There’s a chance Chris Heck broke new ground by going through only half of a sophomore slump.
Heck, a member of the University of Indianapolis men’s golf program, is again playing to his potential after enduring a fall season in which he was out of the Greyhounds’ lineup as much as he was in it.
“It wasn’t one certain thing. I just wasn’t playing well,” said Heck, a product of Center Grove High School who as a University of Indianapolis freshman had been in coach Brent Nicoson’s starting lineup for all of the team’s 12 events and recorded the team’s fourth-lowest 18-hole average (75.6).
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“In my eyes I had a really good freshman year, so maybe I wasn’t pushing myself as hard as I should. Looking back on it, it was kind of the classic sophomore slump.”
One Heck was motivated to get out of as soon as possible.
He played in three fall events for the Greyhounds — the ODU Kickoff Classic, Parkside Fall Invitational and Butler Fall Invitational — for a total of seven 18-hole rounds.
Heck’s average score was 77.4. Respectable, sure, but hardly satisfactory in his eyes.
Nicoson, who is in his 11th season as Indianapolis’ men’s golf coach, began to notice a difference in Heck over Christmas break.
“In the fall, his mind was just being drawn in different directions, and that sometimes happens in college athletics,” Nicoson said. “We met a couple times in my office and just talked about life. He came back stronger in the spring.”
On March 5, the Greyhounds competed in the Las Vegas Desert Classic. Heck shot 75-78—153 to help lead the team to 10th place in an 18-team field.
Indianapolis then traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida, for the Eagle Invitational hosted by Embry-Riddle University. The Hounds put two teams on the course, with Heck carding a 81-73-77—231 to lead the “B” squad and finish tied for 11th individually.
Heck followed this by averaging 74.7 strokes over his next six 18-hole rounds, helping the Greyhounds take first at the UW-Parkside Invitational, second at the Nashville (Tennessee) Spring Regional and third at the Purgatory Regional.
Today through Wednesday the Greyhounds are in Axtell, Nebraska, competing in the NCAA Division II Midwest/Central Regional. There are 20 teams in the field, with the top four moving on to the NCAA Championships in Kissimmee, Florida, from May 22-26.
Heck will be first off the tee as UIndy’s No. 5 player.
“That’s a coach’s choice,” Nicoson said. “I’m just comfortable with Chris at that position. Even if he was playing the best on our team, I would probably still keep him there.”
The sophomore looks forward to the challenge of establishing immediate momentum for the Greyhounds, particularly with two freshman teammates, Spencer Klimek and Erik Edwards, playing behind him.
“It’s definitely different playing the 5, but I really like it,” Heck said. “I try to go out and set the tone for everybody.”
Top scoring averages for UIndy players who have played in at least 15 matches this school year: