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Jeannette senior golfer Jordan getting in the swing of things

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Top high school sports
Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Riley Jordan, a senior at Jeannette High School, began to play golf after an eighth-grade field trip to Kistler's. While on that field trip, coach Paul Shifko snagged Jordan and asked him to join the high school team.

He enjoys that every game is a fresh start and likes the challenge of golf.

“It's pretty hard,” said Jordan. “You have to push yourself and it's more strategic than anything else. It challenges you but in a way that is not like any other sport.”

His favorite aspect of the game is chipping, and in general his short game.

“It's something I'm better at,” he said.

Golf is a sport that can test the most patient of players and Jordan said the typical frustrations of an average golf game is trying for him, because, “I don't have a lot of patience. I get frustrated a lot, but I try to forget it.”

His coach, Paul Shifko, is very lenient, he said, and let's everything roll off of his back.

“He's very calm, cool and collected,” said Jordan. “He keeps you kind of calm to get out of whatever situation you're in.”

This year's golf team has a lot of potential, Jordan said. “Even the guys who don't start will be good next year and the year after that.”

The group's goal is to win some matches. The team has won few matches in the past few years, though many matches they lost were close to being wins.

“We just want to seal the deal.”

Jordan didn't have a ton of practice time this summer because he broke his arm. In fact, he went into preseason training last month still wearing a cast. He shot a 57 in his first match back from the injury.

“I'm already coming back from the injury,” he said. “I'm all healed, except for the tan line from the cast.”

He admits to being sore the first day on the course without his cast, and he still feels a little trouble coming from his wrist. It's something he knows he has to work on to get his strength back.

Jordan's goal is to win a few matches this season and would like to hit the mid 40s in his game.

After high school, Jordan said, golf will remain a hobby for him.

“I just enjoy it a lot,” he said. “And, a lot of people go out golfing with their bosses (to network).”

Once he graduates, Jordan is thinking of pursuing a career in law enforcement. He hopes to attend the police academy in Harrisburg.

“I want to serve and protect,” he said. “I want to be helping people.”This spring, Jordan will return to the baseball diamond for his second season. It's a sport he's always enjoyed watching and decided to go out for the team last year.

“I thought it would be easy,” he said, with a laugh. “I was wrong.”

Jordan is active in Alpha Hi-Y and the art club. He enjoys drawing and will sketch whatever comes to mind.

Jordan is the son of Dana and Jim Mangan and he has a younger sister, Alana Jordan, who is a sophomore this year.

“I want to thank my grandpap (the late Frank Helzel),” he said. “For always being there and supporting me, even through his sickness. He was always happy, he never let his sickness get to him. He would always talk with me about golf. We have that in common, now.”

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 724-838-5154.



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