By Rob Kiser
MIAMISBURG — Advancing to the Division II state golf tournament title is nothing new for the Versailles girls golf team — going as district champions is.
The Lady Tiger Fab Five of Lauren Heitkamp, Lauren Durham, Jorja Pothast, Morgan Heitkamp and Anna Groff won the first district title in the program’s history Wednesday at Pipestone Golf Course, earning the team a return trip to next week’s state tournament on the Gray Course at Ohio State.
“We checked into it,” Versailles coach Joe Harman said. “The previous three times we qualified for state, the highest we had finished was third.”
Again, it was the Lady Tigers being a picture of consistency.
Versailles might not shoot any 72s — but there was just nine strokes difference between its first and fourth scores — to give the Tigers a district championship with a 366 total, five shots ahead of second-place Carroll and third place Chaminade Julienne.
Lauren Heitkamp led the way with an 86, Durham carded a 92, Pothast had a 93, Morgan Heitkamp came in with 95 and Groff added a 108.
“It is one of the things I have said every year since I started coaching,” Harmann said. “That if you have four or five good scores, you are going to better off than having one great score. One of the things we always talk about is controlling what you can control.
“I talked to the girls about going out and shooting our best score and seeing where that puts off. We did that and sure enough — that was good enough to win the tournament.”
Lauren Heitkamp and Durham did what they have been doing all season — get the Tigers started with two very good scores.
“They have done it all season and that didn’t change today,” Harmann said. “We may not have that even par score, but we don’t have to have that. Lauren (Heitkamp) had a great round and Lauren Durham was really solid. With those two, you don’t have to worry about them coming in with some wild score. They are going to be right there and they were again today.”
Just as important was the play of Pothast and Morgan Heitkamp.
“Those two have really been stepping up,” Harmann said. “The thing about them is when we play in a big tournament — and it was true at district and state last year — those two step it up and play their best.”
Because of that, Versailles was able to make some history Wednesday.
“They talk about golf being a short season,” Harmann said. “And it probably is compared to basketball or a sport like that. But, these girls have been working hard for several months. To see it culminate with them winning a district title, those girls were ecstatic to see their hard work pay off like that.”
And while still young, the Lady Tigers are a veteran group headed to Columbus — something Harmann hopes will work to their advantage. Only Groff didn’t play there a year ago.
“I think it has got to help,” Harmann said. “The state tournament, there is a buzz like they don’t experience any other time during the year. The first four have all been through that. Anna (Groff) is a rookie this year and it will be a learning experience for her. But, the other girls know what to expect.
“I will be realistic with them. I want to go out and shoot there best scores. I don’t expect them to shoot even par. They don’t need to do that. Just play their best and we will see where that puts us.”
A formula that added up to a district title and school history Wednesday.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.