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2019 Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award finalists tell what it means to be their respective school's representative. Greg Hardwig, greg.hardwig@naplesnews.com; 239-263-4767

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Thursday, May 23, 2019 will go down as a pretty big night for Jensen Jones.

Hours after graduating at St. John Neumann Catholic High School, Jones was named the recipient of the 30th annual Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort.

"It's going to be a very special day in my life," Jones said, "skipping graduation photos to come here and then the unexpected win — truly. there was an amazing group of people, amazing athletes and students. It's just crazy."

Jones, who is headed to the Air Force Academy as a quarterback, will receive a $10,000 scholarship — $2,500 a year for four years.

Jones was chosen over 12 other senior finalists from Collier County high schools. They will receive a $5,000 one-time stipend.

"It's a cherry on top," Jones said of the award.

Jones didn't realize his father, Damon, who also is his football coach and athletic director at Neumann, also was a Winged Foot finalist, back in 1991 at Lely.

"As a dad you couldn't be prouder," Damon Jones said. " As a coach you couldn't be prouder. As the athletic director of the school he comes from, you couldn't be prouder."

"Everything I've tried to do is just to reach his expectations," Jensen Jones said of his father. "Hopefully I've succeeded."

Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. was be the keynote speaker. He followed two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange, a part-time Naples resident.

More: Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. addresses 13 Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete finalists

In 2018: Gulf Coast's Paula Gomes wins 2018 Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award

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Graduating seniors from Collier County high schools were eligible for the award, which was created in 1990 by the Collier Athletic Club.

This year's Winged Foot finalists, in alphabetical order, were

Anthony Alvarez, Lely

Mia Gallegos, Immokalee

Teagan Havemeier, Marco Island Academy

Jensen Jones, St. John Neumann

Tobey McDonough, Gulf Coast

Logan Nikolich, Seacrest Country Day

Mo Palmer, Palmetto Ridge

Gerald Roger, Golden Gate

Jayden Rolle, Barron Collier

Jett Su, Naples

Natalie Thompson, Everglades City

Nicholas Tompkins, First Baptist Academy

Parker Weiss, Community School of Naples

Jones won the Broxson Trophy, given by the Naples Daily News to the top overall football player in the county, and also was named the Class 2A Player of the Year.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Jones led Collier County in rushing with 1,970 yards and was among the state leaders with 34 touchdowns. He also was third in the county with 1,525 passing yards and 14 touchdowns, and led Neumann to its first playoff win. He added 55 tackles at linebacker and also was the Celtics' long snapper. Jones also played baseball.

Jones easily won the Class 2A Player of the Year award, voted on by statewide media. The Celtics star had more than twice the amount of points in the voting than the second-place finisher.

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Jones is just the second from St. John Neumann to win the Winged Foot. Shannon McGregor won it in 2001.

Ripken focused on sportsmanship, doing the right thing and treating people the right way. He also stressed people to measure themselves against themselves, not against one another.

Emcee Jeff Fridkin also introduced a 30-year perspective, going all the way back to inaugural winner Terry Dean of Barron Collier with basketball analyst Dick Vitale as the keynote speaker. Photos of all of the winners and keynote speakers were shown.

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Winged Foot Chairman Bud Hornbeck was honored for endless contributions. To date, the Winged Foot has given out over $1 million in scholarships.

Former winners on hand were Naples High's Lynn Miller from 1995, St. John Neumann's Shannon McGregor from 2001 and Naples High's Ingrid Schumacher-Kelly from 2004.

Each candidate was required to complete an extensive application process in order to be considered by their respective schools. Each school then determined its representative.

On April 30, the Winged Foot Selection Committee met and conducted informal interviews with each candidate. The committee then made its final decision, which will not be announced until the banquet.

Paula Gomes of Gulf Coast was the 2018 recipient.

Major sponsors of the banquet include Barron Collier Jr. Foundation Inc., Iberiabank, Grant Fridkin Pearson, PA, Dr. Charles Karpas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, The Lutgert Companies and Gallagher Lutgert Insurance.

Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award

Winners

 

Keynote speakers

2014 — Jon Gruden

2015 — Shane Battier

2016 — Desmond Howard

2017 — Gary Danielson

2018 — Curtis Strange

2019 — Cal Ripken Jr.

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