UBC student athletes McKenna Lesiuk (left) and Lauren Siemers (right), together with golf community member Cheryl Stecko, were the driving forces in organizing Heat varsity golf fundraising. -Image: Heat Athletics

Heat golf survives to play another day

UBC Okanagan golf team raises necessary funds to compete next season in PACWEST

The UBC Okanagan Heat golf program is back on course.

Through the fundraising efforts of team members and others in the golf community, the Heat will be able compete in PACWEST conference for the 2017-18 season.

After losing their funding from the university in January, the Heat was faced with having to generate $40,000 to cover the costs of travelling to and playing in tournaments around the province.

Thanks to two fundraising events this spring at the Kelowna Golf and Country Club and Michaelbook Ranch, the team raised the majority of the money. A silent donor, along with Kelowna’s Stober Construction, stepped up in the late stages of the process to help put the Heat over the top.

Cheryl Stecko, events coordinator at the Kelowna Golf and Country Club who was instrumental in helping the Heat meet their goals, couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

“People really came together and helped out and we’re very grateful,” said Stecko. “I’m thrilled to death that the team will be able to compete again in the fall.”

Heat student athletes McKenna Lesiuk and Lauren Siemers were also driving forces behind the team’s resurrection, devoting countless hours to both the fundraising efforts and promotion of the program.

“They were amazing,” Stecko added. “This was a lot of work and stressful for them, so it was nice to see it turn out this way.”

UBC Okanagan’s director of athletics and recreation, Rob Johnson, congratulated the Heat team on its return to competition and commended the support of those in the golf community.

“I am deeply proud of the performance of our golfers over the years, and these latest fundraising efforts are yet another example of the strong character and entrepreneurial spirit of our student athletes,” Johnson said in a statement. “Their ingenuity and devotion to golf will serve them well as they compete in this year’s events.”

“…thanks again to the golf community for really stepping up to help us continue to offer these competitive opportunities to our students.”

The Heat’s 2017-18 competitive season kicks off in September.