DARKE COUNTY – A pair of underclassmen who already are excelling in their sports are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Franklin Monroe boys cross country runner Cole Good and Versailles girls golfer Morgan Heitkamp.
Heitkamp accomplished one of the rarest feats in golf on Oct. 15 when she made a hole-in-one on hole four of The Ohio State University Gray Golf Course in Columbus during the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II state girls golf meet.
“It was pretty incredible,” Coach Joe Harrmann said. “I think she was in a little bit of shock.”
Heitkamp’s tee shot took a big bounce and then rolled about 7 to 10 feet into the cup, said Harrmann, who watched it unfold alongside Heitkamp’s father.
“Sheer pandemonium set in, and we all started running around,” Harrmann said.
Heitkamp’s hole-in-one was the first Harrmann has ever witnessed, he said, and the first from one of his players in his six-year coaching career. It was made even more special by occurring at the state tournament.
Heitkamp’s hole-in-one was just one big moment in a strong season for the Versailles sophomore. This year she was among the county leaders with 52.5 strokes per nine holes. She struggled early in the season, Harrmann said, but worked hard to improve her game.
“She took it upon herself to get some extra instruction and ever since that time she’s gotten out of her funk,” he said.
Heitkamp helped lead Versailles to Midwest Athletic Conference, sectional tournament and district tournament championships. The district tournament championship was the first in program history.
“It was a great year overall for all the girls,” Harrmann said.
Heitkamp was a steady competitor for the Lady Tigers, especially in the big meets at the end of the season, Harrmann said. She can hit it far with her drive and also putt well, but her mid-range game is what has helped her to excel, Harrmann said.
“She’s been really consistent with her iron play,” he said.
Good’s fantastic season continued at the Cross County Conference meet last weekend in Covington. He finished third overall in a time of 17:06, which was the best finish by any Darke County boy in the race.
“He ran really strong the first time we were at Covington this year,” Franklin Monroe coach Rick Ingold said. “I knew going into the meet he was going to run well, so it was no surprise that he brought home third place and an all-conference finish. He’s got a lot of talent and even more potential.”
One of the highlights of Good’s sophomore season came three weeks ago at National Trail’s Blazer Invitational. He won that race, in 17:04, defeating Valley View’s Trevor Paringer by four seconds for the victory.
“Cole has had a great season,” Ingold said. “He only was able to break the 18-minute barrier on a few occasions last year. This year, he hasn’t been anywhere near 18 minutes, with a season best of 17:03. He has competed with a lot of quality competition and has consistently placed in the top 10 of some really big meets. What he has done as a sophomore is pretty impressive.”
So far this season Good has the third-best time among all Darke County cross country runners, trailing only Versailles’ Joe Spitzer and Noah Pleiman.
“Cole has really raised his level of commitment at practice this year,” Ingold said. “He has resisted the urge to socialize and run with friends in practice and, instead, has chosen to push himself on some really difficult training runs. One thing that, I think, separates Cole from a lot of other runners, is his passion for running. The kid just flat out loves to run.”
Last year Good made it to the OHSAA regional cross country and track and field meets.
“Cole just continues to improve,” Ingold said. “He’s got a great chance to do some really special things over the next few weeks. If Cole stays focused and driven, there is no telling how far he can go.”