Story by Justin Gaston, Contributing writer
The Murray State Bass Anglers entered last weekend looking to advance the team into the national championship picture.
Freshman from House Springs, Missouri, Nathan Adams and junior from Goreville, Illinois, Shon Messmer finished 13th out of 203 teams in the 2nd Annual FLW College Open, which advanced them to the Fishing League Worldwide College National Championship in 2017.
The Anglers also competed over Spring Break in the Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Open at Lake Dardanelle.
Sophomore from Shelby, North Carolina, Ryan Lancaster, sophomore from Hunetley, Illinois, Mike Lowry, sophomore from Peewee Valley, Kentucky, Daniel Young and sophomore from Ziegler, Illinois, Boris Moskoff complete the four-man team that ended with a 4th place finish at Lake Dardanelle.
The Anglers’ team president, junior from Linderhurst, Illinois Ryan Kirkpatrick, said the team’s strategy is in their numbers. The Anglers have one of the largest collegiate bass teams and use it to their advantage to maximize the opportunities of scoring points.
The Anglers often send out anywhere from three to eight teams in competitions, bettering their odds for a top place finish.
“We like to send as many teams out as possible to better our chances for points,” Kirkpatrick said
The Anglers are currently ranked 10th in the Association of Collegiate Anglers School of the Year standings but are expected to move up to 7th in the standings, according to Kirkpatrick’s calculations.
The Anglers are known as one of the best bass teams in the Midwest and always finish near the top of the standings. With a few tournaments left before the season deadline in July, the Anglers are confident they can bring in the ACA School of the Year title. But the Anglers are aware there are other competitors with the same mindset.
“Our biggest competition is North Alabama. They’re always a top team,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick says UNA is a rival to the Anglers and expects to be battling with them for the ACA School of the Year title.
The Anglers will also be deciding the top six anglers that will be on the national U.S. boat team in a friendly competition April 17 at Kentucky Lake.
The Anglers travel to Table Rock Lake in Kimberling, Missouri this weekend for their next competition. They will also be setting up some fundraising event around Murray in the near future to help support the team.