DARKE COUNTY – In the big moments, teams often look to their seniors to step up.
Several veteran athletes from across the area have had great performances recently, especially this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
The Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Ansonia girls golfer Kelli Sewell and Versailles football player Jacob Barga.
Sewell has established herself as one of the area’s top girls golfers in recent years, even though she usually plays against the boys. Sewell has been a member of the Ansonia boys golf team since her sophomore year as the school hasn’t had enough girls for a full team since her freshman year.
Ansonia golf coach Jim Robson said he thinks playing against the boys has helped make Sewell a better golfer because it has forced her to learn to play longer tees and use different irons.
“I can just see the growth and how much more comfortable and confident she is,” he said. “She’s really worked hard.”
Sewell does compete against the girls in Ohio High School Athletic Association tournaments, and for the third straight year she’s advanced to the district tournament. Wednesday she shot a 96 at Stillwater Valley Golf Club to earn one of the four advancing spots for individual golfers.
“I’m extremely impressed with it,” Robson said about Sewell advancing from the sectional tournament for the third year in a row. “There’s not a better lady in the area.”
Sewell has been battling tendinitis in her wrist, Robson said, which made her performance at the sectional tournament even more impressive.
“She was really excited to make it, even not at 100 percent health wise,” Robson said.
Sewell will compete in the district tournament this week as her high school golf career is finishing up.
“She’s just looking forward to a nice solid finish to her high school golf career,” Robson said. “She wants to make a good showing.”
Barga was a crucial part of the Versailles football team winning a Midwest Athletic Conference game against Marion Local.
Last week against Marion Local, one of Versailles’ biggest rivals and the No. 1 ranked team in Division VI according to The Associated Press, Barga scored two touchdowns. First he caught a touchdown pass, and then in the final minutes of the game he intercepted a screen pass and returned it for a touchdown, which coach Adam Miller said sealed the win for the Tigers.
“In order to win those games, you need players like Jacob Barga to step up and make big plays,” Miller said.
Barga, a defensive back and wide receiver, is a captain for the Tigers. The senior leads by example and helps makes sure everyone is in the right position, Miller said.
“I think he’s done a great job of leading by example,” Miller said. “He’s just a solid player who gets it done on a consistent basis.”
Barga’s play against Marion Local was a huge win and will go a long way to helping Versailles reach its goal of making the playoffs, Miller said.
“He’s a senior that’s played quite a bit in his career,” Miller said. “He stepped up and had a great game both offensively and defensively.”