Much To Be Proud Of
The MISD Fishing Team had decisions to be made, as they had members of the Team earn the right to be at two different events, with two different High School Tournament organizations, all on the same week-end in late June. Several Members were double qualifiers, meaning that they had qualified for both events, and had to make some tough choices.
On one hand, would they want to stay local and fish in the highly thought of Texas High School Bass Association Angler of the Year Tournament on Lake Palestine, or would they want to go to Lacrosse, Wisconsin, where they would have the opportunity to compete in the Bass Federation National Championship and World Finals. Decisions, Decisions.
Those that qualified for both Championships made the toughest decision of their young angling careers, and chose to go to Wisconsin. This by no means, was an easy choice for not only the Anglers, but their parents and captains as well, as it was an arduous 22 hour drive towing boats all the way up to the Mississippi River in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. This was most likely fueled by the success that Fallon Clepper and Wyatt Ford had in 2022, where they went to the National Championship on Lake Pickwick in Alabama, and came home as National Champions. Also, the opportunity to compete for over a million dollars in Scholarships probably didn’t hurt much either.
Fast forward a year to 2023, and we had four Individual Teams qualify to compete in this prestigious event, hosted by the Bass Federation. These four teams earned this right by being in the top 10% of the TBF event held back in April on Lake Conroe. Wyatt Ford and Reece Findley won this event on Conroe, and were crowned the Bass Federation’s Texas State Champions. They were followed by Fallon Clepper and Matthew Jones, who came in second, along with Blayne Beall and Aidan Castro placing third, and Jackson Wilkerson and Jack Haag nailing down the 4th and final spot out of 48 teams competing in this TBF National Championship Qualifying event.
These four teams did well, all catching and weighing fish over this multi day tournament, where the first two days, everyone competed for the Top 10 Spots out of 256 Team Field, to earn the right to move on to the third and final day in the National Championship. Unfortunately, MISD did not have any teams crack the Top 10 in this event, but rest assured, they represented all of us here in Montgomery in stellar fashion. In fact, Fallon Clepper and Matthew Jones did so well, that they were the highest placing team from Texas.
Since TBF has a unique format, all teams that were not in the Top 10 for the National Championship, had the opportunity to compete in a second chance event on Friday, looking to qualify for the World Finals to be held on Saturday. Leading the charge and narrowly missing the cut for the World Finals was Wyatt Ford and Reece Findley, who weighed in the maximum 3 fish limit for 9 pounds 4 ounces, missing the cut by 3 ounces. As stated previously, all the teams weighed in fish at the Tournament, and Fallon Clepper and Matthew Jones had the distinction of weighing in a limit all three days of competition. They were followed closely by our Freshman Phenom’s, and soon to be Sophomore Team of Aidan Castro and Blayne Beall. We also had Lake Creek seniors Jackson Wilkerson and Jack Haag roaring back on the final qualifying day making waves, proving that the MISD Fishing Team has no quit in it.
The THSBA AOY Tournament had two of the four MISD teams that qualified competing in it, as stated earlier, two of the teams were in Wisconsin on this same week-end. Never Fear, as the reigning Houston Division Anglers of the Year of Curtis McCauley and Nate Millner were in attendance, as well as Colton Hatzold, who placed 7th in the AOY race.
These two teams represented Montgomery well, with Curtis and Nate coming in 2nd, with over 18 pounds with their 5 fish limit. Colton, who fished alone this year, came in a very respectable 31st out of 90 of the best teams that the Texas High School Bass Association has to offer.
Overall, the MISD Fishing Team has much to be proud of in this 2022-2023 campaign. They won their 8th Divisional Title and 4th Regional Crown in 9 years of competing. They were the Runner’s up at the THSBA State Championship, where over 250 programs began the year with the same goal, to be the THSBA State Champions as a team. They had Individual teams do some remarkable things, such as Wyatt Ford and Reece Findley being crowned the TBF State Champions. They also had another individual team in Curtis McCauley and Nate Millner win the coveted Anglers of the Year title for the Houston Division. We have “Much To Be Proud Of” Montgomery, “Much To Be Proud Of.”