ORANGE, Va. — For six straight years, the Orange County High School (OCHS) 4H & Junior BASS Federation Nation Chapter team has won the Virginia six-man team championship.
With its youngest team ever, the OCHS squad topped three other schools to win this year's Joseph Thompson Memorial Six-Man Team Championship, Sept. 18, at Smith Mountain Lake. The team made up of four sophomores, one junior and one senior won the event for 11- to 18-year-olds by more than a 10-pound margin, with a total weight of 18.72 pounds.
"We were fishing a lake we had the least amount of experience on," said adult adviser Becky Gore. "The kids really did their homework before they went. They had been online and researched where fish were being caught. We also spent an hour at one of the local tackle shops, and the weekend before we had a learning session about jig fishing because many of the kids hadn't perfected the jig presentation."
Steven Mundell led the team with four fish weighing 7.13 pounds. Other team members weighing in fish were Kevin Beasley with three bass totaling 4.58 pounds; Devon Bowling, two bass, 2.83; Kasey Henshaw, two bass, 2.50; and Austin Mitchell, 1 fish, 1.68. Henshaw and Frederick County Junior Bass Wranglers club member Christy Brown were the first girls ever to fish the championship.
In recognition of the OCHS team's achievement, the high school is displaying the championship trophy in the front office. The school board also invited Gore and team members to its monthly meeting to recognize and congratulate the team.
"Kevin Beasley spoke to the board on the team's behalf expressing appreciation for the board's support," said Gore, "as well as telling them how his experience as an angler had allowed him to grow from a very shy 10-year-old with very limited speaking skills to a very confident sophomore, who does well in school, serves on the student leadership team and is never reluctant to speak in public."