Two members of Slippery Rock’s Competitive Bass Anglers’ club have qualified for the College Fishing Northern Conference Championship after placing 11th in the Northern Conference tournament held on the first of August.
Evan Kretz, a junior Exercise Science major, and Joel Hixon, a Management major, will be traveling to North East Maryland to fish on the Chesapeake Bay in the Championship on Sept. 12-13.
Kretz and Hixon competed against 56 teams from schools such as Michigan State, the University of Maine, and Virginia Tech in the Conference tournament. While in Maryland, they will be competing against hundreds of teams that are all fighting for one of 50 spots in the National Championship.
“With over 610 established collegiate bass fishing clubs in the nation, bass fishing is one of the fastest growing college sports,” explained Benjamin Tawney, a 2015 M.B.A. graduate of Slippery Rock University and former President of the SRU Competitive Bass Anglers. “The competition gets tougher every year.”
When asked about the process that goes into preparing for such a large competition, Kretz explained said for these competitions, the club almost always goes to practice on the lake where the tournament will be held.”
“Some of these tournaments can be 10 or more hours away,” Kretz said. “This [is done] to learn more information about the given body of water such as depth, where the fish are, and what baits to use. For the Conference Championship we will be traveling to Maryland to practice the weekend before and then driving back the following weekend for the tournament.”
When Tawney was informed of the team’s recent accomplishment he said he was proud of the club.
“They are all great fishermen and Slippery Rock is getting known quickly for the fishing team,” Tawney said.
The Anglers club was formed nearly five years ago, branching off of the Hunting and Fishing Club. The organization has grown from five to 22 members in the past two years and seeks to provide students with the opportunity to fish both locally and nationally against other institutions.
The SRU Anglers’ have experienced previous success thanks to the hard work and dedication of all of it’s members. Former member Tyler Branca and Tawney secured a spot in the FLW National Championship in 2014 and placed 7th in the nation.
“This got our club and school lots of recognition in the public on television, the radio, and in newspapers,” Tawney said.
Looking forward to not only the upcoming Conference Championship but also long-term goals, the Anglers club hopes to garner awareness for the work they do both on and off campus.
“In five years I would like to see our club continue to be successful,” Kretz said. “One of our goals is to be able to purchase a boat for the club in order to get more student involvement.”