JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - The Bethel University Wildcat Bass Team set another record this past weekend by becoming the first collegiate bass fishing team ever to qualify five boats to compete in the Bassmasters National Championship in one event. The Bass Cats had just set a new record for the most boats qualifying in an FLW event for their national championship at the Kentucky Lake Open when the Bass Cats qualified four teams to fish in the FLW National. "This team just keeps setting the standard for Collegiate Bass Fishing and continues to have a record breaking season", said Head Coach Garry Mason. "They just never quit or give up. I even got a Facebook message from one of America's top professional anglers congratulating the team for their accomplishments this past weekend. That Pro Angler was none other than Mr. Rick Clunn, four time Bassmaster Classic winner," said Mason.
The team had five boats that made the second day cut down to 21 boats from the total field of 162 during the Bassmasters Eastern Conference Regional on Friday to move on to Saturday's competition and a berth to the championship.
Saturday's competition seen the Bethel team of Brian Pahl and 2016 Bassmasters Classic Bracket Championship winner John Garrett go to the scales with a five fish limit rounding out their three day total weigh of 41 pounds 12 ounces for a third place finish behind Bryan College and Middle Tennessee Tech who had first and second place wins respectively.
Four other teams from Bethel joined their teammates in the top twenty to qualify. Those were, KJ Queen/Evan Owrey who finished seventh place with a total weight of 39 pounds 12 ounces. Cody Huff/Garrett Enders finished in eleventh place with a total weight 37 pounds 11 ounces while teammates Ryan Winchester/Tyler Black finished in thirteenth place with a weight of 35 pounds 9 ounces. Bethel Anglers Cole Floyd/Carter McNeil rounded out the Championship berth for Bethel with a total weight of 32 pounds 1 ounces for their three day tournament.
Bethel Anglers Hunter Louden/Cully Scroggins missed the cut for the championship by only 2 ounces. Louden and Scroggins will join teammates Ty Dyer, Ricky Harris, Kyler Chelminiak, and Alec Piekarski in the Bassmasters Wildcard event to be held in Alabama on Lay Lake in a few weeks in hopes of qualifying for the national championship.
Bethel qualified a record five boats for the 2014 Bassmasters Championship however it took two tournaments to qualify that amount of boats which was a record at the time. "If Bethel can qualify one more boat in the wildcard then we would break the record for the most teams ever to qualify from one school for the Bassmasters National Championship," said Coach Mason. "This would be a huge achievement based on the talent that we fish against during each competition. A big congratulations to Bryan College who won first place this past weekend at the Bassmasters Eastern Conference and qualified four teams for the nationals," concluded Mason.