Mid-Missourian Team Places Third in Teen Anglers Championship
June 24, 2015
Guest post by John Neporadny Jr.
The Teen Anglers Championship June 13-14 at Stockton Lake drew standing room only crowds both days in the Ray H. Zumwalt Expo Center. The championship featured a field of 79 two-angler teams from 25 schools and a guest appearance from Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jason Christie. Lew’s provided $10,000 in scholarship money to the top five finishing teams and $2,000 in gift certificates to its Sportsman’s Factory Outlet for the three big bass awards.
I usually try to cheer equally for all of the anglers while covering high school tournaments, but in this event I was pulling for the Helias team of Hudsen Lee and Trent Distler who led the tournament after the first day with a five-fish limit weighing 15.30 pounds. I was hoping the Helias team would win because it might spark interest from other schools in Mid-Missouri to start fishing clubs. Even though Lee and Distler eventually finished third, their efforts proved that schools without close access to a major lake can still field a team that can seriously challenge fishing powerhouses such as Republic and Ozark.
The championship also drew some media attention as well with two Springfield TV stations and the local newspaper covering the event. Russ McBurney of Teen Anglers also told me some newspapers including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Springfield News-Leader requested the press release and photos from the championship. Results and photos of the championship are available at www.teenanglers.net and www.missourihighschoolanglers.com
In other news, our high school anglers are now starting to make their mark in the adult circuits around the state. Hunter Gill, a senior on the Republic High School team, won the Central Pro tournament June 6 at Table Rock Lake with 14.63 pounds. Fellow Republic High senior Brandon Durr finished fifth in the tournament while their coach, Jim Huson, placed 10th.
Here is what Coach Huson had to say on Facebook about his prize pupils. “Hunter Gill won the Central Solo Pro today at Table Rock. Almost 15 pounds under tough conditions. For you people who don’t know he is only 18 years old and put a whooping on all of us who have been fishing for years! Brandon Durr also got a check today so good job Brandon as well. Both of them whooped up on their Coach today and I am proud of both of them.”
The next day Gill finished fifth in the Solo Pro Series with 13.29 pounds at Table Rock.
Lebanon High School sophomore Corey Cook fished by himself and won the Missouri Angler Wednesday Night Tournament at Lake of the Ozarks with a five-fish limit weighing 18.30 pounds. The tournament drew 43 boats and usually features a field of some of the best local anglers at the lake. According to the Lake Sun newspaper, Cook is a member of the Lebanon High School fishing team and has fished some of the Wednesday night tournaments with Joe Grafeman, a member of the Osage High School fishing team and a 2015 Bassmaster High School All-American.
If you would like more information about how to start a fishing club at your high school, call me at 573/365-4296 (home) or 573/480-0631 (cell) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.