It’s been a tough year for student athletes in Alberta, as Canada West and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association (ACAC) cancelled fall team sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But one University of Lethbridge team is relishing the opportunity to compete, as the lone Pronghorns team in action.
Canada West cancelled first term team sports in June, but proceeded to give golf the green light in July. The Pronghorns were hopeful a full season could be completed, but last week the league announced that the Canada West Conference Championships in Kelowna had been cancelled because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“It’s always disappointing when a tournament gets cancelled,” said Vanessa Wilson, one of the Pronghorns’ three female players. “But considering we’re in a global pandemic, it’s understandable that that was the decision made.”
Her teammate Michael McDougall-Price echoed Wilson’s feelings.
“We’re incredibly fortunate just to be out here, so we just have to take it in stride,” he said.
The sentiment rings true across the Pronghorns’ roster of 16 this fall, with members of the squad feeling grateful for the opportunity to compete at all, even on a smaller-than-normal scale.
“It’s a privilege to be able to represent the school, and especially as the only team this year, just going out and enjoying ourselves and having a smile on our faces while we do it,” said Wilson.
Head coach Dallas Ducheminsky says his team has been lucky to train at a course like the Lethbridge Country Club, especially due to current demand.
Despite the cancellation of the conference championships, the Pronghorns are relishing any opportunity to compete.
Last week, the team hosted the University of Calgary at Paradise Canyon Golf Club for the 2020 U of L Invitational and put up a strong performance to start the year.
McDougall-Price and teammate Noah Hutson battled for the top two spots on the men’s side — with McDougall-Price winning the individual scoring title — while the Horns beat the Dinos to take the men’s team title.
The Horns could finish their season with the U of C invitational at Priddis Greens outside of Calgary, but Golf Canada’s Canadian University and College Championships are still scheduled for the first week of June in 2021, at an undetermined location.