The weather was beautiful for the opening day of the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship
on Lake Murray. And for the most part, the fish cooperated as well.
Only 14 ounces separated the top five teams at the end of the day. In
the end, the Clemson University team of Andy Wicker of Pomaria, S.C.,
and Harold Turner of Sumter, S.C., stood atop the leaderboard with five
bass weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces.
Twenty-five teams from across the country have competed in 20
qualifying events and five conference championship tournaments, and the
top five teams from each conference are competing for the title of
national champion in this three-day nationally televised event.
“This time of year on these chain of lakes in South Carolina …
definitely the home field advantage helps,” said Wicker, a construction
science management graduate.
Turner offered some insight into the team’s strategy for the second day
of competition and said they wouldn’t concentrate on just one area.
“(We’re) going to be all over,” said Turner, a senior civil engineering student.
The team remained tight-lipped about their methods and baits used
Friday, but talked about their chances to make the top-five cut and fish
the final day.
“We caught our first one at 9 and hit a little flurry from 9 until
about 11,” Wicker said. “It was on fire for that couple of hours, but it
was tough outside of that. We’re really uneasy about tomorrow.”
Rounding out the top 10 teams are:
2nd: Auburn University – Jordan Lee, Vinemont, Ala., and Matt Lee, Auburn, Ala. (five bass, 16-8)
3rd: Virginia Tech – Wyatt Blevins, Pulaski, Va., and Carson Rejzer, Hampton, Va. (five bass, 16-5)
4th: Kennesaw State University – Thomas Frink, Woodstock, Ga., and Justin Marlow, Kennesaw, Ga. (five bass, 16-1)
5th: Ramapo College – Charles Danza, Ringwood, N.J., and Bob Rieder, West Milford, N.J. (five bass, 16-0)
6th: University of Georgia – Randy Tolbert, Jr., Rome, Ga., and Chase Simmemon, Alto, Ga. (five bass, 15-4)
7th: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point – Ted Johnson and Jody Derks, both of Waupaca, Wis. (five bass, 14-10)
8th: Georgia Southern – Wesley Maples, Rocky Face, Ga., and Jed Thigpen, Statesboro, Ga. (five bass, 14-7)
9th: Northwestern University – Jimmy Morrow, Arlington Heights, Ill.,
and Matthew Kestufskie, Evanston, Ill. (five bass, 13-15)
10th: Indiana University – Dustin Vaal, Bloomington, Ind., and Steven Bressler, Fremont, Ind. (five bass, 13-15)