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The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

April 9, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Vote for Dom Cooks in national inspiration contest

Dominique Cooks is an inspirational young man I had the chance to write about last fall, and you can read the story here.

Now he is a finalist for a national contest sponsored by USA Today, and you can help him win!

The details are in this press release from the Federal Way School District:

Who:  Dominique Cooks, a high school senior with an inoperable brain tumor who graduated with his sister in a special graduation ceremony Feb. 20, thanks to students and administrators at Decatur High School in Federal Way, Wash.

What: Cooks is a finalist in the 2014 Air National Guard USA TODAY High School Sports Inspiration contest. Cooks is now one of 10 finalists from across the country, which started two weeks ago with 100 inspirational student/athletes. Cooks has advanced through two rounds of voting on the national newspaper’s website, to make it into the top 10. In order to win the contest, he needs the votes of everyone that finds his story inspiring. Voting starts Thursday, April 10, and goes through Monday, April 14 at 9 a.m. 

During the first two rounds, Cooks has received over 100,000 votes. Nevertheless, as voting closed on Monday Dom was in 11th place, thousands of votes away from 10th place. But, on Tuesday morning, Teri Galloway, Decatur’s assistant athletic director, received a call from the USA today informing her that an athlete from Kansas City, Nick Hibbeler, withdrew because he is inspired by Dom and wants him to advance. With that act of sportsmanship, Dom is now in the finals. 

Nicholas Hibbeler, a soccer player from Park Hill High School in Kansas City, finished in 10th place in the semifinal round. Hibbeler was diagnosed with testicular cancer in July and underwent surgery and six rounds of chemotherapy treatment while also playing high school soccer. 

This is the second time another student/athlete has thrown their support Cooks’s way. After the first round of voting, Luke Smorey asked his voters to back Cooks. Smorey attends Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh.

“Although I am very thankful of everyone’s votes, I would like to ask for all of you to vote for a contestant who I have found much more inspirational than myself,” Smorey wrote in an email. “His name is Dominique Cooks. He was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and only has a few weeks to live. I feel that someone like Dominique deserves this award much more than I do.”

Where: Readers/listeners can vote for Dom here.

When: The final round of voting will kick off at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, April 10, and run through Monday morning, April 14, at 9 a.m.  

Why: Prizes for the 2014 Army National Guard Most Inspirational Athlete will be a feature article on USA TODAY High School Sports, an Inspiration Trophy and an in-school presentation and a $1,000 donation to the school’s athletic department.

More: This morning, Decatur Principal David Brower sent the following email to Luke Smorey’s high school administrators, after hearing about the stabbing of 20 students in a Pittsburg-area high school: “The inspiration keeps flowing. We are proud to be linked to Baldwin High School and now Park Hill High School, as these young men remind us of the good in the world. On a day where your community is struggling to make sense of senseless violence, I wanted to share how much Luke is lifting us, and is now being joined by others. Though Dom continues to struggle and will graduate from this life sooner that we hope, Luke and your community has buoyed him up and lifted our school and community.”

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