DARKE COUNTY – Two senior golfers who finished their high school careers strong and a sophomore tennis player who continues to improve are The Daily Advocate’s players of the year for their respective sports.
Franklin Monroe’s Noah Koffer has been named The Daily Advocate’s boys golfer of the year, Versailles’ Lauren Durham has been named The Daily Advocate’s girls golfer of the year, and Greenville’s Natalie Milligan has been named The Daily Advocate’s girls tennis player of the year.
Durham was named the Midwest Athletic Conference girls golfer of the year for the 2017 season.
The Versailles senior finished fourth individually in the Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament, helping lead the Tigers to the sectional championship. She led Versailles in the district tournament, finishing eighth overall.
Durham helped lead the Lady Tigers to a third consecutive appearance in the OHSAA state tournament. She finished 35th overall at this year’s state tournament and helped the Tigers shoot a program-best score for the tournament.
With an average of 43.2 strokes per nine holes, Koffer led his team and was among the county leaders throughout the season. The Franklin Monroe senior was named first team all-Cross County Conference.
“All three of my seniors progressed through their four years of golf,” Franklin Monroe boys golf coach Brian Happy said. “They became smarter golfers on the course and their scores improved because of that. They played their best golf when they were relaxed and just having fun.”
Koffer shot an 87 during the OHSAA sectional tournament, helping FM qualify for the district tournament. The Jets were the lone Darke County boys golf team to reach the district tournament this season. Koffer also shot an 87 during the district tournament to lead the Jets.
“I think many of our opponents enjoyed competing against our seniors because they did like to compete, but they were never ‘out for blood,’” Happy said. “They liked to compete and have a fun round of golf with the opposing players and coaches.”
Among Koffer’s accomplishments this season was a runner-up finish in the Versailles Invitational – the best finish among all Darke County golfers – as he shot a 78.
Milligan was Greenville’s No. 1 singles player for a second consecutive year. During the regular season she went 14-2 overall at first singles and was a perfect 8-0 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
“She had a pretty good season,” Greenville girls tennis coach Jim Koontz said. “She battled some injuries there, missed four matches, and she hung in there and came back.”
Milligan finished fourth in first singles in the GWOC tournament. During the OHSAA postseason, the Lady Wave sophomore finished third in the sectional tournament to qualify for the district tournament.
“She’s pretty consistent,” Koontz said. “She keeps the ball on the court. She’s smart. She plays smart. She doesn’t go out and try to kill everything. She keeps it on the court. And she works at it a lot, too.”
Milligan was named first team all-American League by the GWOC. She beat Vandalia-Butler’s Allison Baker, who was named the American League player of the year, in both of their matchups this season.
“She’s been a pleasure to coach,” Koontz said. “She’s a real coachable kid. Real nice kid.”
Being just a sophomore, Koontz expects Milligan to only get better as her high school career progresses.
“I know she’ll keep working at it, and she’ll be better next year,” he 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.