Tragic Accident Claims the Life of a SAF Angler
It is with the deepest sorrow and sympathy that I write this article to inform all in our High School Fishing community of a terrible accident that has claimed the life of one and critically injured another of our former anglers.
Tara Miller and Austen Cathcart from the River Valley Bass Club in Arkansas were in a horrible motorcycle accident on Tuesday night. Tara did not survive. Austen was airlifted to a hospital in Little Rock where he was in critical condition.
The severity of this tragedy is unmatched by anything that can be said at this point and I’m at a loss for words to describe the sorrow I felt when I heard the news. From a personal standpoint I knew both of these anglers well and always enjoyed going to events where I knew they would be participating. They both always came with a smile and great sense of competitive spirit.
Austen teamed with Sawyer Grace to make the final of the High School Fishing World Finals twice and half of the World Champion Team winning the event in 2012. He and Sawyer also competed in the Boat US Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship as the winner of the HSFWF and represented our organization well. In the early days, Austen and I had several counseling sessions over his grades and priorities in school but his love of fishing and the outdoors prevailed and motivated him to improve so he could participate and by the time he had graduated we were no longer having those discussions. It is one of the things I like most about High School Fishing. It gives some students a reason and purpose to go to school and Austin Cathcart as a High School Fishing World Champion is a terrific example of that.
Over the years I had kiddingly named Miss Miller “Big Fish Tara” as she seem to always come to the scales with one monster bass after another that she had managed to catch. Her team didn’t always win but she always seemed to have that one big one in the sack! Her smile was infectious and I was thrilled to see her show up last year at our High School Fishing World Finals Pizza Party simply to route the team on even though she had already graduated high school and was a student at Arkansas Tech University. Tara always enjoyed the outdoors and we will miss her sorely. However, the one thing you can count on is this, if there are big fish in heaven Miss Tara is going to catch one. Her loss is a devasting blow to her friends, family, fishing club and all of us in the Student Angler Federation and the TBF National Office.
Please join me in praying for Tara’s family and Austen’s recovery.
TBF National Youth Director