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Youth and reunion define Huntington North boys golf season

PUTT: Senior Hank Pulver putts during his final hole of the Warsaw Sectional meet on May 31.

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

The 2019 season was a unique one for the Huntington North boys golf team. With a roster full of mostly fresh faces, the Vikings opened a new chapter on the links while also turning back the clock.

Huntington North ended their regular season at the .500 mark, winning five matches while also losing five. Of the 10 matches, seven were within the Northeast 8 Conference (NE8), in which the team tallied a 3–4 record.

In addition to their match play this season, the Vikings also participated in three tournaments throughout the course of the campaign.

Huntington North placed eighth at the Rochester Invitational Tournament on April 6, tied for eighth at the Carroll Invitational on April 13 and sixth at the NE8 Meet on April 18.

While many of the players were new to the team, the Vikings received a big boost with the return of seniors Hank Pulver and Sawyer Stoltz following a one-year hiatus to focus on basketball.

Pulver paced Huntington North throughout the regular season, carding a total of 663 over the 10 matches and three tournaments.

Pulver is committed to continue his academic and basketball careers at Huntington University.

Stoltz, meanwhile, finished fourth on the team in the regular season with a count of 697 in match and tournament play.

Stoltz is committed to continue his academic and basketball careers at IUPUI.

“Obviously, playing basketball is their first sport, but they’re both good golfers,” said head coach Ron Vinson. “They both definitely helped out a lot with the younger kids and also just having them around knowing that they won a Sectional (in basketball). I think that helps (the others), too, just to look at the kids and say, ‘Hey, you can win something if you put your mind to it.’ They were great to have (back on the team). … Too bad they’re both seniors, but it is what it is and they can pass the torch and we can move on.”

Junior Graham Scher placed second on the squad in the regular season, firing a total of 674, while sophomore Caden Brubaker placed third with a total regular season score of 681.

Given the quartet’s season-long scoring totals, Vinson slotted the players in their respective spots for the Sectional meet, hosted at Rozella Ford Golf Course in Warsaw, Indiana, on May 31.

Scher, who was designated as Huntington North’s No. 2 golfer, paced the Vikings with a score of 83. Scher’s round was eight strokes shy of the final individual qualifying spot for the Regional meet.

Pulver, designated as Huntington North’s No. 1 golfer, finished right behind Scher with a mark of 85. Pulver appeared to be on pace to have a shot at qualifying for the Regional meet after his first nine holes, but slipped down the board as the meet progressed after firing a 10 on his third hole of the back nine.

Brubaker and Stoltz also flipped spots on the board, as Brubaker carded a 93, one shot shy of Stoltz’s 92, to complete the scoring quartet for the Vikings.

Freshman Chase Mickley also competed for Huntington North, but his 102 did not factor into the team’s total Sectional score.

In total, the squad fired a team score of 353 to finish eighth at the Sectional.

“I was thinking we could shoot in the 330s,” Vinson said after the meet. “We didn’t do quite as well, but as a team we played well. … I think as a whole, I think they all probably could play better. I also think, too, we haven’t played (in a while), so to say what those expectations are is hard just because you haven’t played much. We haven’t played in two weeks. I think everybody knows they can play better.”

Mickley, along with freshmen Cameron Richison, Ethan Vaught and Jacob Vereeke, also competed for the team at various matches and tournaments throughout the year, but the trio often did not factor into the team’s scoring quartet.

Given only Pulver and Stoltz have graduated, the Vikings are expecting to return a total of 12 players to the program next year, including three of their five Sectional competitors.

With so many returners, Vinson is optimistic for a good season of Huntington North golf in 2020 with the growth many of the players should have.

“I think we can be pretty decent next year.”