Patriot senior makes rare 3 state appearances
Cooper Johnson advanced to state in robotics, golf and trap shooting.
PEQUOT LAKES -- Cooper Johnson was hoping to qualify for state in one activity this spring since it was his senior year at Pequot Lakes High School.
It turned out that Johnson achieved a rare accomplishment of advancing to three state meets - robotics, golf and trap shooting.
“It was my senior year, and I wanted to go out with a bang,” Johnson said. “I mostly wanted to be competitive in all three. And it’s starting to settle in how well things went now that the seasons have wrapped up.”
Johnson’s impressive run, which is rare for any high school student, started with robotics back in January. He focused on robotics every day right up until golf practice started in late March.
“I went from doing robotics at school to attending golf practice every day,” Johnson said. “I did have a couple robotics tournaments that overlapped with golf practice, but my golf coach (Steve Stoxen) let me go to the robotics meets.”
The Pequot Lakes robotics team first competed at the World Robotics Championship in April in Houston, Texas, before coming back to Minnesota to finish third at the state meet in May.
The next state meet for Johnson came in golf where the Patriots qualified for the Minnesota State High School League Class 2A meet after edging St. Cloud Cathedral by one stroke to win the Section 6-2A title.
“We did finish second at the section meet last year, but it had been a few years since we last qualified for state,” said Johnson, who carded a two-day total of 162 to help Pequot Lakes finish seventh at the state meet in mid-June at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.
Johnson’s next state activity was the MSHSL clay target meet June 24 when he finished seventh overall with a score of 88 out of 100, which earned him a spot on the Fleet Farm Top Gun All-State Team.
He placed 10th in the state standings during the regular season as Pequot Lakes finished in a three-way tie for the section title.
“Trap shooting is my strongest sport, so I knew that was my best chance to make it to state,” said Johnson, who had the team-high average (24.4) during the season to help Pequot Lakes tie for the Class 9A, Conference 1 title. “I had know idea (about state) in robotics since it was my first time on the team. I like what robotics is about, so I gave it a shot.”
Johnson said the key to competing in three spring activities was keeping up with his classroom work.
“I looked at all of the (spring) schedules, and my biggest concern is keeping up with schoolwork,” he said. “I was always cramming to do my schoolwork during the day, and I never fell behind. I knew it was going to be a lot with three spring activities, plus my high school and college work.”
Johnson plans to attend college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. The business major will participate in the school’s trap shooting team.
“It was a fun way to end my high school career,” he said. “My friends and teachers followed our success at state. I think the people who were surprised the most were my parents (Jason and Jackie) They supported me. My dad was one of my trap shooting coaches.”
Pete Mohs, publisher, may be reached at 218-855-5855 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Facebook.