Park Hill South team wins first Teen Anglers tournament

Osage Beach, Mo. – Park Hill South High School anglers Bryce Soske (left) and Kaleb Lenhert won the inaugural event of the Teen Anglers Tournament Series by catching a 16.58-pound limit Saturday, March 28 at Lake of the Ozarks.

MO Teen AnglersMaking a 20-mile run on Lake of the Ozarks in snow and frigid temperatures paid off in a victory for Park Hill South High School anglers Bryce Soske and Kaleb Lenhert Saturday, March 28 at the Teen Anglers Tournament Series season opener.

Soske and Lenhert sacked up a five-fish limit weighing 16.58 pounds to top a field of  162 student anglers from across the state.  The duo’s winning pattern consisted of jerking suspending stickbaits along wind-blown secondary points from the 36- to 39-mile mark of the Osage arm.  Soske threw a Luck “E” Strike RC Stick in a black shadow hue and Lenhert jerked a black-and-silver Rapala suspending stickbait.

Park Hill South Co-Coach Gary Soske served as the boat captain for the winning anglers.  “I thought they did a fine job,” Gary Soske said. “They stayed focused and fished the entire time. Obviously the weather was brutal but they are experienced so they were prepared for it with the proper clothes.  The hands got cold a few times but that was about it.”

Lenhert said he likes fishing this time of year despite the cold weather. “It was the first tournament I had ever fished in the snow,” he said.  Catching fish all day helped the teen anglers forget about the cold.

Both anglers fish Lake of the Ozarks frequently since their families own lake houses there. They had fished the lake during their spring break and the weekend before the tournament. “It wasn’t our first day on the lake in that area,” said Coach Soske.  “We felt pretty confident going in. We knew where the fish were biting.”

The other top five teams winning trophies at Lake of the Ozarks were: Ross Thompson and Collin Kemp of Nixa High School in second place with a 16.34-pound limit; Ashley Ruggles and Garrett Moeller, Hillcrest High, third, three fish, 13.33; Cody Tumlin and Cameron Smith, Ozark High, fourth, 12.96 limit; and Corbin Mertgen and Heath Renno, Lincoln High, fifth, four fish, 12.65.

Winning big bass gift certificates from Sportsmans Warehouse were Dakota Pierce and Derrick Bushong of Ava High with the first big bass weighing 6.98 pounds; Mertgen and Renno, second big bass, 6.30; and Ruggles and Moeller, third big bass, 5.93.

The tournament was the inaugural event of the Teen Anglers Tournament Series and Tournament Director Randy Conlon said he was “ecstatic” about the turnout. “I thought it went excellent,” he said. “We had 22 school districts show up.  We were up close to 50 boats (before the tournament) and we took a lot more entries at the ramp.  We had put out a deadline, but we had some calls after that and we ended up taking 30-something teams at the boat ramp.”

The tournament director did have to solve a unique dilemma for one of the contestants before the takeoff.  Conlon said he “got tickled” by one girl who asked if he could stop the tournament at noon so she could leave and make it home in time for her prom.  He solved the problem by telling her she could either weigh in her fish early or leave early and let her partner continue to fish the rest of the day  “In 20 years (of holding tournaments) that is one question I have never been asked,” Conlon said.

For the full results of the tournament and more information on the Teen Anglers Tournament Series, visit