Troy University’s Bass Fishing Team has signed three high school fishermen to its ranks.
Signing with the team before a crowd of about 100 were Avery Padgett, of Elba, Ethan Young, of Jack – both from Zion Chapel High School – and Kasen Pemberton of Chipley, FL.
The trio will join current team members next year in traveling across the country, fishing in up to 20 collegiate bass tournaments. Those tournaments, head coach Evan Rice said, can consist of up to 550 collegiate anglers representing as many as 200 universities and colleges on the Association of Collegiate Anglers’ Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, where the team currently holds the 88th place.
“These young men will be competing against some serious competition in college, but they’re really good anglers, and can always work with the current team members who already have tournament experience,” Rice said. “I can’t wait to see what they do on the water.”
The TROY fishing team started about 2010, but the team has undergone tremendous growth over the past two years, a trend Rice looks to continue.
“TROY was a pretty easy choice,” said Pemberton. “They have great leadership within the fishing program and there are no limits on what you can fish. I just saw a special connection within the team at TROY no other school had. TROY sets you up for the ultimate college fishing career. They put anglers first and that was a huge factor for me.”
Padgett expects to put lessons learned on the Coosa River to work at fisheries such as South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell, where spotted bass are prime tournament targets.
“I fish the Coosa River more than anywhere. It is known for big spotted bass, so I feel I can take the same techniques and apply them at Lake Hartwell,” he said.
For Young, having the chance to fish in new waters was a major motivation in committing to the team.
“I’m most excited about traveling to all these new fisheries and competing against other colleges. We’re going to bring some trophies back to TROY,” he said.
Team President Sawyer McCullough, a senior for Bay Minette, said having the opportunity to expand TROY’s competitiveness and tournaments hinged on the support of sponsors, since the team is a club sport, rather than a traditionally funded sport.
“Troy University helps us get to all these tournaments, and without them we wouldn’t be able to recruit these high school anglers,” he said. “The support we receive from our sponsors, combined with University support gets us to the tournaments we need to fish in order to be successful.”
McCullough said currently sponsors are Blazer Boats, Bama RV, Horn Beverage Company, The Front Porch, Mama Goldberg’s, Daiwa, All-In Credit Union, American Baitworks, Air Seven Media, Buckeye Lures, and Baijo Sunglasses.
Current team members, led by seniors Hunter Bettner of Fairhope, Grayson Davis of Dothan, and Nathan Burdett, of Wetumpka, include freshmen Kendall Massey of Lakeland, FL, Fischer Barber of Birmingham, Judson Helms of Goshen, sophomores Collis Adcock of Tallahassee, FL, Tucker Jordan of Daphne, Austin Archie of Luverne, Colby Dutton, Panama City, FL, Dalton Daniels of Pike Road, Javon Edwards of McCalla, and juniors Gracie Herbold of Headland, Sawyer McCullough of Bay Minette, and Davis Watts, of Prattville.
The team can be followed on Facebook at Troy University Bass Fishing, on Instagram via @troybassteam and on the team’s website.