DARKE COUNTY – Two Versailles athletes who helped lead their teams to championship seasons with strong individual performances are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Versailles girls bowler Morgan Heitkamp and Versailles boys basketball player Alex Wendel.
Heitkamp led all Darke County girls by knocking down 187.3 pins per game this season. Her average was second in the entire West Ohio High School Bowling Conference behind only Coldwater’s Paige Hartings.
“To have a sophomore average 187 for the year, that’s pretty impressive,” Versailles bowling coach Tyler Phlipot said. “I think she did absolutely awesome. She stepped up big.”
Heitkamp led Versailles to an Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional championship. Individually she finished fifth overall in the sectional with games of 174, 160 and 197 for a three-game series of 531.
“That was a tough lane pattern,” Phlipot said. “She was right around the pocket. She picked up her spares. She finished fifth overall, which is pretty impressive for a sophomore.”
Even though she’s just a sophomore, Heitkamp was a leader for the Tigers, Phlipot said. She also was very consistent throughout the year and has a good attitude and work ethic.
“She put a lot of hours and hard work over the summer to improve her game,” the Versailles coach said. “She really took in the knowledge of the game and executed out on the lanes.”
With two more years ahead of her in her high school career, Phlipot expects Heitkamp to continue to be an integral member of the Tiger bowling team.
“She’s had a great year,” he said. “I’m looking forward to two more years out of her.”
Wendel helped lead the Versailles boys basketball team to a 21-1 regular season record and a 9-0 mark in the Midwest Athletic Conference. It’s just the second time in school history the Tigers have finished undefeated in the MAC. As a senior point guard Wendel was key to that success.
“He’s been our floor general all year running the point for us,” Versailles boys basketball coach Travis Swank said. “He just does everything so well for us out there.”
Wendel has been one of the best distributors in Darke County throughout the season. He’s second in the county with 5.0 assists per game.
“He’s kind of a complete player and also allows us to be dynamic because he gets us into everything we run,” Swank said.
As the season wore on Wendel picked up his scoring, finishing the year averaging 7.4 points per game. And even though he’s a guard, he’s also one of the county’s top rebounders with 4.5 a game.
“He does so many things so well,” Swank said. “For a lot of teams he poses a matchup problem.”
Along with all of his responsibilities on offense, Wendel also typically guards the opposition’s best guard.
“He has a lot on his plate,” Swank said. “He’s always up the challenge.”
The Versailles senior has been instrumental to his team’s success and helped the Tigers finish the regular season ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press’ Division III state rankings.
“He doesn’t make too many mistakes out there to hurt us, and that’s what you need out of the point guard,” Swank said.
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.