Dec 03, 2017
BUCKHANNON -- West Virginia Wesleyan's swim teams have gotten off to a strong start on the 2017-18 season. The men are undefeated through five meets, and one of the key leaders of this unit is senior Scott Heckathorn.
A native of Warrenton, Virginia, and a product of Kettle Run High School, Heckathorn has brought a level of toughness and competitiveness to the team that has been a vital component to the team's meteoric rise. He has been with Coach April Gitzen's program as it has moved into one of the premier teams in the region.
At Kettle Run, Heckathorn was a three-sport performer, and a key part of several KRHS teams. He competed "year-round" and was always on the go.
In football, Heckathorn was a starting quarterback and linebacker, utilizing his athletic 5'11" 210-pound frame to excel. during the winter, he was a state qualifier as a swimmer in the sprint events. In the spring, he was also a sprinter on the track team, racing in the 100, 200, and 400-meter races.
Swimming became his sport of choice. Besides his training at Kettle Run, he also swam for a high level club team; the elite "Nation's Capital" squad out of Washington D.C. Training for olympian Jeremy Lynn with the NC group, Heckathorn's ability was elevated, and soon he was getting the attention of recruiters.
"Swimming was the first sport I had done, and it was where I was finding the most success," Heckathorn said. "Once I was being contacted, the club was a nice resource for me to have. There were several of my teammates that were also being recruited, and Jeremy did a great job of sitting us down individually, and helping promote us to these schools. He also would be work with us on what school's would be the best fit for each of us academically and athletically."
In the beginning, Indiana University of Pennsylvania was Heckathorn's top choice. He was leaning that way, but agreed to visit Wesleyan on the advice of KRHS Athletic Director Ellen Chapman, a Wesleyan alumnus and former Bobcat athlete.
"She sent info on me, and helped me get a visit set up," Heckathorn said. "On my visit, I was impressed with everything...it is a beautiful campus and it was a nice fit for me academically."
Since arriving, Heckathorn has been a key component of the team's ascension. Several key pieces have been added to the squad each year on the recruiting front, and the team has made two key moves int terms of conference affiliation. After his sophomore year, they moved from the large Bluegrass Conference, to the Appalachian Swim Conference (ASC). This season, in Heckathorn's senior year, they are a part of the MEC/GMAC Swim Conference. This joint alliance with the swim teams from each league provides new opportunities for these programs.
"It gives us an opportunity to chase some new goals as a team," Heckathorn said. "In the bigger conferences, it was tough because many of our programs were facing schools and teams that were so much bigger and deeper than us. It was difficult, because you were so limited on what you could realistically accomplish."
Gearing up for the 2018 Conference Meet is now an exciting journey for the WVWC swim teams. Morale is high, and the team has opened with a whirlwind fall schedule. They won four dual matches, several of which came against conference foes. This segment of the schedule closed with a victory in the seven team Corbiere-Merion Invitational.
"This is a special group. We have an ultra-competitive team, and there is a very good mindset at work in terms of practice and competing," Heckathorn said. "We have some big goals, and one of them is win our conference."
The MEC/GMAC Meet will take place February 14-17, and will operate with a race schedule that mirrors the national meet.
With graduation looming, Heckathorn is looking ahead. The Criminal Justice Major has a bright future in the field.
"I definitely want to work back in the D.C area," Heckathorn said. "My goal is to serve the area as a police officer, and hopefully get to work for the same department that my dad once did."
"I also want to coach and still be involved with the sport," Heckathorn said. "Jeremy is still coaching for the Nation's Capital Club, and it would be great to work with him and his swimmers."
For now, there are some major goals in front of Heckathorn and his Bobcat teammates. They will be one of the favored teams in the very first championship for the new league.