CANTON – At the age of 5, it didn’t take long for Ryan Jones to realize that the game of golf was special to him. The now Hugh C. Williams High School senior solidified his passion for golf when he won the 12 and under New York State Junior Amateur tournament in 2018.
“I enjoy golf because I like to compete. It teaches me discipline and I get to meet new people and create friendships,” Ryan said. “If I put in the time and practice my skills would get better.”
That commitment came to fruition Wednesday, Dec. 20, when he made it official that he would be attending Division I Rider University on a golf scholarship. The university is located in Lawrenceville, N.J.
He was joined at the ceremonial signing by his parents Aaron and Paula Jones, and his sister Meredith.
“Besides my parents, my grandfather Dennis Jones played a positive role. He was a longtime golf Coach at Canton for many years. My Dad and him helped me learn and understand the game. Golf is a part of our family,” said Ryan.
“We would go out and practice and play together. My family just really motivated me to become a golfer and to have the mentality that hard work will pay off. My parents and my sister have been so supportive throughout my golf career.”
The Canton Central senior took time to recognize his coaches throughout his high school career including Rob Brown, Mary Lawrence and Marty Nowicki.
“These people have helped me through my whole golf career as they would give me swing tips, get lessons from them, or even help me with the mental aspect of golf,” said the Canton Central senior.
“My parents have been around sports all their lives and played sports in high school. My Dad played Division 1 golf at St. Bonaventure and my Mom played Division 1 tennis there too. They had excellent work ethics that they instilled in me,” remarked Jones. “I knew I wanted to be like them and follow in their footsteps. They encouraged me to go practice my game all the time and they took me all over the Northeast to compete in tournaments. They are my biggest supporters and I would not be where I am today without them. I believed in myself and knew I could be just like them with hard work and determination.”
For mom and dad, watching their son blossom into a Division I golfer has been a rewarding and enjoyable venture.
“Ryan’s ability to compete is second to none. His wanting to win and be the best drives him in everything. He hates to lose and he works hard to become the best he can be and have the success he has had in all sports. He is a good teammate and he makes everyone around him become better. It hasn’t been by accident, he has earned it,” his mother stated.
“We just tried to share what it takes to be good in such a fun but frustrating game. We worked a little with his swing as he grew up but worked on the mental and thinking part of the game of golf the most,” said his father.
“We are certainly proud of Ryan and his accomplishments. He has definitely earned everything that he has received. The hours spent at the course, the range, the car rides all over the northeast to tournaments, the drive to Turning Stone Golf Dome to work on his game on Saturdays during the winter, and the learning of how to handle the ups and downs of competing have all been worth it.”
“What we are most proud of is that Ryan is that he is a good teammate, he does well academically being in the top 10 of his class and he is able to play three sports. Ryan loves playing for Canton and being a Golden Bear. We are grateful for the support, help, and advice he has had through the years. We are blessed to live in the Canton community and to have him attend and graduate from Canton Central School. His teammates, coaches, and the Canton community are the best,” his parents stated. “It’s been a pleasure to watch him grow into a fine young man.”
Both Paula and Aaron are impressed with Rider University and what the institution has to offer.
“Rider is a good academic school and has a nice campus. Athletically, it’s been his aspiration at a young age to play a Division 1 sport so he is thrilled to have a chance. It’s funny as his sister Meredith goes to Niagara University and they are in the same conference so I am sure there will be some trash talking and some friendly ribbing as those two schools go at it,” his mother jokes.
Ryan will be studying Finance at Rider, saying he enjoys math and wants to further himself in that field.
He has accrued an impressive resume at Canton Central School, both athletically and in the classroom.
Ryan is a member of the National Honor Society and is among the Academic Top 10 of his senior class.
He was awarded the Athlete of Distinction for soccer, selected on the All State Soccer team, MVP, 1st team All Northern, All time leading point scorer at Canton Central, 2 Section X titles Basketball, 4th team all state, 1st Team All North Team, 1st team All Northern, 2 Section X titles; and golf is a 5 time NYS qualifier, MVP, Section X Individual Champion, 5 time 1st team All Northern, amd member of 3 Section X titles.