Toll Gate senior Will Niles recently signed his National Letter of Intent to play Division III golf for the Anchormen of Rhode Island College.
Niles, whose father is the club pro at the Louisquisset Country Club in North Providence, was excited to put the pen on the paper and make it official alongside his family.
“It feels good. My dad is a club pro at Louisquisset in North Providence so we’ve been working for years now trying to get me to where I needed to be … a place where I would feel confident going into college and playing. It started out rough because I was a baseball player my whole life so we had to kind of transform my swing into a golf swing. I played hard for the past two years in high school and it started coming along last summer and I started winning some tournaments,” said Niles.
Niles is also a wrestler for the Titans, but felt that golf would be a better long-term sport to pursue at the collegiate level.
“For a while, wrestling and baseball were my sports. I didn’t even try out for baseball at Toll Gate, I also knew that I didn’t want to wrestle in college because it’s not easy on my body, I felt like golf was something that I would be able to play forever. I guess I am drawn to golf and as a sport I will be able to play it for the rest of my life,” said Niles.
Between the small campus, his familiarity with the students, and its close proximity to his home and father, Niles felt that RIC was the best fit overall. Niles will also be studying Criminal Justice at RIC.
“My sister goes to RIC so I was a little drawn to that. I also thought that it would work for me because they have a small campus, I know a lot of people there that will be able to help me out. (RIC coach Gene St. Pierre) was also a big help, he seemed pretty interested and he really helped me throughout the admissions process. RIC is also close to my dad’s course so if I ever need any help it will be right around the corner,” said Niles.
Although he looks forward to taking the next step in his academic and athletic career, he expects the transition to have its challenges, and will miss the Toll Gate community.
“It’s definitely going to be tougher in college. In high school, golf is a game that a lot of kids played just trying to have fun, college kids want to do it for the competition, not just something to do. It’s going to be a lot more competitive and I think the kids will have a much greater drive to try to improve,” said Niles. “I made a lot of friends playing golf for Toll Gate, I even became friends with kids from other schools that we competed against. It’s not going to be the same in college since everyone is from (different areas). I met a lot of good people playing golf in Rhode Island.”