Surrey-based golfer Claire Lovan with the B.C. Juvenile girls championship trophy at Nelson’s Granite Pointe course in August of 2017. (File photo: Tyler Harper/Black Press Media)

Surrey-based golfer Claire Lovan with the B.C. Juvenile girls championship trophy at Nelson’s Granite Pointe course in August of 2017. (File photo: Tyler Harper/Black Press Media)

GOLF

Surrey teen Claire Lovan drawn to SFU’s golf program

Johnston Heights student, an artist away from the game, signs letter of intent with university

Surrey’s Claire Lovan will tee off for Simon Fraser University next fall.

The teen golfer, currently at Johnston Heights Secondary, has signed a letter of intent to join Canada’s NCAA team for the 2019-2020 season.

“I was interested in attending SFU’s Interactive Arts and Technology program while also being able to train and compete at the NCAA level,” Lovan said in a release from SFU.

The five-foot-four athlete is welcomed to the program by head coach Matthew Steinbach, along with Kassie Muanyam from Dover Bay Secondary in Nanaimo.

“I’m thrilled to have such a promising and experienced group of golfers commit to the women’s golf program in 2019,” Steinbach stated. “With the signing of Claire and Kassie, I feel we’ve cemented our position as a top collegiate golf option for Canadian talent looking to stay at home.

“Both players will have an impact to our team right away and will be competing among our top five. In addition to their talents on the golf course, both of them are excellent student-athletes and will complement our team dynamic.”

• RELATED STORY: PHOTOS: Canucks play Surrey golf course in annual ‘The Jake’ tournament, from September.

Lovan, sister of SFU men’s golf junior Sy Lovan, started golfing at age four. She represented Johnston Heights at the Surrey Schools and Fraser Valley AAA Championships in 2015 and 2016, and also at the 2016 provincial tournament. As an individual, Lovan won the 2017 BC Juvenile Championships in Nelson by eight strokes.

• RELATED: Lovan captures B.C. Juvenile Championships, from August 2017.

Lovan has volunteered with the Junior Linkster Golf Tournaments and worked for the Future Links clinics. Away from the game, she helped with the creation of her high school’s yearbook, including the cover design, according to the SFU release.

Examples of Lovan’s art work are posted at instagram.com/tcl.claire.

• Meantime, Fleetwood Park Secondary student Sidrit Vukaj has committed to SFU’s men’s soccer program for 2019, along with Christian Comuzzi, Christian Hanche-Olsen, Owen McBride and Patrick Ruszczyk.

Vukaj, a five-foot-10 forward with Coastal FC, was a part of the Vancouver Whitecaps’ pre-residency program for two years early this decade. During his summers, he played with provincial program, representing B.C. from 2013 to 16.

SFU head coach Clint Schneider called Vukaj “a powerful winger/forward who is electric when he is on the ball and in 1-v-1 situations. Already playing significant mins in the FVSL with Coastal, he has the ability to take games over with his pace and footballing ability.”

Born in Albania, as a third generation-player, Vukaj has served as a call up for the U-19 Albanian national team. According to a SFU release, he plans to major in business at SFU with the hopes of playing professional soccer for a living.

“I chose SFU for the high level of education it provides, the professionalism displayed by the men’s soccer team and the ability for me to be close to home,” he stated.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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