Cascades trio earns CCAA All-Canadian honours

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Michelle Zygmunt, Aaron Pauls and Joel Kleingeltink (from left) were named CCAA Academic All-Canadians on Tuesday.

Three University of the Fraser Valley athletes have earned Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Academic All-Canadian honours for the 2014-15 season.

Aaron Pauls (men’s golf), Joel Kleingeltink (men’s volleyball) and Michelle Zygmunt (women’s volleyball) of the Cascades were among 142 recipients nationwide to receive the CCAA’s most prestigious student-athlete recognition, which celebrates academic success and athletic achievement.

All three attained academic honours at UFV in addition to earning a PacWest conference all-star nod.

“What a tremendous honour for these three amazing UFV student-athletes,” Cascades interim athletic director Chris Bertram said. “To be able to balance the rigours of academic work with their intense competitive schedules is truly worthy of this prestigious recognition. My hat is off to each of them.”

Pauls, a Chilliwack product, earned a PacWest all-star award as the Cascades won their third straight conference title and took bronze at the CCAA national championships. He also became the first UFV athlete in any sport to represent Canada at the World University Championships last summer, finishing 17th at that event in Switzerland. He helped the Canadian men’s golf squad to its best-ever overall finish, fifth place.

“What I have come to realize is that the focus it takes to excel in golf is the same as the focus needed to succeed academically,” Pauls said. “If you can thrive under the stress of taking five classes, you have tapped into a key ingredient that will make you a better golfer. It’s something I have tried to pass on to the young players in our program.”

Kleingeltink, a 6’4” third-year right side out of Langley Christian Secondary, led the Cascades men’s squad in total offence (3.02 points per set, 15th in the PacWest) and was second in aces (0.41 per set, 10th in the PacWest) en route to a second team conference all-star nod.

“Sports are one reason that I went to university,” Kleingeltink said. “I’ve learned time prioritization, the drive to success, and the desire to do well and produce something I’m proud of through my schoolwork.”

Zygmunt, a 5’10” left side out of Abbotsford’s W.J. Mouat Secondary, was named a second team PacWest all-star. She showcased a terrific all-around skill set, ranking in the top 10 in the PacWest in total offence (3.29 points per set, sixth), kills (2.64 per set, sixth), aces (0.49 per set, seventh) and digs (2.88 per set, ninth).

“College sport has always pushed me to be really driven and passionate about everything I do,” Zygmunt said. “It’s taught me to reach for the highest level in everything in my life, including academics.”

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