Three fishing teams from Charles Page High School will advance to the Bass Nation High School National Championship after their successful finishes to the regular season this past weekend at Lake Eufala.
This was the second year that Sand Springs participated in the Oklahoma Bass Nation (OBN) trail and the club doubled in size from last season. The OBN trail consists of five tournaments that count for points in State standings. The five top teams from the trail advance to Nationals, as do the top two teams from the State Tournament.
Fishing is not recognized as an official sport by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) and is not funded by the State or the schools. Each team is responsible for finding their own sponsors, providing their own boat and equipment, and finding their own coach/captain—which is usually a parent. The student anglers are not allowed to pilot their boats, and the captains are not allowed to physically assist in any way but piloting.
Noah Daczewitz and Hunter Hilger placed 25th on Saturday with four fish totaling 6.38 pounds. They fared even better on Sunday when they totaled 10.36 pounds from four fish for eighth place. This was their third top-ten finish of the season. They finished the season fourth in the standings with 364 points to advance to Nationals.
John Miller and Caden Pennington placed seventh on Saturday with four fish totaling 9.94 pounds for their best finish on the trail this season. They previously placed second at the OBN State Championship, but that tournament doesn’t count towards trail points. They were successful on Sunday as well, hauling in a 9.08 pound catch for tenth place and their fourth top-ten finish of the season. They finished fifth in the season standings with 359 points. Because their runner-up finish at State qualified them for Nationals, the fifth qualifying spot from the trail went to Seth Kearns and Cole Scott.
Kearns and Scott took first place on Saturday with four fish totaling 13.11 pounds. Their largest weighed in at 4.12 pounds and was the fifth-largest catch of the day. They failed to place top-ten for only the second time this season on Sunday, but still finished 30th with two fish weighing 5.41 pounds. They finished the season sixth in the standings with 354 points.
Jerret Haley and Corbin Williams landed a 2.27 pound fish for 51st place on Saturday, and improved to 36th place on Sunday with two catches weighing 5.12 pounds. They finished the year 43rd with 205 points.
Kyle and Kale Hilligoss had their best finish of the season on Sunday, netting four fish for sixth place and 10.46 pounds. They finished the season fourteenth with 329 points.
Braden Millican and Ty Steelman placed 30th on Saturday with three fish totaling 4.9 pounds. They were unable to compete at the Sunday event, however, as Millican had to leave for football camp at Pittsburg State University. Between football and baseball conflicts, Team 3 only managed to fish a pair of tournaments this year, but still finished 59th overall with 156 points.
Austin Smith and Joe Nelson were right behind the Hilligosses on Saturday in 52nd place with a 2.09 pound catch. They finished the year in 75th with 118 points.
89 boats took to the water Saturday and hauled in a total of 152 fish. 26 teams returned empty-handed. Sunday’s boaters fared about the same as 87 teams brought in 151 fish with 28 failing to land a catch.
The 2017 Costa Bassmaster National Championship will be held on Kentucky Lake in Tennessee on June 19th. Kentucky Lake straddles the Tennessee-Kentucky border and the boaters will launch from Paris Landing State Park. The final day’s weigh-in and award presentation will be held in downtown Paris.