worked hard enough to beat someone.”