May 30, 2014 – The University of the Fraser Valley Cascades are a confident group heading into the Canadian University/College Golf Championship.
And why wouldn’t they be? Both the men’s and women’s teams are coming off dominating gold-medal performances at the 2013 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association PING Golf National Championships.
The University/College event will be held June 3-6 at the Southwood Golf & Country Club in Winnipeg.
Although minor adjustments have been made to the respective rosters, the core group remains the same heading to Winnipeg.
“We have worked very hard as a group over the winter and spring to prepare for this event,” said UFV coach Chris Bertram, who was named the 2013 CCAA Golf Coach of the Year last October. “Our players are individually and collectively playing some very solid golf right now, and I am confident we will be in the mix coming down the stretch.”
Bertram will have a busy month in June. He’s also coaching Team Canada’s women’s team at the 2014 World University Championships, which will be held June 23-27 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
Bertram has never represented his country at the international level, but his grandfather did win a gold medal for Canada in hockey at the 1924 Olympics in nearby Chamonix, France. “The idea of wearing the maple leaf has always been a dream of mine,” said Bertram. “I plan to embrace every second of the experience.”
One athlete he will be counting on in Winnipeg is UFV’s Aaron Pauls, who finished second overall at the 2013 CCAA Golf National Championships. Pauls will also be representing Canada in Switzerland.
“Aaron is a tremendously gifted golfer, maybe the best overall player we have ever had at UFV,” said Bertram. “He’s got everything a coach at the varsity level wants in an athlete – playing ability, scholastic talent, and all of the other intangibles like mentoring younger players and active ambassador for the university wherever he goes.”
These impressive attributes, along with a growing collection of wins, made him an obvious choice for the national team and Bertram believes the sky is the limit for the young golfer. “As much success as he had already, I think we are just seeing the beginning of what he is capable of.”
Two other CCAA members will compete in the team event at the University/College Championship. Men’s teams from Humber College and Grant MacEwan University will participate in the competition, which features the nation’s top student-athlete golfers.
For that reason, this is a special event – one that Bertram and his teams are ready for. “It’s the deepest field of any event we play and it’s fun to get out and play against some of the bigger schools in Canada that we don’t typically see throughout our regular season,” he said. “We are ready to go, and we plan to do everything we can to win this championship.”
UFV is a proud member of the CCAA and the No. 1 men’s ranking is a significant achievement for their program and the association. “It adds some much deserved credibility to the CCAA and the competition that exists at this level,” said Bertram.
“The Canadian university golf landscape is a bit scattered with certain schools opting to play south of the border or elsewhere, but the bottom line is the CCAA is the highest level of varsity golf in Canada and we are proud to be a part of that.”
While the Cascades are ranked tops in the country, at the end of the day, rankings are just opinions according to coach Bertram.
“It’s great when people say you’re the best, but now it’s up to us to go and prove them right.”
The CCAA is a national sport organization that enriches the lives of student-athletes through intercollegiate competition.