April 10, 2011 (Kentucky Lake, KY) – A total of 73 high school fishing teams from numerous different states came to compete for that $10,000 scholarship to Murray State University, one of the most prominent bass fishing universities in the nation. Murray State University hosted the Murray State High School Fishing Open, April 10 in conjunction with the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship on campus April 7-9.
Ohio High School Anglers, Gunner Pollitt and Daniel Sepeck, from Eastern Brown-Bethel Tate High Schools were victorious and were crowned the Murray State Open Champions, and were presented with a $10,000 scholarship check from Murray State. “I started the day throwing a shaky head on 10 pound Berkley Trilene line and I was dragging chunk rock in about 6 to 8 foot of water. I mainly throw zoom products. That’s really all I did all day,” Sepeck said. Team Member Gunner Pollitt added, “I caught my fish on secondary points throwing a Spinner bait in the morning and dragging PB&J and Missouri Craw jigs in the afternoon.”
Pollitt is still amazed at he and his partner’s amazing win, “It was enough for them to win with a 5 fish limit that weighed 16-11, 2 pounds more than the second place team. “It’s unbelievable. It was a bit intimidating competing against 72 teams. With competition like that, you can really start to doubt yourself. I remember thinking that it would be almost impossible just to place, but once we caught our first fish our confidence grew and things sort of fell into place. Later we found ourselves in the hot seat watching the other teams that came in after us weigh-in. I can tell you that the “hot seat” was really hot. I can’t begin to describe the feeling I had when I realized there was only one bag left to weigh-in. I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest. Then when I they announced we had won, I just went numb. I remember being asked questions but I can’t remember my answers. I think I forgot to thank my parents though. I’m still in somewhat of a daze. It’s a great feeling.”
Finishing in second place, and winning a $1,000 scholarship to Murray State, was a team from Crab Orchard High School in Illinois – Collin Basham and Ben Westrich. The team finished the tournament with a limit of fish that weighed 14-11. Illinois is home to numerous high school fishing clubs, as it is a state that has adopted bass fishing as a competitive high school varsity sport.
Missouri’s Hollister High School Tigers – Layne Woods and Jesse Fisher were just an ounce behind the 2nd place team, weighing in at 14 lbs 10 oz. Their win earned their team a $500 scholarship, also to Murray State.
Tournament Champ team member Daniel Sepeck gives props to those who deserve it, “I want say thanks to all of the anglers out there and all the people who make fishing possible. Thanks to our great military and the National Guard for making the United States a wonderful place to live in. Remember you can’t go any where in life if you just slide by, set goals and set out to achieve them goals. Grass is much greener on the other side.”
Numerous schools brought more than one team to represent their school club, such as Marion (IL) High School Wildcats who brought 6 teams, and Nelson County (KY) High School Whackers who was represented with 6 teams also. This tournament would not have been possible without the fantastic participation of high schools across the country. The future of fishing has arrived!