Highland: Sports

Highland’s Higgins commits to run track at West Point

Highland High School senior Tyler Higgins, middle, is shown during his official visit to U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in September. Higgins is pictured with Army West Point track and field/cross country assistant coach Jake McDougle and Army West Point director of track and field/cross country Mike Smith.
Highland High School senior Tyler Higgins, middle, is shown during his official visit to U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in September. Higgins is pictured with Army West Point track and field/cross country assistant coach Jake McDougle and Army West Point director of track and field/cross country Mike Smith. Courtesy photo

Highland High School senior Tyler Higgins had numerous Division I schools pursuing him to run sprints for their respective track programs, but he always had his heart set on attending the U.S. States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in Orange County.

Higgins stayed true to that and recently signed a national letter of intent to compete for Army West Point.

Higgins won the Class 2A state title in the 400-meter dash to end his sophomore year in May 2015 but he had already been looking into the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point quite extensively prior to his athletic success as a sophomore. Then about a month after winning that coveted state title, Higgins received a call from the USMA Track and Field recruiting staff expressing their interest in him.

“At that point, my mind had been set,” he said. “I always had an intention to join the Army, but an opportunity presented itself to become an officer rather than an enlistee and I wholeheartedly decided to take advantage of it. The other colleges and universities attempting to recruit me were nothing more than background noise at this point, because I knew that West Point was where I desired to be. I am now en route to the most challenging post-secondary education which I could pursue.”

All told, Higgins received national recruiting interest from more than 300 colleges, including schools from all five of the power conferences and all of the Ivy League schools. To name a few, Higgins received recruiting interest from the following top-tier Division I institutions: Notre Dame, Ohio State, Louisville, Miami, Georgia Tech, Yale, Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Higgins is elated about his decision and that the choice is now over.

“It feels amazing to have completed my commitment to the United States Military Academy because the recruiting calls, emails, letters, and text messages from other schools will finally level off now and I will be able to enjoy the rest of my senior year without the hassle of college decisions looming over my head,” he said.

In addition to the 400 state championship, Higgins has already rewritten Highland’s school record books in all three of the sport’s fastest races, the 100 (10.81 seconds), 200 (21.97) and 400 (48.29).

“Tyler is an outstanding representative of Highland High School and our community,” Vance said. “Obviously, he has rewritten our school record book for all the sprints from the 100 through the 400, but more than that he is a good leader and a fine young man.”

But before heading to Army West Point, Higgins has a big spring still ahead him for the Bulldogs. There is extra incentive after he not get to end his junior year the way he wanted to at state because he was unable to qualify through the prelims on to the finals for the second straight season.

“Tyler will be the first to tell you that he was not happy with how the season ended for him at state last year.” Vance said. “I think it left a bad taste in his mouth and he would like to be able to go out with a bang his senior season.”

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