Golf teams to raise PacWest banners, celebrate graduating seniors on Friday

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The University of the Fraser Valley golf program will be celebrating some of its recent team successes, along with some of its most accomplished individual performers, on Friday evening.


At halftime of the men’s basketball game between the Cascades and the MacEwan Griffins (8 p.m. tip-off, Envision Athletic Centre), the golf teams will raise their 2014 PacWest banners to the rafters. It’s the second straight season that UFV has swept the conference titles, and the men’s streak of PacWest championships is now at three. Both teams went on to climb the podium at the Canadian Colleges Athletics Association (CCAA) national championships in Quebec City – the women won silver, while the men took bronze.

Friday’s ceremony will also feature senior night celebrations for three graduating Cascades golfers: Aaron Pauls and Taylor Callens of the men’s team, and Jen Woods of the women’s squad.

Aaron Pauls

Pauls, a Chilliwack native, arrived at UFV after graduating from Sardis Secondary in 2009. He’s had a fantastic impact with the Cascades, leading the men’s golf team to four PacWest titles and four podium finishes at CCAA nationals, including a gold medal in 2013. Earlier this year he became the first UFV athlete to be selected to represent Canada at the World University Championship, and he helped Team Canada to a fifth-place finish in Switzerland.

“Simply put, Aaron is the most important player who has come through our golf program, and maybe the most talented athlete to ever attend UFV,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram said of Pauls. “On top of his athletic accomplishments, Aaron has been a great leader for our team, a great ambassador for the university, and a Dean’s List student.”

Pauls, who is finishing his kinesiology degree this semester, is headed to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) to pursue his Masters degree in the same field of study.

He wasn’t initially thrilled to be attending UFV out of high school, after watching other B.C. golfers land scholarships to NCAA schools south of the border. But in the end, he’s glad he became a Cascade.

“I thought I was better than this,” he explained. “But as I met people at the school and Chris, I really started to love it. This is a place to get better. It’s a place to work on your game.

“One of my goals at UFV was to improve the program any way I could. . . . I felt I’ve made an impact on that, so I’m leaving in very good spirits.”

Jen Woods

Jen Woods

Woods, a Kelowna native, helped launch the women’s golf program at UBC Okanagan, her hometown university, and she helped the team win a CCAA title in 2012. She transferred to UFV in 2013 and led the Cascades to PacWest and CCAA championships in her first season on campus. Year 2 included another PacWest crown and a CCAA silver medal.

“She became the central building block for starting our women’s golf program, and her impact with UFV has been incredible,” Bertram said. “In two seasons, we never lost a PacWest event that Jen played in. She’s been an all-star at every level for us, and a pleasure to coach.”

Woods, who is taking business and education classes at UFV, has big goals in golf and plans to turn pro at some point in 2015. She credited Bertram and women’s coaches Jennifer Greggain and Kathy Stecyk with helping to sharpen her skills.

“The team dynamic was awesome this year, and we were able to accomplish a lot,” she noted. “The level of competition that’s been developed over the years (in the PacWest/CCAA) has been a nice platform to help me develop my game to get to the next level.”

Taylor Callens

Taylor Callens

Callens, a graduate of Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, arrived at UFV in 2011 and redshirted that season. He contributed to the men’s team’s PacWest championship run in 2012, and after taking the following year off, returned to the squad in 2014 to help them win their third straight conference title and the national bronze medal.

“Taylor has been the consummate teammate throughout his time as a Cascade,” Bertram said of Callens, who will graduate with a degree in criminology. “To build championship teams, you need to have the entire roster pushing each other to be better. Taylor has never wavered in his commitment to the team, and always showed up with a smile, ready to perform.”

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