By Brooke Moore
GC’s Bass Fishing Team is now the No. 1 ranked collegiate bass fishing team in the nation according to Cabela’s School of the Year Rankings that were posted Feb. 9.
“It’s very rewarding to be ranked No. 1,” said Justin Singleton, a senior marketing major and president of the team. “We have worked really hard for this, and it feels good to be ranked above the major division one schools across the nation.”
The team’s No. 1 ranking came after placing in the top-20 at two major 2016 tournaments.
Zac Bennett and Chase Williams fished in the the Bobcat boat for the Fishing League Worldwide SEC Conference Tournament at Crescent Lake in Florida on Jan. 30. Bennett and Williams bagged 26 pounds, catching three fish. Bennett and Williams’ haul placed them 9th out of 114 boats on Crescent Lake. Their top-10 finish qualified GC for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
The following tournament, GC sent Singleton and Ryan Stewart to Lake Martin, Alabama to compete in the Carhartt College Southern Regional Tournament on Feb. 4-6. The pair placed 20th out of a 214-boat field, the largest field for a college fishing tournament to date. Their success qualified the Bobcats for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops later in the year.
“It takes a lot of practice to be able to qualify nationally,” said Robert Keene, a sophomore marketing major and the team’s PR director. “Spending more time on the water has been really beneficial for us. We are able to learn different techniques and practice new ways to fish in both shallow and deep water.”
Matt Henry started the team in 2008, but until last year, there had been little involvement. Now the team, on average, puts five boats in the water with around 10 anglers at any given competition.
“Our team doubled in size this year as compared to previous years,” said Ethan Thomas, a senior business management major and vice president of the team. “We now have 18 anglers, and we would like to thank GCSU and our sponsors for helping us through monetary donations. It has allowed us to travel more and put more boats in the water, which helps us get more points and higher standings.”
The team’s next tournament will be the GSU Trail Tournament at Lake Eufaula held on Feb. 27