BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Twelve outstanding high school anglers have been selected as members of the exclusive Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors.
“The Bassmaster High School All-American program continues to be the most prestigious in the country,” said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “And we appreciate Academy Sports + Outdoors support of this high honor. Congratulations to the 12 All-Americans for this high achievement in recognition of not only your fishing skills, but also your scholastic, conservation and community service achievements.”
More than 300 applications nominating students in grades 10-12 were submitted from 33 states across the nation. Of these, 49 were chosen as Bassmaster All-State anglers. After reviewing tournament resumes, conservation efforts, community service activities and recommendations from coaches and school officials, a panel of judges representing the sportfishing industry, media and conservation groups further narrowed the field to the Top 12 high school anglers in the country.
“Congratulations to these 12 young anglers who can now call themselves Bassmaster High School All-Americans,” said Hank Weldon, senior manager of the B.A.S.S. High School program. “This program is unlike any other in all of High School Fishing and each angler and parent should be very proud of this accomplishment. I look forward to celebrating their achievement at an upcoming Elite Series event.”
Editor’s note: See angler photos.
The team has been invited to participate in a special Bassmaster High School All-American Bass Tournament, which will be held in conjunction with an upcoming Bassmaster Elite Series event. Each All-American angler will be paired with an Elite Series pro for the one-day derby to be held on a nearby fishery.
Congratulations to the following student athletes for being named to the 2020 Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. Following are short biographies of the 2020 team members. (Judges only considered tournament records for the past 12 months.)
Aaron Cherry, Kinsey, Ala.
Cherry, a senior at Headland High School, has secured five wins this tournament season, including Bassmaster High School Classic Champion, as well as three Top 5 finishes and six Top 20 finishes in high school events. Cherry has earned the angler of the year title in the East Alabama High School Bass Trail twice and has ranked in the Top 5 in the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation Angler of the Year standings three times in the last four years. Cherry also fishes in adult tournaments and ranked in the Top 20 in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship this tournament season, as well as winning the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation State Championship in 2018 as a co-angler.
Cherry dedicates much of his time to teaching others about fishing and introducing them to the sport. He has helped raise over $50,000 for the Headland Bass Team over the duration of his six years as a member and has volunteered 200 hours with Wired Ministries.
“Aaron is not only a great fisherman, as the results show, he is a great man,” said Chris Grandstaff, head coach of the Headland Bass Team. “Aaron has always looked out for everyone. When he joined the Headland Bass Team, he soaked up all the knowledge he could from everyone about bass fishing. Aaron did this not only to help him become a better fisherman, but to also show and pass the knowledge he has obtained to others. He has taken so many people fishing and helped them learn and love the sport of bass fishing as much as he does.”
Tucker Smith, Shoal Creek, Ala.
A senior at Briarwood Christian School, Smith holds one big tournament win this season, capturing first place on a 300-boat field at the B.A.S.S. High School National Championship on Kentucky Lake. Smith has also earned eight Top 5 finishes and ten Top 20 finishes this tournament season. Smith is a back-to-back B.A.S.S. High School National Champion as well as a 2019 B.A.S.S. High School All-American.
“At almost every weigh-in, anglers from other schools look to see how they finished compared to the ‘back-to back national champion’ and I am so thrilled to see how complimentary and humble Tucker is in that role,” said Jay Matthews, Director of Athletics at Briarwood Christian School. “He has had great finishes since that designation and also had tough tournaments. Regardless, Tucker handles it with class and genuine interest in others.”
Smith is captain of the Briarwood Bass Fishing Team and has led his team in both fishing and conservation work building habitats on Lake Caroline in South Alabama. Tucker has worked with Randy Howell’s King’s Home Project to take children at King’s Home fishing for a day and has reached out to Alabama Veteran with an offer to do the same for some of their members.
Jackson Swisher, Lake City, Fla.
A senior at Columbia High School and Senior Representative of the Columbia High Bassmasters, Swisher has earned three wins this tournament season, as well as eight Top 5 finishes and 10 Top 20 finishes. Swisher has qualified for the Mossy Oak High School National Championship on Kentucky Lake four times. In 2019, Swisher earned a place on the Bassmaster All-State Team as well as the Bassmaster All-American team. Additionally, he was the 2019 Columbia High Bassmasters’ Angler of the Year.
“For me personally, Jackson was the first person to teach my daughters (7, 8 and 10) how to fish,” said Thomas Hosford, Principal of Columbia High School. “Jackson is always willing to give up his time to help others, not just with fishing.”
