Cooper Reves will soon be a sixth grader, but he already has state titles under his belt. That's only some of the accomplishments he has achieved at 12 years old. Once he reaches middle school, there will be more to come.
Reves is 53-16 in his young career. Almost half of those wins were by pinfall. He started wrestling at the age of six. Even though he is active in other extracurricular activities, wrestling is his top priority. Especially now at the national scale after qualifying for dual teams around the country.
"He works hard training, practicing and competing, so when all his effort pays off, everyone is very proud of him," Melissa Reves, Cooper's mother, said. "He was ecstatic and never gets used to it. The awesome thing about Cooper is that wrestling has taught him to be a good winner and a good loser. Often when he finishes a match, he's helping his opponent up, giving them a hug, or hanging out with them after. I never get used to seeing him win. Wrestling is an emotional sport because the wrestlers are out on the mat alone. There is no assistance from a team. He gets out what he puts in, and every win is like him winning his first match ever."
Cooper is rated as four-star at 102 pounds. Moving from Rock Creek when he was in the fifth grade of last year, Cooper trains nonstop and wrestles in three different categories, which are folkstyle, freestyle and Greco Roman. There are days Cooper is with the Mac Wrestling Club, and there are other days he's practicing in other cities such as Salina, Abilene and Junction City. He would also attend wrestling camps around the country, put in extra hours in workouts after practice, and take private lessons on the side. The grind never stops for the 12-year old, and his willingness and motivation remained with him along the way.
"His dad helped keep him motivated when he was younger, learning the sport along with Cooper and helping coach," Melissa Reves said. "He has amazing coaches and a group of people who love him and work hard to make him successful. You see that at tournaments when there are 10 guys standing in his corner coaching and cheering him on.
We try to get him into camps with people who have had success as a coach or athlete for different skills. He has met some of the top wrestling names in the state and country, and they are something he aspires to be. He loves seeing his friends at these places and doesn't have to be motivated to go. It's a group of kids who love wrestling as much as he does and want to improve."
Outside of wrestling, he also plays football, and is involved in the in honor choir, and was on Student Council. Despite concerns of injuries and overworking Cooper, his commitment and dedication to the sport is the stepping stone of Cooper's success.
"Wrestling takes a lot of discipline that other sports don't because it is so individualized," Melissa Reves said. "However, Cooper wants to succeed, and he knows what it takes to get better. He likes to work out, he likes going to practices and seeing his friends and coaches from around the state, and he's good about being healthy, so that may mean not eating the birthday cupcake at school when he has weigh-ins that night, but it's up to him. He is a good kid, and I know that wrestling has helped guide him to be very respectful and a good role model for others."
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page