Zip it! Pikunas seals deal with Akron


Boardman golf standout went to state four times

By Brian Dzenis

bdzenis@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

Boardman’s Jacinta Pikunas is of one of her school’s most accomplished athletes and she’s ready for college golf.

She signed her National Letter of Intent with Akron University on Monday at Boardman High. Pikunas is her school’s lone Division I signee during this month’s early signing period.

“I’m very excited to see what will come in the future,” Pikunas said. “It’s kind of bittersweet to see my career end as a Spartan, but I’m excited to head on as a Zip.”

Pikunas has made the state tournament four times, with her highest finish at second her junior year. In her last tournament appearance, she shot 78 to be tied for 15th in a weather-shortend competition.

She owns two school records and shares a team record. Pikunas, a four-time conference player of the year in both the All-American Conference and Federal League, has the record for best 18-hole score (67) and nine-hole score (31) while being part of a team that broke the nine-hole mark (146).

Akron was one of two schools to offer her a full ride, Pikunas said. According to NCAA bylaws, Division I women’s golf teams can have no more than six scholarships.

“One of the main things was Coach Jenny King,” Pikunas said. “I was drawn to her just because of how she structured her team, not just on the course, but off the course as well.”

Another deciding factor for picking the Zips was her friend, Green’s Abby Pierce, also is joining the team.

Pikunas is one of three siblings. Her brother Max and sister Marianna golfed for Cardinal Mooney.

“I broke the chain,” Jacinta said. “[Boardman’s] golf program offered a lot to me.”

Max used to caddy for his sister when she was as young as 9.

“We were both really young when we started out,” Max said. “We were close, we were home-schooled together up to 8th grade,

“I kind of knew all her mannerisms and stuff like that. I could tell when she was getting nervous. It was a really enjoyable experience.”

Pikunas was The Vindicator’s Girls Golfer of the Year last year while also winning The Greatest Golfer of the Valley junior competition in 2011.

While carrying a 4.0 GPA through high school, she led Boardman to three AAC titles and two sectional titles. Her coach, Brian Terlesky, recalled the days of her as a regular at The Lake Club since she was a small child. Her and Terlesky’s son, Brian, played junior golf together frequently.

“It’s nice to see them finally get to the age where they put it together and go to college and represent a university,” Terlesky said.

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