Last Updated: Fri Nov 25, 2022 - 2:15AM
The Derry Area boys golf program has been one of the best in the WPIAL in Class 2A for a number of years. Senior standout Hunter Jurica has been at the center of the Trojans’ success during his high school career.
The reigning Class 2A WPIAL champion recently made his commitment to continue his golf career at St. Francis University.
“It feels great,” said Jurica on what it means to finally make this decision. “It’s been in the talks for a while, and everyone’s been asking where I’m going to college. To finally say where I’m going to college means a lot.”
Jurica made a weekend visit to St. Francis, and when he arrived, he immediately got the sense of being at home. When he returned from his visit, he was already eager to make his way back to Loretto, Pennsylvania. Ultimately, it was that sense of security and feeling at home that drove Jurica to commit to the Red Flash.
The first time Jurica hoisted a pair of clubs was when he was four years old, when he and his father would play at their local golf course.
As the years went by, Jurica’s love for golf shifted to another sport - hockey. However, his passion for hockey wouldn’t last long, and he once again would make another change in his athletic career.
“Our school doesn’t have a hockey program,” Jurica mentioned. “I was wondering what I could play, and it was golf. I knew I was somewhat decent at golf, but it was the summer before my freshman year, and it was then that I really ramped up playing.”
That switch in sports paid off for Jurica and the Derry golf program, as the Trojans have captured four consecutive section titles with Jurica on the team, and this year, Jurica claimed the WPIAL Class 2A title.
He shot a 7-over-par 78 in the final round of the championship match at historic Oakmont Country Club. Jurica’s performance not only earned him a WPIAL title, but he also became the first golfer in Derry history to claim an individual championship.
“Words can’t describe how I felt after winning that,” noted Jurica of the memorable day at Oakmont. “I know as long as my brain stays healthy, I’ll remember walking up to 18 and putting my bag down next to my ball on my approach shot; then, hitting my approach shot and watching that ball fly and hit the green and not come off the false front.
“I didn’t really realize how much it meant to the school and everyone else around me until that night and that (next) morning. That’s when it all started to sink in,” Jurica added.
With the fall season over and the winter months approaching, Jurica knows there is more work to be done to get himself prepared for the college level of golf.
He plans on using a golf simulator in his garage during the winter to continue to work on his swing.
“I’m not going to be changing much,” Jurica commented. “I know people like to change their swing in the winter months, but I feel like my swing was where I wanted it to be towards the end of the season.”
Jurica has focused on the work ahead as he prepares for tournaments that will start back up in the springtime. His mindset has been simple all year long, and he looks to carry his winning mentality with him into the spring and beyond when he arrives at St. Francis next year.
“In terms of the spring season when tournaments start rolling around, I want to start winning more,” said Jurica on his goals before he heads off to college. “I want to start winning more in the summer before I go off to college.”