3-time state champion runner Cooper to enter KCHS Hall of Fame

WORTON — Dale Cooper was a known talent by the time he decided to come out for the track and field team in his senior year at Kent County High School.

Just weeks before he had punctuated an outstanding high school wrestling career with a third-place finish in the state tournament at 145 pounds.

But his accomplishments on the wrestling mat, which included a region title and three district titles, pale in comparison to what he did on the track in one year — three gold medals and a silver medal at states.

“Remarkably, he only ran for one year, but was very talented,” KCHS Hall of Fame coach Dennis Herrmann (inducted with the second class in 2009) wrote in an email to The Evening Enterprise.

Cooper ’86 is one of five Trojans who will be inducted into the KCHS Hall of Fame later this month. Joining him are coach and athletic director Mary Fisher, Diona Perkins ’88, Marone Brown ’91 and Danielle Brooks ’95.

The induction ceremony, which is open to the public, is Saturday, Oct. 28 at the high school.

There will be a formal unveiling of the inductees’ plaques to be permanently displayed on the Hall of Fame Wall near the KCHS gym. The actual induction ceremony will follow.

The formal event will start at 1 p.m., to be followed by light hors d’oeuvres at about 2 p.m.

The cost is $10 per person. Tickets can be purchased at the door. 

For more information, contact KCHS Athletic Director Kevin Taylor at ktaylor@kent.k12.md.us.

As the District VII and Region IV wrestling champion, Dale Cooper in 1986 matched the accomplishments of his older brother Wardell in 1983. 

And in true brotherly fashion, they both finished third in the state at 145.

Dale Cooper’s state tournament journey in 1986 might have had a different outcome had he not faced unbeaten and eventual three-time state champion Steve Shifflett of Smithsburg in the semifinals.

But after losing to Shifflett on points, Cooper came back to win the match for third. In the consolation final, he decisioned Brian Lafond of Hereford, the Region II champ, 9-4. 

We haven’t asked Cooper what led him to try out for the track and field team in the spring of ’86, but like coach Herrmann, we’re sure glad he did.

“He told me he viewed other athletes as being faster than he was, so he never tried. I don’t know why he finally did come out. Awfully glad he did,” Herrmann said in the email to The Evening Enterprise.

At the state-qualifying region meet held at Stephen Decatur High School, Cooper won the 100 meters (11.2) and 200 meters (22.9) and teamed with Bernard Brooks, Eric Jackson and Lamonte Phillips to win the 400- and 800-meter relays in 44.7 and 1:32.4, respectively.

A week later at the Class C state championships, hosted by Francis Scott Key High School, Cooper again was first to the finish line in the 100 (11.1) and 200 (22.9) meters.

The unbeaten relay of Brooks, Cooper, Jackson and Phillips took gold in the 400 in 44.8.

But what Herrmann described then as “a slight mistake in the exchange zone” proved costly in the 800. “We lingered too long and too wide and we lost a step,” he said at the time.

Stephen Decatur (1:32.5) nosed out previously unbeaten Kent (1:33.1) for the gold.

In the team scoring, Decatur, which at that time was in the same enrollment classification as Kent County, headed the field of 24 schools with 81 points.

Easton, also then a Class C school, was a distant second with 58 points.

Smithsburg (55) was third, followed by North Dorchester (50), Beall (47) and Kent County (46).

After high school, Cooper made a career in the military. He retired after 20 years with the Air Force.

He now lives in Frisco, Texas near Dallas.

Any related posts will be listed here:

One Response

Skip to content