Swisher has volunteered at Florida Gateway College Summer Camp, speaking about conservation and taking youth campers out in his boat. He has volunteered at the Suwannee River Breast Cancer Awareness Association benefit tournament and the Puzzle Pieces of North Florida Autism benefit tournament. Swisher and his partner fished the Puzzle Pieces of North Florida Autism benefit tournament, an adult tournament, and won out of a field of 100-plus boats. They donated some of their winnings to the Special Needs classes in Columbia County.
“Jackson’s life passion is to help others,” said Alex L. Carswell, Jr., Superintendent of Columbia County Schools. “He goes out of his way to make sure people are successful, whether they are learning to fish or working through a simple life lesson.”
Brooks Anderson, Marietta, Ga.
A senior at Mt. Bethel Christian Academy, Anderson holds three tournament wins in the past 12 months, as well as one Top 5 ranking. Anderson also holds seven Top 20 rankings for the current season, notably including the FLW National Championship, the SAF/BLF National Championship and the SAF/BLF World Championship. Anderson has qualified for the Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation State Championship from 2016-2020 and has qualified for the SAF/TBF National Championship from 2018-2020. He is currently tied for first place in the angler of the year points standings for the Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation. Anderson received a Bassmaster All-American Team Honorable Mention in 2018 and was on the Bassmaster All-State Team in 2019.
Anderson is the past president of the Marietta Bassmasters Youth Club and also volunteers at Mount Paran Christian Summer Camp working with kids age 6-12 and teaching them about fishing. He volunteered as a marshal in 2019 at the 49th Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville as well as the 2019 Elite Series Tournament on Lake Hartwell.
“He has a genuine care for the success of other anglers, and many of his competitors are ones he helped get started. There are numerous anglers that fish through Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation that are on the water as a result of Brooks finding partners, parents and boat captains to make it possible,” said Spencer Guthrie, Anderson’s boat captain and coach.
Jackson Kulijof, Greenville, Ky.
Kulijof, a senior at Muhlenberg County High School, has earned three tournament wins this season, as well as five Top 5 rankings in the past 12 months. He was named Angler of the Year by FLW as a junior angler. Kulijof also holds the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.
Kulijof has volunteered his time in a broad range of community service projects, including fundraising through Senior Beta Club and National Honor Society, participating in Take A Kid Fishing Day, assisting the Humane Society with animal adoptions and taking up food donations at his local Kroger. He also built a concrete ramp at Lake Malone to grant easier beach access to handicapped individuals, as well as assisted in building two bridges on the trails around Lake Malone and assisted in the renovations of a historic train caboose.
“Jackson demonstrates enthusiasm and a positive attitude at all times, working relentlessly toward his goals,” said Beth Duvall Fleming, Senior Counselor at Muhlenberg County High School. “He works as a team player, assisting others as needed. He is an amazing young person that is able to balance both academic aspirations as well as community involvement all while being successful at every aspect in which he pursues.”
Easton Fothergill, Grand Rapids, Minn.
Fothergill, a senior at Grand Rapids High School, has secured three wins this tournament season, as well as one Top 5 ranking and four Top 20 rankings. Fothergill earned the AYA Regional Tournament Champion title three times, in 2016, 2018, and 2019. Additionally, Fothergill was the 2017 SAF/TBF Minnesota State High School Champion as well as the 2019 Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation High School Champion.
Fothergill is a founding member and president of the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks Fishing Team and organized a membership drive at Grand Rapids Middle School. He also is involved with his community, organizing the “Sunfish for Seniors” fish fry at an assisted living home.
“Easton has been a leader in our school programs throughout his high school career,” said Elizabeth Rohling, Fothergill’s German teacher at Grand Rapids High School, “He has played varsity basketball, worked and volunteered in our community. He is a dedicated student and does well in his academics. Overall, Easton is well-rounded and determined.”
Editor’s note: See angler photos.
Lake Norsworthy, Brandon, Miss.
Norsworthy, a senior at Brandon High School, has an impressive five wins this tournament season as well as 10 Top 5 finishes. In fact, he has never finished outside of the Top 20 in his division in the past five years. Over the past five years, he has qualified for the Bassmaster High School National Championship, where he placed 20th in 2019.
In addition to his tournament success, he has been an impressive member of the community, volunteering his time at both B.A.S.S. Elite and Opens events, working with C.A.S.T. for Kids and doing his part to keep Ross Barnett Reservoir clean.
“Lake is a professional at an early age,” said Mississippi B.A.S.S. Nation President David Patterson. “He consistently exhibits sportsmanship and courtesy both on and off the water. He is a mentor to his teammates and also other anglers that are much younger than he is. He was recently recognized by a younger angler as someone he wanted to be when he grew up.”
