A DAY IN THE LIFE: Carly Cooper
AT JUST 21 year of age, Warwick's Carly Cooper won her fourth Southern Downs Australia Day award on Friday.
Taking out the sport award for 2018, Miss Cooper can add it to her two junior sport awards and citizen award from previous years.
In the last twelve months Miss Cooper has represented Queensland in both cricket and polocrosse, something she's also been doing for years.
Growing up in Wheatvale, Miss Cooper was first introduced to a horse at two years old.
"That was a life-changer for me,” she said.
"A major influence on my direction in life, but it certainly didn't come from Mum or Dad, who've never ridden horses. It was my grandfather Des Cooper who started it all by giving me a horse and from there I went to pony club.”
Miss Cooper said her parents weren't keen on her playing polocrosse until she turned 11 or 12.
"So I used to ride my pushbike up and down the driveway practising with my polocrosse racquet,” she said.
"When they finally let me, I made the Queensland under 12 team in my first year.”
Currently Miss Cooper is studying a teacher degree through the University of Southern Queensland and works at WIRAC full time.
"For the first two years, I was commuting to Toowoomba about three days a week, but since then I've been working and studying at night,” she said.
"I've got twelve months left, and then it'll be time for another huge step in life.
"I'll apply to teach at schools in Warwick first.
"I have done some of my pracs here, so hopefully I can find a spot.
"After a year or two the plan is to take off overseas to travel and work.”
Despite her dual representative sporting careers from a young age, Miss Cooper said school was important to her.
"Mum always told us that if we couldn't do well in class, then sport would need to take a back seat.
"Year 12 was pretty tough, as school captain and with rep sport I had to really work to juggle everything.
"But I've always been busy, ever since the get-go so I managed somehow and did well.
"I managed to score a principal's recommendation scholarship to uni, so I knew halfway through Year 12 I going, which reduced the stress levels a bit.”
Next month Miss Cooper flies to New Zealand to compete with the Qld open women's polocrosse team.