Freshman leaps to the top of the pack


by Ben Frotscher

Amy Kopatich is used to success. The Simpson freshman made it to state three out of four years in high school in the high jump and also qualified in the shuttle hurdles and 100-meter hurdles. She placed seventh as a senior, ninth as a sophomore and 11th as a junior in the state high jump.

The jump from high school to the collegiate level can be a hard adjustment, but Kopatich hasn’t struggled with it. She’s placed first three times during the indoor season for the high jump and has placed second twice.

“She is a hard worker,” freshman Suzi Anderson said. “She listens to the coaches and she tries really hard.”

This work ethic has not only paid off in the high jump, but in the 55-meter hurdles and the triple jump.

Women’s track coach Wayne Stacy said that although Kopatich is a winner, it doesn’t get to her. She isn’t under- or overconfident, so she doesn’t struggle with nervousness or talk trash about the competition.

“She goes about her business very quietly,” said Stacy. “She is just a very even-keeled person.”

While this composure helps Kopatich, Stacy said she’s built to be a high jumper.

“She has the perfect physical characteristics for the high jump,” Stacy said.

Kopatich’s high-jumping career started in seventh grade in Ottumwa and Kopatich said she’s always enjoyed high jumping for a variety of reasons. One specific reason is that it’s not a long-distance event.

“You don’t have to run very far,” Kopatich said.

The lack of running may not bother Kopatich, but she said switching to the collegiate level of competition was a little intimidating.

“I guess I didn’t really know what to expect of the competition in college,” Kopatich said.

Being an athlete can make life hectic in college, but Kopatich said she has learned the different time-management skills needed in college.

Not only has she adjusted well in her sport and her schedule, her teammates say she’s accomplished the transition while remaining a positive influence on the team.

“She gets along with everyone and has a positive attitude,” Anderson said. “She’s also added points and placed at all the meets.”

While Kopatich is still lacking collegiate experience, Stacy said she’s capable of handling the pressures of competition already.

“She doesn’t seem to be phased by pressure,” Stacy said.