DARKE COUNTY – Darke County athletes have had great spring sports seasons, collecting individual and team championships along the way.
Both of the Darke County spring sports MVPs have had great seasons and helped their teams win conference championships this year.
The Daily Advocate’s Darke County spring sports MVPs are Versailles girls track and field runner Tammy Berger and Versailles baseball player Zach Niekamp.
Berger has had a lot of success throughout her high school career, winning the Division III girls cross country state championships in 2009 and 2010, winning the Division III girls 3,200-meter run at the state track meet in 2010 and 2011 and being part of Versailles’ 4x800-meter relay state championship team with Mary Prakel, Kristen Schulte and Mindy Henry in 2009.
“She’s set the bar very high,” Versailles girls track and field coach Mike Goubeaux said. “She’s one of the most decorated athletes here at Versailles.”
This year she finished fifth in the Division III state cross country meet and is one of the state’s top track and field athletes. This year she helped lead Versailles to its eighth consecutive Midwest Athletic Conference girls track and field championship. At the MAC meet she set a record in the girls 800-meter run as she won the race in a time of 2:15.26.
She wants to help her team win the Midwest Athletic Conference, district and regional titles for the fourth consecutive year, Goubeaux said. She’s also looking for her team to have another strong showing at state as she tries to defend her 3,200-meter title and go for the championship in the 1,600 meters.
Even with all her success and being known statewide, Berger is very humble and displays great sportsmanship, Goubeaux said, which is what you want in a champion.
“She really has made a mark in the Versailles community,” he said.
Niekamp is among the best pitchers in Darke County, posting a 1.975 ERA in the 2012 season. The senior also is among the leaders in the county at the plate with 30 RBI.
As a pitcher, Niekamp has 30 strikeouts to just five walks allowed this season. He’s limited opponents to 0.872 walks and hits per inning in 39 innings and is holding batters to a .192 average.
“He’s got a nice low ERA and competing well,” Versailles baseball coach Mitch Hoying said.
Niekamp hit a home run in Versailles’ game against New Knoxville, which clinched the Midwest Athletic Conference championship for the Tigers.
“He’s swinging it better and looking better,” Hoying said.
Last year as a junior Niekamp was a first team all-MAC selection as a pitcher.