DARKE COUNTY – A pair of athletes who had big senior seasons are The Daily Advocate’s fall sports athletes of the year.
The Daily Advocate’s fall sports athletes of the year are Greenville football player Logan Eldridge and Versailles girls golfer Lauren Heitkamp.
Whether it was offense, defense or special teams, Eldridge almost always was at the center of each play for Greenville.
“Logan had a great season both offensively and defensively,” Greenville football coach Aaron Shaffer said. “To play tailback and Mike linebacker, basically didn’t come off the field at any point.”
Eldridge led all Darke County plays with 1,242 rushing yards, which also was second best in the entire Greater Western Ohio Conference. He had 13 rushing touchdowns and also caught nine passes.
“The yards and the carries and the touchdowns, he was a guy we knew was going to go get positive yards,” Shaffer said.
On defense Eldridge was the county’s co-leader in tackles with 90. He also had two fumble recoveries and two-and-a-half sacks.
“Defensively Logan is very knowledgeable about of the sport, reads his keys well,” Shaffer said. “Combine those things with strength and athleticism puts him in very good position.”
On special teams Eldridge also was a playmaker, blocking a pair of punts.
“He’s consistent,” Shaffer said. “You know you’re going to get everything Logan’s got on every play.”
For his efforts Eldridge was named first team all-GWOC by the league, the GWOC American North co-defensive player of the year by the league and first team all-Southwest District by the Associated Press.
“To have that kind of year playing both ways truly amazing,” Shaffer said.
Heitkamp led all Darke County girls golfers with a nine-hole average of 44.2 strokes this season. The Indiana University East commit was the Midwest Athletic Conference tournament medalist and was named the conference’s girls golfer of the year.
“It’s a huge thing. The MAC is known around the area to be one of the premier leagues for all sports,” Versailles girls golf coach Joe Harrmann said. “For her to win that award, I think it definitely shows the type of talent she has, the work ethic she has to overcome all those good golfers.”
Led by Heitkamp, Versailles won the MAC tournament championship and the 2016 MAC girls golf championship.
“Without her I don’t know if we have the success we had because of her leadership abilities and her talents,” Harrmann said.
Versailles went on to win the Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament and then won the OHSAA district tournament for the first time in program history. The Tigers finished eighth at the state meet, tying their record for best finish in program and conference history.
“I think she accomplished everything she wanted to accomplish,” Harrmann said.
Heitkamp is a quiet leader, Harrmann said, but her work ethic inspired her teammates to follow suit
“I think she was absolutely huge, just dynamic,” Harrmann said. “Her leadership was absolutely dynamic this year.”