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Willson to join Hill on Concord golf team

Feb. 1—His talent on the golf course precedes him, but the consensus Thursday afternoon seemed to be that Jonah Willson is an even better person.

The Woodrow Wilson senior signed his letter of intent to golf at Concord University, where he will his former Flying Eagle teammate Zan Hill.

Before and during the ceremony, Woodrow athletic director Andrew Pinnick and assistant golf coach Charlie Houck spoke about Willson, emphasizing the person more than the golfer. Head coach William York agreed.

"He's been a leader from the get-go and just one of the best kids on and off the course," York said. "He takes his athletics seriously, but he's a great guy to be around, fun guy to be around. He's determined. Comes from a great family, too."

Willson said he had Concord in his sights for a long time and it was the only school he considered.

"I really like the campus a lot because it reminded me of home," he said. "I like the ability to be 45 minutes away, so if something happens I can come home. I can compete collegiately. One of my best friends is down there right now, plays golf for them, so that was another. I get to hopefully room with him and have a fun two years with him."

That would be Zan Hill, a Woodrow alumnus who won the Class AAA individual state championship in 2021. Hill didn't exactly recruit Willson, but the chance to reunite with a high school friend and teammate was definitely a selling point.

"He influenced me a lot, but it wasn't as much as you would think," Willson said. "He'd be like, 'If you want to play at Concord, I'd love to play with you.' We hang out a lot."

Willson had a memorable senior year for the Flying Eagles. He won the Coalfield Conference championship and shared the Region 3 low medalist honor with Greenbrier East's Isaac Hutchison after firing a career-low 66. He closed it out with a top 10 finish at the state tournament to garner all-state honors.

"My senior year, I'll just remember I played my best and I improved. All through the little things is what I always try to tell myself," Willson said. "I try to get 2 percent better every day. That's the goal."

Woodrow finished second at the Region 3 tournament behind Greenbrier East. York, who took over the program in 2022, said Willson was a great help in helping everyone adjust.

"He took the role of captain seriously," York said. "He was a leader at practice. He'd sit there and he'd set up practices on the putting green. He would teach the kids what to do. He'd walk with them and help them out. He was a leader."

"It was really nice. Coach York has always been super good with us," said Willson, who said he go into something related to premed. "He's really helped us. He's helped me a lot. It was a little different leading a golf team, but I think as a golf team we had a ton of fun. Any practice, we'd practice but I'd do it with games so everybody had fun."

Email: gfauber@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @gfauber5