>> Background: Cooper was a junior for Dothan High and his father, Tigers head coach Chris Cooper. He has been throwing the shot put and discus since the eighth grade. He has four individual state titles, three in outdoor (two shot put, one discus) and one indoor (shot put). He becomes the first Dothan Eagle Boys Track & Field Athlete of Year winner.
>> 2019 stats: Cooper won the state Class 6A shot put event with a throw of 58 feet, 6¼ inches, the second-best mark in Alabama this season. It was also a career best for Cooper. He placed fifth at state in the discus with a throw of 154 feet, 3 inches. He won both at state last year. For the season, he won the shot put at all nine meets, including the Meet of Champions in Mobile and the Mountain Brook Invitational. He finished first in discus four times, was runner-up three times and also earned one third and one fifth-place finish in the event.
>> Thoughts on being Dothan Eagle Track & Field Athlete of the Year: It is very exciting. It is a cool thing to realize you put in a lot of work throughout the year and get good recognition for it. It makes you know your hard work paid off.
>> What were your preseason goals? The main goal in the shot put was 60 feet and the discus 160 (feet), so I am right there at both of those goals. I finished 159 in discus and (Friday) I threw a practice throw over 60. Those goals are reachable for the summer and that is the thing with track, we throw in high school season, but my season doesn’t end until the end of summer.
>> What summer meets are you going to? The big meet I go to is the USATF Summer Olympics and that is a national competition (in Sacramento, Calif.). I finished third last year. I am looking to win this year and hopefully next year break the (national) record (in shot put).
>> How did you feel about your outdoor season? The outdoor season was actually very good. My freshman year I threw 52 and last year I went up to 54. This year at the first meet I had a PR (personal record) and it kept going up from there. I won the Meet of Champions in Mobile, which was a big deal because that was everybody in the state. We went to Mountain Brook, which is our big meet of the year, and I won that (in shot) and got third in the discus against very high competition. The throwing in Alabama got extremely good out of nowhere this year and all were juniors, so repeating as state champion was a lot harder than winning it the first time.
>> What event do you favor? The shot, for sure. I am not built for discus. If I was 6-foot-5, I would probably be good at the discus, but I am not.
>> What is your situation with recruiting? Right now I mainly am looking at Troy. Distances are key (to recruiting). Hopefully, this summer I am looking at SEC teams, but 63 feet is the mark for all that. Right after the summer will be the main recruiting time.
>> Chris Cooper on Nathan Cooper: He had an incredible year with some of the things he was able to accomplish, winning the biggest meets in Alabama. He won every single one of them (in shot put). There was only one kid who threw better during the season, a senior from Spain Park (58’8”) and that kid is going to Alabama. He (Nathan) will go out there two to three hours, six a days a week for practice. I don’t have to say anything. He is proven that he loves the sport and he wants to be the best.