Mueller’s steady rise stands out

Paul Mueller made big leaps in the standings on Friday and Saturday to reach Sunday’s Top 12 at Cherokee Lake.  No matter what happens today, Mueller’s Elite Series season will be off to a significantly better start that a year ago, when he finished 110th at Florida’s St. John’s River.

However, Mueller will treasure that tournament in Florida for the rest of his life. He had a couple of bass in the livewell on Day 1 when he got a phone call that his wife, Kimber, was in labor. Mueller hustled home to Connecticut for the birth of their first child, a son named Waylon Paul.

Only Randall Tharp made a higher leap into the Top 12 from Day 1, when they were separated by an ounce (Tharp, 59th, 12-4; Mueller, 58th, 12-5). Tharp actually dropped two spots yesterday after rocketing up to 6th on Friday with the big bag of the tournament so far of 20-11.

The other thing that stands out when you look at how the Top 12 reached Sunday’s final is how steady the top four anglers have been over three days. Jamie Hartman and Jacob Wheeler were tied for fifth with 17-10 on Day 1. Today’s top four held those spots on Friday, with Hartman and Wheeler swapping places Saturday.

Mueller jumped 17 places yesterday with 17-15 to make today’s final in 10th place. Mike Iaconelli moved up 15 places Saturday with his 18-0 big bag of the day.

Here’s a look at the Top 12’s places in the standings over the previous three days at Cherokee Lake:

Name                                  Day 1      Day 2    Day 3

Jesse Wiggins                         2              1             1
Jamie Hartman                       5              3             2
Jacob Wheeler                       5              2             3
Seth Feider                             3              4             4
Josh Bertrand                       14            12            5
Mike Iaconelli                        18            21            6
David Mullins                        12             5             7
Randall Tharp                       59             6             8
Ott DeFoe                              31             9             9
Paul Mueller                          58            27           10
Matt Herren                          20            16           11
Brandon Palaniuk                10             7            12