Rookie race tightens up

Jamie Hartman's two-day jump in the St. Lawrence River standings has the potential to put him in a tie with Dustin Connell for first place in the Elite Series Rookie of the Year race. Hartman rallied from 30th place on Day 2 to make today's Top 12 cut in 11th place. BASSTrakk currently has him in third place today. If he holds that spot, Hartman would be tied with Connell with 527 AOY points this season.

Considering this rookie class, winning ROY is a significant accomplishment. Four rookies are well within the cutoff to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. In addition to Connell and Hartman, Mark Daniels Jr. is 26th and Jesse Wiggins 29th in the AOY standings through three days at the St. Lawrence River.

"That was my goal, my biggest goal," said Hartman about the Rookie of the Year title. "Obviously, I'm up against a helluva field of rookies."

Really? He had ROY above making the Classic on his list of goals?

"I put it there to begin with just because I wanted to prove it to myself," Hartman said. "Making the Classic was a bonus to me because I assumed I'd make the Classic if I won Rookie of the Year."

Hartman, a New York native, will be at some advantage next week when the Elite Series moves to Lake Champlain.

"I've got a bunch of experience there, but I don't have much this time of year," Hartman said. "I've won four BFLs up there, but I've never won this time of year. I've never had a tournament there this time of year, and it's definitely going to be different."

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