Tonopah high jumper wins state title

Tonopah High School’s Tyler Kirkland had his eyes set on breaking former high jump and state champion Spencer Littlefield’s 2013 record of 6 feet, 4 inches and becoming this year’s Nevada state champion.

One out of two meant a championship for Kirkland. He cleared 6 feet at the Class 3A Nevada Track and Field Championships at Foothill High School in Henderson and won the state title in the high jump on May 20. Kirkland was the only state champion from the four Nye County high schools.

It took him just two tries to win, and then the waiting began.

“I jumped over 5-foot, 2-inches and then got 6-0 on my second jump,” Tyler Kirkland said. “It was pretty nerve-wracking, and it was the toughest thing I did in high school sports. Once I cleared 6 feet, I thought this could be it, but I still had to worry about my opponents. It feels pretty good to finally win at high jump after four years.”

Grant Goins of Sierra Lutheran High School was right behind him and did clear the 6-foot mark, but it took him three tries to do it and so Kirkland won the competition.

His track coach was happy for him.

“Tyler is a great kid,” Muckers track coach Steve Stringer said. “He showed up every day and worked hard. He definitely deserves the championship.”

This marks the end of Kirkland’s athletic career. He played football, basketball and ran track. He will be going on to Truckee Community College in Truckee, California to save some money to attend the University of Nevada, Reno to major in electrical engineering.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at

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