CLEWISTON, Fla. — Trenton Penuel and Shawn Odor Jr. are the last juniors to qualify for the Florida state team that will compete in the Southern Divisional next year in Alabama.
Penuel and Odor made the state team by winning their age divisions of the Florida B.A.S.S. Nation Junior State Championship, June 22-23, at Lake Okeechobee. Penuel won the 15- to 18-year-old division by catching a five-fish limit totaling 20.08 pounds the first day and following up the second day with 16.08 pounds, which included the big bass of the tournament — an 8.81-pounder.
Fishing for the Junior Bassmasters of Marion County, Penuel finished with 36.81 pounds and became the second straight state champion from the Marion County club. “It really means a lot to get this win and represent our club big time,” said Penuel, who is the club’s president. “To have a winner [Rayfe Marquis in the 11-14 age group] last year and then this year, it really gets our club out there.”
Fishing for the Quincy Junior Bassmasters, Odor finished with a two-day total of 23.84 pounds.
The Florida state championship will change its format next year with high school anglers qualifying for the 2015 Southern Divisional. This year’s championship included a high school division that drew 28 kids fishing for its high school team.
“I was excited about the high school competition,” said Jeff Brooks, Florida B.A.S.S. Nation youth director. “We are going to start a high school trail next year. We are going to have three open events and our state championship.”
Jeremy Knepper and Ryan Keith of the Boone High School team took first in the high school division with a combined weight of 57.78 pounds.