VERSAILLES – Versailles senior Lauren Heitkamp didn’t expect to be continuing her golf career at the college level, but she’ll do just that at Indiana University East.
Heitkamp, the daughter of Brian and Mechelle Heitkamp, committed to join the IU East women’s golf team on Monday afternoon.
“I can’t believe I finally decided,” she said. “I’m really excited to go there. Can’t wait.”
Heitkamp first started thinking about college golf at the end of her junior year, she said. The recruiting process then picked up during her senior season.
“It all kind of fit together perfectly,” she said.
During her senior season Heitkamp led all Darke County girls with an average of 44.2 strokes per nine holes. She finished as the Midwest Athletic Conference tournament medalist and was named the MAC girls golfer of the year.
As the lone senior on the team, Heitkamp helped guide the Lady Tigers to the MAC championship plus sectional and district championships in the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament. For a second consecutive year she helped lead to the Tigers to the OHSAA state meet year where they finished eighth, tying their record for best finish in program and conference history.
“She’s been dynamic to the program,” Versailles girls golf coach Joe Harrmann said. “It’s going to be really, really tough obviously not having her around, but the thing I feel most happy about is the mark that she’s left on the other girls. She led on and off the course, and IU East is going to be getting just a dynamite player, a dynamite individual, somebody who’s just really going to add to their program in more ways than one. She’ll do fantastic things on the course for them, but then I think she’ll do fantastic things off the course and in the classroom for them as well.”
In college Heitkamp plans to study pre-med with the goal of becoming an optometrist.
“We want everything,” IU East women’s golf coach Joe Griffin said. “We don’t just want a good golfer. We want a great student-athlete, and she’s going to fit right in with the ones I have now.”
IU East is ranked second in the River States Conference, which is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Griffin expects Heitkamp to compete immediately for playing time with the Red Wolves.
“She should be able to step in, I think, and battle for the travel squad right away,” he said.
The qualities that have helped Heitkamp have so much success on the golf course are her work ethic and consistency, Harrmann said.
“Those two things, I think, are her biggest strengths with her game,” he said. “She does a great job being steady, knowing what her game is, playing her game when she’s on the course, and then she knows what she needs to work on and going and improving and working hard in the offseason and after rounds to better herself.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.