Wagner's Ashlyn Koupal retains Class A girls high jump crown with fourth straight title

May 23—SIOUX FALLS — Four for four.

Ashlyn Koupal re-upped her claim to the Class A girls high jump throne once again on Thursday, cruising to a fourth-consecutive state championship in the event to extend a reign that dates back to her seventh-grade year.

But Koupal's hardly getting bored of climbing to the top of the podium to continue collecting hardware. With each medal she's added to her collection, the significance grows.

"It's really exciting. The goal is to win it every year and just take it one year at a time," Koupal said. "Each one means a little more just because I feel like there's more pressure. But pressure is good and winning is good, so I'm fine with it."

Koupal's latest title-winning performance was precise and business-like. By the time she was the lone competitor left standing, Koupal had yet to miss on a single jump, including a first-attempt clearance at 5 feet, 4 inches, that secured the title. The four other jumpers who attempted 5-4 all missed three times, and all finished with at least four total misses on the afternoon.

Koupal then opted to pass on 5-6 and go right to 5-7, where she attempted to tie a personal best but came up short on three attempts.

Madison's Audrey Nelson, Hot Springs' Carlie DeBoer, Dakota Valley's Claire Munch and Lennox's Holly Gillick bowed out at 5-4, with Nelson earning second place and DeBoer third while Munch and Gillick tied for fourth on jumps. Clearing 5 feet, Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Makenzie Hetland and Sanborn Central/Woonsocket's Elizabeth Boschee finished in a four-way tie for sixth along with Bennett County Peyson O'Neill and Beresford's Jade Rhody.

Between school, high jumping — she placed first or second at all 10 meets she attended this spring — and the start of the summer AAU basketball season with the Sanford Academy 16-and-under team out of Sioux Falls, Koupal was plenty busy this spring.

Juggling basketball with track and field requires, "a lot of back and forth."

"I usually don't make it to track meets on the weekends because we're going somewhere with basketball, but I try to find the right balance in making it to both," Koupal said. "Track comes first because it's a school sport, so I try to prioritize that."

Already this spring, Koupal was named MVP at a tournament in Dallas, Texas. She already had offers from some major programs, but her recruitment has picked up in recent weeks, as offers roll in from NCAA Division I programs in all the major conferences.

Just this month, Koupal has received offers from programs in every major conference — most recently North Carolina (ACC), Wisconsin (Big Ten), Colorado (Big 12) and Arkansas (SEC) — in addition to being reoffered by the University of South Dakota following its new coaching hire.

"It's definitely been exciting," Koupal said, "but I try to remember to stay level-headed and stay humble because that's important, too."