By Nathan Hutton (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: October 30, 2013

Photo: CCAA website
Darren Whitehouse (far left) and Aaron Pauls (far right) with medals.

This week UFV welcomed the national championship winning men’s and women’s golf teams back home after their impressive showing at nationals in Quebec.

Both squads entered the weekend in serious contention for national titles in their respective fields. They were such heavy favorites that Albert Roche, CCAA golf governor, admitted before the first stroke that “They’ve impressed me, and I think both the Fraser Valley men and women are going to medal.” Mr. Roche gave a speech following the presentation of the coach of the year award to UFV head coach Chris Bertram.

Third-year Darren Whitehouse spoke about Bertram’s achievements,  and how proud the team was for their coach of almost 10 years, saying:

“The team and I were incredibly proud of Chris when he was named coach of the year. It is such an honour to win an award like that and he deserves every bit of it. Chris has always given the team the best opportunity to win any tournament that we enter. It’s about time his efforts were rewarded.”

The Cascades not only dominated the team category at the championships, but they also were extremely dangerous when it came to individual scoring as four UFV golfers medalled in the top three for their respective categories. For the women’s side both Jen Woods and Dani Shap finished in the top three. Woods shot +8 and 225 total strokes which was good enough for a silver medal, and Shap shot +20 and 236 total strokes leading to her bronze medal. For the men, both Whitehouse and fifth year Aaron Pauls picked up individual medals, scoring -4 and -5 respectively.

Whitehouse and the rest of the team look up to fifth year Aaron Pauls, and his performance set a high mark they aspired to. “It was great to be on the podium with Aaron,” Whitehouse said. “Whenever you’re close to him in a golf tournament, you’re doing just fine. He is an elite player and has an incredible future in the sport.”

Overall both teams were potent in their offensive attack over the whole tournament. The three-day contest featured a total score of 863 strokes for the men’s team, or -1. The women’s team registered at +29, 461 strokes.

While the immediate experience was a new high for UFV golf, Whitehouse’s accomplishment also had a personal connection beyond the golf course.

“It was an incredible feeling walking down the 18th fairway with everyone watching, knowing that we were going to win a national championship…After I tapped in on 18 and it was official that we won, I walked over to my teammates and we all started celebrating and hugging each other,” Whitehouse continued. “Automatically I thought of Connor Richey and how we had won for him. It was great.”

Photo: CCAA website
Dani Shap (far left) and Jen Woods (middle right) with medals

Richey died at 21 this past August due to injuries he sustained as part of a devastating accident. He spent the 2011 season with the Cascades squad and was part of the team that won a bronze medal in that year’s national championships, and was preparing to spend his 2013-2014 season on a scholarship to a university in Texas. This year the team wore his initials C.R on their team shirts as a way to remember their friend and teammate.

“He was an incredible golfer and an outstanding person, friend, teammate…he will forever be missed,” Whitehouse said.