High School National Championship Contenders
Converge on Grand Lake, Oklahoma April 25-26
Ten teams qualified from five High School Regional Conference Championships and are making their way to Grove Oklahoma next week to fish on the always productive Grand Lake. The lake should be in prime form for the young anglers at the 2015 High School National Championship as they compete for the grand prize of $10,000 in Scholarships to the college of their choice as well as national bragging rights!
For these teams and their coaches this process started in the spring of 2014 where each of them participated in either their respective state championships or one of the official TBF/FLW Open Championships. From each State Championship the top 10% of the field advanced to a Regional Conference Championship as well as the top three teams from each of the official Open events. At the Regional Conference level the top 10% of each conference advanced on to the National Championship at Grand Lake for the two day event April 25-26.
The full field will compete on Saturday April 25 and weigh in lakeside at Wolf Creek park, then the field will cut to the top five teams for Sunday’s final day and these teams will weigh-in live in front of the always big crowd of the FLW Beaver Lake Open just across the state line in nearby Rogers Arkansas.
Another perk of advancing to the National Championship is that all ten teams will be assigned a brand new Ranger Z520 Boat with the latest and greatest of electronics and equipment to use for both days compliments of Ranger Boats.
“Ranger was one of the first companies to recognize the positive values of High School Fishing and they had the foresight to see what this could do for the sport of fishing” stated TBF National Youth Director Mark Gintert. “They have been in our corner every step of the way and putting these teams in the finest piece of boating equipment in the country is a very fitting way to cap off the journey for these anglers” added Gintert.
From the Northern Conference Regional the team of Kyle Harnack and Matthew Christopulos captured the Regional competition by taming a limit of bass from the Nanticoke and Wicomico Rives in Bethel Delaware last September.
Qualifying from the Central Conference Regional was the team of Chase Serafin and Anthony Gilmore from Michigan who pulled their win from the always demanding but highly rewarding waters of Lake Erie to win the event held in Huron Ohio.
The Southeastern Conference Regional was the largest by participation from across the Southern portion of the country and these anglers converged on Nickajack Lake in Tennessee. Four qualifying teams were led by the duo from North Carolina’s Bandy High School of KJ Queen and his partner Tyler Black who captured the title of conference champs at that event. Following close behind were Zeke Gossett and Ryan Shields from Alabama who are no strangers to the High School Tournament trail. Rounding out the field from the Southeastern Conference is the team of Saxton Long and Triston Crowder who will be carrying the banner for the State of Tennessee along with Jake Lee and Corey Brooks who also hale from the Volunteer state.
The Southern Conference program carries heavyweight states like Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma where High School fishing has soared in popularity. Leading the charge from that group is the team of Trevor Yates and Jacob Keenum who figured out the Red River in Shreveport Louisiana to advance on. This Oklahoma pair would have to be considered the hometown favorites since Grand Lake is in their state abet on the other side of it, so it is not exactly in their back yard. Also advancing was the team of Chase Meyers and Cole Swede from Arkansas. This team knows a thing or two about big events as well having competed in the always popular High School Fishing World Finals which was held in Russellville Arkansas for several years before heading to Florence Alabama for the 2015 summer classic. Rounding out the Southern Conference qualifier’s is another interesting story as Kansas’s own Cameron Pappan fished by himself to capture the third qualifying spot when his partner could not make the trip to Shreveport. He is no stranger to Grand Lake and would have to be considered an odd on favorite as well.
Rounding out the field is the Western Conference qualifier’s from Colorado the team of Josh Cundiff and Bradley Czosnyka who captured the western regional title at Clear Lake in California to advance on to Grand Lake. This team will join the club leader Sam Heckman who has qualified for the Adult TBF National Championship which will be held during the same week as the High School event.
On behalf of the TBF and FLW National Offices and staff we would like to wish all of these teams the very best of luck in their quest to be crowned NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!
You can follow the Saturday’s lakeside weigh in right here LIVE on the internet!
Sundays final day weigh in will be on FLWoutdoors.com