Carson Palmer, Richfield, N.C.
A junior at North Stanly High School, Palmer has amassed an outstanding seven tournament wins over the past year. In addition to those seven wins, he has also earned four Top 5 finishes, as well as two Top 20 finishes. Because of his tournament success, Palmer has been ranked in the Top 10 college recruits on Top Tier Fishing.
Not only is Palmer an outstanding angler, but he also excels in the classroom. He serves as the vice president of his junior class. He also plays an instrumental role in his community by collecting items from other students and community members and taking them to cancer patients during their treatment period.
“I believe Carson Palmer to be a student of high moral character and great work ethic,” said Anne Mauldin, English teacher and Student Council Advisor at North Stanly High School. “He has proven himself in and out of the classroom to be an asset to his peers and his teachers. He is eager to learn and his charismatic personality makes him a joy to be around.”
Dylan Fogarty, Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Fogarty, a senior at Cumberland Valley High School, has an impressive five tournament wins, seven Top 5 finishes and six Top 20 finishes in the past tournament season. His tournament success coupled with his conservation efforts and community service involvement make him a standout and cemented him as a back-to-back Bassmaster High School All-American.
Fogarty is the founder of the Cumberland Valley High School Fishing Team where he has held the position of president, vice president, treasurer and tournament director. He has also taken on the role of State Director of the Casting Kids Competition where he coordinates solicitation for sponsor prizes and trophies, arranges multiple qualifying events throughout the state and instructs children ages 7-17 on how to flip, pitch and cast to a target.
“Dylan is an inspiration to many youth and adults in our community because he is such an impressive young leader,” said Capital City Bassmasters Club President Bob Herman. “I have known Dylan for many years, and from the very first encounter, it was obvious that he was special and would excel in all he attempts to do in life.”
Drake Hemby, Brentwood, Tenn.
A senior at Whitwell High School, Hemby has earned two wins, four Top 5 finishes and two Top 20 finishes in the past tournament season. He has double qualified for the Bassmaster High School National Championship, is currently in fourth place in the Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation points race and is currently in first place in the Central Tennessee Region B.A.S.S. Nation points race.
Hemby served as the president of his former high school fishing team for two years before joining the Whitwell High School Fishing Team. As a member of the team, he has secured two team sponsors for the 2019-2020 tournament season.
“Drake is one of the most humble and well-grounded high school anglers that I have ever met,” said Mikey Powell, Whitwell High School Fishing Team coach. “He is one of the most versatile anglers currently fishing in the state of Tennessee. All in all, when you think of a Bassmaster High School All-American angler, you are thinking of Drake.”
Matthew Vandagriff, McMinnville, Tenn.
Vandagriff, a senior at Warren County High School, has two outstanding wins, seven Top 5 finishes and four Top 20 finishes over the past year. He has been experiencing outstanding tournament success over the past five years, where he has placed in the Top 20 multiple times.
He has finished in the Top 5 of the Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation High School points race every year since 2016 and has been to the Bassmaster High School National Championship every year since he was in the 8th grade.
“Matthew has many valuable qualities that allow him to excel and succeed today and in the future,” said Warren County High School Executive Principal, Clark George. “He is a leading member of the Pioneer Angler Fishing Team and is always willing to provide guidance and support to his younger, less experienced teammates. Matthew and his partner won the 2020 Bassmaster High School Classic and are always fierce competitors in any tournament. Matthew continues to be an outstanding representative of Warren County High School, Warren County and Tennessee that we are all proud of.”
Tyler Cory, Amherst, Wis.
Being named a back-to-back Bassmaster High School All-American is not an easy feat, but with an impressive five tournament wins, 11 Top 5 finishes and one Top 20 finish, Cory, a senior at Amherst High School, has done just that. Last year, Cory was named the first ever Bassmaster High School All-American from the state of Wisconsin, and this year he is gladly bringing that title home once again.
Cory serves as an instrumental member of the community where he volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club, Teach a Child to Fish and Future Business Leaders of America. He is also the founder and president of the Amherst High School Fishing Club.
“He has an incredible work ethic in and out of the classroom,” said Amherst High School Social Studies Teacher, Jason Pickering. “Mr. Cory has participated in FBLA, Investment Club, Fishing Club (president), Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl and the Salvation Army. Despite all of these demands, Tyler has consistently made the honor roll while being employed since his sophomore year. Tyler is a people person who can succeed in any environment and has a wonderful sense of humor and personality that makes him a delight to be around.”
Editor’s note: See angler photos.