UNION COUNTY — Eight members of the Union County High School Bass Anglers Team will represent Union County in the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources High School State Championship.
In a statement released Friday, UCHS Bass Anglers Coach Billy Scott announced that the team “had their final tournament to decide the top four anglers who have earned the qualifying positions to go to the State Championship.” Coach Scott said qualifiers for the State Championship are determined by six tournaments in which the anglers competed against each other to determine their ranking. He said this is done by each angler’s total catch weight in the High School and Middle School divisions with the anglers with the most weight in all tournaments combined earning the top four spots to represent the county at the State Championship.
Coach Scott said that “two-time tournament winner Cory Scott, a 10th grade Homeschooler, took it down to the wire being the last angler to weigh-in his fish. Cory and UCHS Senior Jay Vaughn were neck and neck for the top spot heading to the championship. Vaughn had a bad day on the water and it allowed Hunter Enlow, a 10th grader at UCHS, to take the top spot in the Hot Seat with only one angler left to weigh-in.”
Enlow’s time at the top, however, proved to be short-lived as Scott, who Coach Scott said needed only 2 pounds 8 ounces to take the top spot back, came to the scales with 5 pounds 2 ounces “to take the number one ranking to go to the State Championship.”
Coach Scott said that Cory Scott’s total of 25 pounds 5 ounces gave him the win and top spot, with 2nd place going to Hunter Enlow with 23 pounds 7 ounces. He said that 3rd place went to Jay Vaughn with a total of 21 pounds 10 ounces, while Creed Fowler, a senior from Union Christian Day School, took the final transfer spot to the championship with a total of 17 pounds 4 ounces.
In addition to the four top qualifiers, Coach Scott said there will be two alternates going to the State Championship as well just in case one of the qualifiers is unable to compete. He said the alternates will be 5th place finisher UCHS student Dray Davis who had a total of 16 pounds 12 ounces and 6th place finisher UCHS student Justin Hall who had a total of 16 pounds 12 ounces.
Angler Of The Year
Coach Scott also announced the team’s “Angler Of The Year.”
The UCHS Bass Anglers Angler Of The Year (AOY) Award is given only in the High School Class. This is determined by total weight, total number of fish, and number of participation points.
To determine who receives this sought after award, Coach Scott said that “more is taken into consideration than just fishing. Attendance to team meetings and participation in our fund raising is also awarded points.”
This year, Coach Scott said the top honor went to Cory Scott, with a total of 49.81. Second place went to Hunter Enlow with 44.93 while 3rd place went to Jay Vaughn with 44.22. Fourth place went to Creed Fowler with 34.25 and 5th place to Dray Davis with 32.75.
“I asked Cory what it felt like to win both awards,” Coach Scott said. “He said it was bittersweet, because Jay had lead the entire season till the last minute and he felt bad for him, cause Jay had beaten him out before, and it hurts. He also said it was sweet to see his name pop up when it showed the AOY totals.
“I asked Cory what he would do different or change this year,” he said. “Cory said that he would change what he said on stage. He said that he was so blown away that he won AOY, that he thanked sponsors and people and forgot to thank his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in front of all those people, for allowing him to do the things he does, and that would be all he would change.”
Middle School Class
Coach Scott also announced that Luke Davis, a 7th grader from Sims Middle School, took the top spot in the team’s Middle School Class wth 11 pounds 12 ounces.
“Luke lead the entire season and did an awesome job,” Coach Scott said.
Also qualifying to go the State Championship for the Middle School Class was Jason Rector of Sims Middle School with 7 pounds 14 ounces (2nd place); Tanner Duncan of Jonesville Middle School with 4 pounds 15 ounces (3rd place); and Tanner Belue of Sims Middle School with 1 pound 9 ounces (4th place).
Coach Scott said that the two Middle School Class alternates will be Jonesville’s Christian Wright and Sims’ Carson Valentine.
Coach Scott said that the UCHS Bass Anglers have had an awesome year and he hopes to do more next year. He said the sport is growing fast and it’s hard to keep up, but he wants to do all he can to support these kids.
When asked about the highlights for his year as coach, he said it was things like seeing kids that haven’t caught fish come to the scales with their first catch, like Jake McGee.
“Like tonight,” Coach Scott said. “When 9th grader James Bramlett brought not only his first catch, but a 4 pound 9 ounce largemouth, that was Tournament 6 Big Fish. Also, interviewing my son on stage, knowing he just won, just about choked me up. I am very proud of him but I’m proud of all this team. It’s not easy to get up at 3 a.m. and fish in cold and hot weather for 12 hours at a time.
“I love the fact that all kids had a chance and represented the entire county,” he said. “UCHS, Homeschoolers, and Union Christian Day School were all in the top four going to state. Union County as a whole will be well-represented in The State Championship.”
Last but not least, Scott said, “I would like to thank our boat captains for what they do to make the kids’ dreams come true, as well as all the sponsors for supporting the UCHS Bass Anglers. They make the difference in whether we fish or not. Everyone thank them as you see them, as well as our kids.”
This story courtesy of the Union County High School Bass Anglers.