Trojan junior Landon Kooiker earned Fairfield the Class 3A state high jump championship Thursday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines when he successfully converted his first four jumps of 6’1, 6’3, 6’5 and 6’7 before busting out with three misses at 6’9.
“I was hoping I was still in it because we all missed at 6’9,” explained Kooiker.
Luckily, Landon started the competition at a higher height than most of his competitors to save some leg and by hitting his first four attempts successfully, had far less missed attempts, giving him the outright title.
“It feels amazing to be a state champion,” said Kooiker after conquering his competition. “There have been some jumpers in my family, but never a state champion. The best in my family before was 6’4.”
How did the Trojan tall man handle the pressure of the big stage?
“Knowing I had the fewest [attempted] jumps relieved a little bit of the pressure, so all I had to do was go jump and not worry about anything else.”
Good news for head coach Brian Dunlap is that the junior believes he can still improve and the state record of 6’11 set in 2008 is just two, two-inch jump increments away.
“I would say I am hitting my peak right now, but I think I can do better,” touted Kooiker.
“Everything I have done is because of my family. They always support me.”
“This was one of his goals all year and he was very clear about it. He’s a confident kid and he’s been one of the top jumpers in Class 3A all season long. He’d jumped 6’7 before, but there were a lot of good jumpers there, including the defending state champion. Landon was just the sharpest of them and was locked in. It’ll be great to have him back next season and he’s already talking about repeating which is hard to do but we’re excited about 2020.”