James Lepp, Bryn Keys get the call for the hall

Champion golfer, rugby star recognized by Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame for 2017

Golfer James Lepp is one of two athletes who have received the call to the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame for 2017.

Golfer James Lepp is one of two athletes who have received the call to the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame for 2017.

Golfer James Lepp and rugby star Bryn Keys have received the nod to enter the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame.

The pair will be officially enshrined at the annual Hall of Fame banquet on April 29 at the Legacy Sports Centre.

James Lepp’s outstanding golf career included a plethora of high-profile wins as an amateur. He was a two-time Canadian Junior champion (2001 and 2002), won the BC Amateur a record four years in a row (2002 through 2005), topped the Royal Canadian Golf Association order of merit three times (2003 through 2005) as Canada’s top amateur golfer, and earned medal honours at the 2005 U.S. Amateur.

Arguably his signature accomplishment came in 2005 as a member of the University of Washington Huskies, when he became the first Canadian to win the NCAA men’s individual championship.

Lepp also represented Canada on a number of occasions in international play – he finished 18th at the 2004 World Amateur Team Championship, leading Team Canada to a fourth-place finish, and he helped Canada win the 2003 and 2005 Copa de las Americas titles.

Lepp was a two-time winner on the Canadian Tour, winning the Greater Vancouver Classic in 2003 (as an amateur) and 2007. He stepped away from pro golf in 2008, turning his talents toward entrepreneurial ventures as the founder of Kikkor Golf and Six Hundred Four Shoes.

Bryn Keys honed his skills with the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club and played high school rugby at Yale and Bateman secondaries. Highlights of his youth rugby career included a provincial U16 title with the ARFC, and a national silver medal with the B.C. U18 side.

Keys got his first taste of representing Canada at the 2004 World Junior Championships (U19) in Durban, South Africa. He gained carded athlete status two years later, and went on to have a long and productive career wearing the maple leaf on the international stage, competing at the U21 and senior levels. He earned eight international test caps for the Canadian men’s 15s side, and suited up for nine tournaments with the national sevens squad including the 2009 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Dubai.

Keys’s club rugby successes included a CIS invitational championship (2003) and a CIS national sevens title (2011) with the Victoria Vikes, and a provincial title with the Aurora (Ont.) Barbarians in 2007. He played professionally in 2009-10 with Moseley Rugby Club in Manchester, England. While playing for the James Bay Athletic Association in 2011, injuries conspired to bring Keys’s rugby career to a premature end.

In addition to welcoming Lepp and Keys to the Hall of Fame as permanent inductees, 13 individuals and four teams will be recognized as Wall of Famers. The Wall of Fame honours athletes in the 14 to 25 age bracket who had outstanding accomplishments in 2016. They will have a plaque on display at Legacy Sports Centre for one year. The honourees are as follows:

Greg Poirier – The Bateman multisport standout won the B.C. high school shot put title, and went on to take bronze at the Canadian Youth Championships in Quebec.

Aaron Postma – The Abbotsford Christian track and field standout won gold in the triple jump and bronze in the long jump at the high school provincial championships. He swept the gold medals in both events at the Fraser Valleys.

Josh Long – The Yale rugby star helped his Lions win the B.C. AAA championship, and won gold medals with the B.C. U18 15s and the B.C. elite sevens squads. He was also selected to represent Canada at the U19 level.

Jake and Josh Thiel – The twin brothers out of Bateman excelled on the rugby pitch, representing Canada at the U18 and U20 levels, winning national gold with the B.C. U18 squad, and suiting up for the Abbotsford Rugby Club’s premier men’s side.

Mackenzie Carson – In 2016, the Yale grad suited up for Canada’s U18 and U20 rugby squads, played for the ARFC’s Div. 1 women’s team, and won a national sevens title with Team B.C. She also won Canada West and U SPORTS rookie of the year awards with the UBC Thunderbirds.

Tausani Levale – Highlights of Levale’s year included gold medals with the B.C. sevens rugby squad at tourneys in Las Vegas and Vancouver; a provincial AA silver medal with the Abbotsford Panthers; a gold medal at the BC Summer Games with the Fraser Valley squad; and a bronze medal with Canada’s U18 women’s sevens squad at a tourney in France.

Carter Loewen – The Abbotsford Cardinals pitcher/infielder was selected in the 40th round of the MLB draft by the Toronto Blue Jays and earned a scholarship from the University of Hawaii. He also suited up for B.C.’s U17 team at the Canada Cup, and was part of Canada’s junior national team.

Cade Smith – Cardinals pitcher Smith, like his teammate Loewen, landed a scholarship from the University of Hawaii, was part of the Canada Cup with B.C. U17, and took the field with the junior national team.

Paige Bennett – The Mouat grad has earned a water polo scholarship from California State University Long Beach. The Fraser Valley Water Polo Club product represented Canada in years past at the U16 and U18 levels.

Isabelle Harris – The Abbotsford Judo Club athlete won gold at the 2016 national championships and the BC Winter Games, and added a pair of medals (U18 gold and U16 silver) at the Pacific International.

Karissa Comeau – Fellow judo athlete Comeau was a double medalist at the 2016 BC Winter Games, taking home silver and bronze, and she won a national championship in 2015.

Jehmrode Kahlon – The soccer standout led his Fraser Valley Premier U14 boys squad to a BCSPL Provincial Cup and a subsequent silver medal at the national championships. Kahlon earned the Golden Boot award as the top goal-scorer at the national tourney, netting nine goals in five games.

Wall of Fame teams include; the provincial champion Yale senior boys rugby, the BCPBL champion Abbotsford Cardinals, the provincial champion Bateman Grade 9 girls basketball team and the provincial champion MEI senior girls volleyball squad.

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