Warriors denied chance to contend

The United North Central golf teams were looking to make a run at winning conference titles, earning trips to section tournament.

United North Central's Nick Wurdock had hopes of returning to the Section 8AA golf tournament this spring. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

Both the United North Central boys and girls golf teams were counting on moving up in the Northern Pines Conference and Section 8AA North ranks this spring.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Warriors weren’t given the chance to contend for the conference title and compete for trips to the Section 8AA tournament.

“Many coaches are disappointed for many reasons. Perhaps they had a talented group of athletes returning this spring that now won’t have a chance to fulfill dreams,” said UNC head coach Tim Wurdock. “Not only did UNC have talent, we had young kids that worked very hard last summer to play varsity golf. But primarily we had a group of dedicated fun kids that enjoyed getting better at golf.”

The UNC boys would have returned four golfers from last year’s subsection team while the UNC girls would have returned two golfers who competed in varsity meets last season.

Being counted on to lead the UNC boys this spring were senior Nick Treinen, junior Andreas Aho, sophomore Nick Wurdock and freshman Joey Hillukka. Those four helped the Warriors finish third in the Northern Pines Conference standings and sixth at the Section 8AA North tournament.


At the Section 8AA North tournament, Wurdock led the Warriors with an 86 to qualify for the Section 8AA meet. Wurdock capped off the season by carding rounds of 88 and 89 for a 177 to tie for 26th place at the section meet. Aho carded an 88 to help UNC card a 358 team score at the subsection meet. Treinen’s 96 and Hillukka’s 116 rounded out the Warriors’ subsection team. Jimmy Hillukka (90) and Mason Hotakainen (94) capped off their senior seasons by rounding out UNC team score at the Section 8AA North tournament.

In NPC play, the Warriors compiled 13 points with a 180.4 four-golfer team average to trail Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Laporte (6 points) and Park Rapids (11 points) in the conference standings. Aho earned Second Team honors with a 42.8 nine-hole average while Treinen (46.3), Wurdock (47.0) and Joey Hillukka (50.3) also competed in at least four rounds. Jimmy Hillukka also received Second Team honors with a 44.8 average while Hotakainen had a 46.8 average.

For the UNC girls, junior Elly Hillukka and freshman Alayna Day were being counted on to lead the way.

Day qualified for the Section 8AA meet by carding a 98 for ninth place overall at the subsection tournament. Day capped off the season with rounds of 108 and 102 for a 210 to tie for 40th place at the section tournament. Hillukka also competed at the subsection meet, carding a 118.

In Northern Pines Conference play, the Warriors finished sixth with 32 points. Day earned a spot on the Second Team with a 50.3 average while Hillukka had a 52.0 average. Day was the only UNC golfer who competed in at least four NPC rounds.

Also being counted on to compete for varsity spots this spring were seniors Jenna Pinoniemi and Rena Pinoniemi for the girls and junior Andrew Litzau, freshman Ryan Tolkkinen, and eighth graders Carter Hillukka and Wesley Hodge for the boys.

“With added depth on the girls team, I thought we could be near the top in our conference with two or three getting all conference,” said Wurdock. “The boys have hovered near the top in our conference for years. Despite losing really talented seniors, we had younger boys ready to step up. It would have been fun to battle the better teams in our conference and section.”

The Warriors will have to fill the three spots left by graduation, but Wurdock is expecting his returning golfers to be ready to contend for top honors next spring.


“Since the course (at Blueberry Pines) opened on April 18, many of my players have been playing a lot of golf. My kids will golf all summer,” said Wurdock. “Despite losing a few seniors, we will be ready to compete with anyone in the spring of 2021.”

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
What To Read Next
Get Local