DARKE COUNTY – A pair of Versailles athletes who built off last year’s successes are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Versailles wrestler Kyle Gigandet and Versailles girls basketball player Kami McEldowney.
Gigandet qualified for the Ohio High School Athletic Association individual state wrestling tournament for a second consecutive season. The Versailles senior finished third in the district meet to qualify for state in the 195 pound class.
He didn’t achieve his goal of placing on the podium at state, but he had a great season and tied Versailles’ single season pins record.
“Two tough matches,” Versailles wrestling coach AJ Bey said of Gigandet’s performance at the state meet. “Kind of lost a little bit of the third period in both of them whatever but he had a great career at Versailles, great kid. Little disappointing. We thought he could place here.”
In addition to qualifying for state as an individual, Gigandet also was a key piece of Versailles’ regional championship team that qualified for the team state tournament for the first time since 2013.
“Just an excellent career,” Bey said. “I don’t know the numbers; he’s probably right around 130-some wins, up there in the pin record. He’s just a great kid, great kid to coach. We’re going to miss him next year on our team.”
As the only returning starter from last year’s state championship team, McEldowney helped lead the Versailles girls basketball team back to the regional tournament this season. The sophomore has taken on a larger role for the team this year and become one of its go-to players, coach Jacki Stonebraker said.
“Now this year she is the known player,” Stonebraker said. “Everybody knows when Kami McEldowney is on the floor.”
McEldowney is one of the top 10 scorers in Darke County with 10.5 points per game. The sophomore point guard also is third in the county with 3.0 assists a game.
“I feel like she’s been a very good leader for us,” Stonebraker said. “I know she’s only a sophomore, but I feel that a lot of girls will look to her.”
McEldowney is a leader on both offense and defense for Versailles. She is mentally tough and just has a natural sense for the game, Stonebraker said.
“Her greatest strengths are her ability to see the court and just her ability to handle the basketball in tight situations,” the Versailles coach said.
McEldowney also is a versatile scorer who can find seams and drive inside or spot up and knock down a 3-pointer.
“She likes to get to the rim, but she also can take the 3,” Stonebraker said.