Before the takeoff on Saturday morning, ESPNOutdoors.com and CollegeBass.com chased down the final five and asked them one question: What would it mean for you to win the national championship today?
They brought the latest in tackle, more than enough rods and reels and sported matching Hawkeye fishing jerseys. But the problem was they didn't have a boat.
But the lure never reached its target. Instead it found the back of Sanford's head, lodging several barbs through his Costa Del Mar sunglass holders and into his scalp.
These teams embodied the perseverance, dedication and passion that is a hallmark of the College Bass National Championship.
Check out the college treams that competed in the 2006 Bassmaster College Championship.
The father of a 7-month-old son and owner of a car dealership — two factors that keep him too busy to compete as much as he'd like to — Ippoliti, 44, posted close to 15 pounds each day, a consistency he credited to a technique which he preferred not to discuss.
All five of those teams caught limits on Day Two, and all were in the top five after Day One, just in a slightly different arrangement.
Working in a hospital over the course of his four years back in his hometown of Spartanburg, the USC Upstate Senior had many life experiences helping the elderly and the infirmed.
"Fortunately, er, unfortunately, I'm an inch taller than him," said the diminuitive Weldon, who helped the Crimson Tide to a 9-pound, 6-ounce first day. "He's my mentor. I just wanted to make him proud."
"It's going to be tougher today," he said. "We need to get on them early. Early and quick and big … We need to try again to see if yesterday was a fluke."
Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., took the lead Thursday at the season finale of the 2007 Bassmaster Southern Open out of Decatur, Ala.