Golf: United North Central looking to tee up a successful season
The Warriors return 8 golfers from last year's boys and girls teams.
With six golfers back with varsity experience, the United North Central boys golf team has the potential to defend the Northern Pines Conference title while the UNC girls are looking to field a full team this spring.
Returning to lead the UNC boys are seniors Joey Hillukka and Ryan Tolkkinen and juniors Carter Hillukka, Josh Hillukka, Jeron Pinoniemi and Wesley Hodge. Carter Hillukka and Joey Hillukka earned spots on the NPC First Team and ended the season by competing at the Section 8AA tournament. Pinoniemi earned NPC Second Team honors.
That group helped the Warriors take first in three NPC meets and finish second in two others to capture the title.
In six nine-hole NPC meets, Joey Hillukka led the Warriors with a 39.5 average while Carter Hillukka (41.8), Tolkkinen (45.8) and Josh Hillukka (48.5) followed as those four golfers played all six rounds. Pinoniemi had a 41.8 average in four rounds while Hodge had a 54.5 average in two rounds.
At the Section 8AA South tournament, UNC finished fifth out of seven teams with a 363 with Carter Hillukka’s 85 and Joey Hillukka’s 91 leading the way. Pinoniemi (93), Josh Hillukka (96) and Tolkkinen (102) also competed. Fergus Falls (333), Hawley (335) and Barnesville (352) were the three teams that qualified for the section tournament.
Carter Hillukka carded rounds of 86 and 81 to place 12th at 167 while Joey Hillukka carded rounds of 92 and 86 to tie for 25th place at 178 at the Section 8AA tournament.
Looking to fill in for Nick Wurdock, who graduated after posting a 42.7 average in NPC play and carding a 94 at the Section 8AA South tournament, are juniors Aaron Lake and Henry Hultberg and sophomore Brock Hendrickson.
For the UNC girls, senior Alayna Day and eighth grader Sofia Pulju return from last year’s team.
Day earned a spot on the NPC First Team after posting a 49.3 average in six nine-hole rounds and qualified for the Section 8AA tournament after being the No. 2 individual qualifier with a 101 to place 13th overall. Day concluded her season by tying for 13th place at the section tournament with rounds of 97 and 89 for a 186.
Pulju had a 59.2 average in six nine-hole rounds of NPC play and carded a 113 at the Section 8AA South tournament.
Being counted on to fill the other varsity spots this season are junior Addie Pinoniemi and sophomores Annika Pulju and Taija Pinoniemi.
“We have very good numbers with 40 kids in the program,” said UNC head coach Tim Wurdock. “The kids are coachable and have the desire to get better at golf.”