Top 8 college anglers battle for Classic berth at Bassmaster College Bracket on Milford Lake

Auburn University's Tucker Smith and Hayden Marbut will be among the eight anglers competing at the Bassmaster College Classic Bracket presented by Lew's in Junction City, Kan., for a spot in the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota.

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — Eight of the country’s best college anglers will launch on Milford Lake from Junction City, Kan., Sept. 29-Oct. 2 during the Bassmaster College Classic Bracket presented by Lew’s, fishing for a berth in the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota.

The 2023 Bassmaster College Team of the Year — Easton Fothergill and Nick Dumke from the University of Montevallo — automatically punched their ticket to the College Classic Bracket to compete alongside the Top 3 teams from last week’s Strike King Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops in this individual, elimination-style tournament.

Joining Fothergill and Dumke, who finished fifth at the National Championship, will be national champions Hayden Marbut and Tucker Smith from Auburn University, Levi Mullins and Matthew Cummings from Bethel University and a second Montevallo team, Brody Robison and Jack Alexander.

This is the second trip to the College Classic Bracket for Smith, who finished second by just 3 ounces in 2021.

“The last time I was there, it really hurt my feelings,” Smith said of the narrow loss. “It will be good to be back and get another chance at it.”

Located several miles northwest of Junction City, Milford Lake is home to the Kansas state-record smallmouth, a 6-pound, 14-ounce fish caught in early April 2010. The lake has hosted a couple of Bassmaster tournaments through the years, including the 2018 College Classic Bracket and the 2021 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional.

On Day 1 of the event, all eight anglers will compete individually to determine seeding — based on weighing in the biggest bag — and set the bracket for head-to-head competition. Morning action on Days 2 and 3, the first two elimination days in the tournament, will be broadcast on FS1 beginning at 8 a.m. CT on Saturday and 7 a.m. on Sunday. The final day of competition will be streamed on

In addition to a spot in the Bassmaster Classic, the College Classic Bracket champion will also earn paid entry into the 2024 St. Croix Bassmaster Opens and the use of a Toyota Tundra and a Nitro Boat.

For full coverage of the tournament, visit

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

Left to right: Nick Dumke (University of Montevallo), Easton Fothergill (University of Montevallo), Jack Alexander (University of Montevallo), Brody Robison (University of Montevallo), Hayden Marbut (Auburn University), Tucker Smith (Auburn University), Levi Mullins (Bethel University), Matthew Cummings (Bethel University).