Forecasted winds force cancellation of College Bracket seeding day

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — With the forecast calling for periods of sustained 20 mph winds and gusts up to 30 mph on Friday, B.A.S.S. officials have opted to cancel seeding day at the 2023 Bassmaster College Classic Bracket presented by Lew’s. Milford Lake will not be put off-limits, so the eight college anglers competing will have the option to practice if they feel they may do so safely. 

With the canceled day, Easton Fothergill and Nick Dumke from the University of Montevallo will claim the first two seeds respectively by virtue of winning the Bassmaster Team of the Year title. From there, the seeding is based on each team’s finish in the Strike King Bassmaster College National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops. The 2023 national champions Tucker Smith and Hayden Marbut from Auburn University will claim the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, followed by Bethel University’s Levi Mullins and Matthew Cummings in the No. 5 and No. 6 positions. University of Montevallo anglers Brody Robison and Jack Alexander will round out the field as the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds. 

In the head-to-head, elimination-style event, anglers will compete as individuals and the winner will earn a berth in the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota scheduled for March 22-24 in Tulsa. Anglers will launch from Farnum Creek Boat Ramp at Acorns Resort starting at 7 a.m. CT for this catch, weigh, release tournament and end their day at 3 p.m.

FS1 kicks off a day of college sports with morning action from Day 2 of the tournament beginning at 7 a.m. Bassmaster College Classic Bracket LIVE will feature real-time coverage from every boat on Saturday and Sunday as anglers battle to advance. Continuing coverage of the tournament each afternoon and on Monday can be streamed on and the FOX Sports digital platforms.  

Here are the matchups for Day 1:

(1) Easton Fothergill, University of Montevallo vs. (8) Jack Alexander, University of Montevallo

While he goes to school in the middle of Alabama, Fothergill is from Minnesota. Although he hasn’t fished Milford before, he knows how to fish in the Midwest which will only help in this event. With a fifth-place finish at Pickwick Lake, Fothergill and Dumke became the first Bassmaster College Team of the Year winners to also make the Top 10 at the College National Championship. Fothergill is still recovering from emergency brain surgery but is close to full strength. During his initial recovery, Fothergill was able to memorize Google Earth and has a good idea of how he wants to attack this lake.  

Alexander will have a tall task facing off against his teammate in the first round. Alexander and partner Brody Robison finished 12th in the College Team of the Year standings and were the final team to qualify for the College Classic Bracket. Most of their damage was done with forward-facing sonar, but Alexander was able to drag a jig to add some bass as well. If a shallow bite materializes, Alexander could be a contender. 

(2) Nick Dumke, University of Montevallo vs. (7) Brody Robison, University of Montevallo 

Dumke is the second half of the 2023 Bassmaster College Team of the Year and just like Fothergill, is from Minnesota and is plenty familiar with Midwest fishing. His prowess catching both smallmouth and largemouth will go a long way in this event. Both he and Fothergill have shown the ability to figure out any fishery in the country, notching Top 30 finishes at each of the four 2023 Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops events. 

Robison utilized forward-facing sonar to help him and Alexander finish third at the National Championship. Depending on conditions, forward-facing sonar could play a major role in this event, which could help Robison pull off an upset over his teammate. Outside of the Red River event, he and Alexander finished 41st or better in the first three regular-season events spanning three vastly different fisheries. 

(3) Tucker Smith, Auburn University vs (6) Matthew Cummings, Bethel University

Smith is the only angler in the College Classic Bracket that has competed in this event before. In 2021, Smith finished second to Tristan McCormick by just 3 ounces. Since then, Smith has only added to his accomplishments, including winning the 2023 Strike King Bassmaster College National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops. Whether on a team or individually, Smith has proven he is a skilled angler and will be a tough matchup for anyone. 

Cummings, meanwhile, has been competing with Levi Mullins for the last couple of years and the duo has been very consistent. In two tough National Championships in 2022 and 2023, the Bethel anglers secured Top 10 finishes. Now Cummings will get to showcase his talents individually. He threw a Senko behind Mullins at Pickwick, which is the same bait Nick Ratliff used to win the 2018 Bracket at Milford Lake. 

(4) Hayden Marbut, Auburn University vs (5) Levi Mullins, Bethel University

With Smith as his partner, Marbut has now won a Strike King Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors and a Bassmaster College National Championship. The former member of the Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors will now embark on his first Bracket journey. With Milford being a relatively unknown reservoir for these anglers, Marbut will have a great opportunity to showcase his versatility and potentially utilize forward-facing sonar.

Mullins, meanwhile, will be competing in his first College Classic Bracket. Throwing a jig helped Mullins finish second to Smith and Marbut in this year’s National Championship. With how versatile a jig is, the potential is there for Mullins to make a deep run. Kentucky Lake is also becoming a strong smallmouth and largemouth fishery, which should also help Mullins figure out Milford Lake.

The event is being hosted by the Geary County, Kansas Convention and Visitors Bureau.