BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Twelve of the top high school anglers in the country have been selected as new members of the notable Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors.
“For nine years, the Bassmaster High School All-American program has identified and honored some of the most accomplished student anglers in the country,” said Chase Anderson, B.A.S.S. CEO. “We’ve seen past members go on to decorated college fishing careers, compete in the Bassmaster Opens EQs and iconic Bassmaster Classic and begin promising careers in the fishing industry. This group of 12 outstanding All-Americans is equally as talented and poised to do amazing things. We appreciate Academy Sports + Outdoors for partnering with B.A.S.S. to recognize these anglers’ fishing skills and commitment to academics, conservation and community service.”
Over 300 applications nominating students in grades 10-12 were submitted from 33 states across the nation. Of these, 52 students were chosen as Bassmaster All-State anglers. After considering tournament resumes, conservation efforts, community service activities and recommendations from school officials and coaches, a panel of judges consisting of representatives from the sportfishing industry, media and conservation groups further narrowed the field to the Top 12 high school anglers in the country.
“Congratulations! This goes to show your efforts on and off the water do not go unnoticed,” said Glenn Cale, B.A.S.S. Nation tournament manager — College, High School and Junior, to the student anglers. “I’m super-proud of you all and look forward to sharing this special moment with you. Be sure to chase all of your dreams, because they do not chase you back.”
The 2023 All-American team has been invited to participate in an exclusive Bassmaster High School All-American Tournament, which will be held in conjunction with the Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River scheduled for June 1-4 in Orange, Texas. 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 anglers for being named to the 2023 Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. Following are short biographies of the 2023 team members.
Triton Graham, Citronelle, Ala.
Jackson Academy junior Triton Graham amassed an impressive three wins during this past season, as well as three Top 5 finishes and three Top 20 finishes. His past accolades include being named the 2021-2022 Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation High School Angler of the Year and winning the 2019 TBF Junior World Championship as well as the 2019 Alabama Bass Federation Junior State Championship.
“Triton has undeniable talent, but his service and compassion for others is what makes him truly unique,” said Eddie Denmark, coach of the Citronelle Fishing Team. “Triton is dedicated to the conservation of local resources and he spends his free time mentoring young anglers.”
When Graham is not excelling on the water, he devotes his time to helping others in his community. He has spent countless hours volunteering at numerous weigh-ins, aided in the annual Hope Hunt which allows handicapped hunters to hunt and enjoy the outdoors numerous times and assisted elderly people in maintaining their yards. He is very involved with the Citronelle Community Lake, where he provides cover for fry hatchlings by adding brush. He also does his part to ensure there is no trash left behind by campers to ensure the lake remains free of pollution. Graham plans to pursue bass fishing at the collegiate and professional levels.
Evan Newell, Lakeland, Fla.
A senior at Santa Fe Catholic High School, Evan Newell has earned a spectacular three wins, five Top 5 finishes and eight Top 20 finishes. He was named the 2022 B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional Co-Angler of the Year as well as the 2022 B.A.S.S. Nation State of Florida Co-Angler of the Year. Newell is a four-time B.A.S.S. Nation High School State Championship qualifier and is currently leading four of the six Florida B.A.S.S. Nation trails with his partner.
“Evan is an extremely hard-working young man with many talents,” said Matt Franzino, the president of Santa Fe Catholic High School. “His love for the water and fishing has opened many doors for him, and I see great things ahead.”
Newell spends much of his time off the water helping others. He participates in AFTCO lake cleanups and is currently working on an educational project to better educate Floridians on the spraying that goes on in the state’s lakes. He is a strong advocate for fish care and is constantly researching ways to keep fish alive after being caught in tournaments. Evan recently signed with Carson-Newman University, where he will be fishing in the fall.
Peyton Dunn, Fitzgerald, Ga.
A senior at Ben Hill County High School, Peyton Dunn has amassed an impressive four wins this past year, including at the Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation Trial event on Lake Lanier where he defeated a field of over 180 boats. In addition to those wins, Dunn has three Top 5 finishes, two Top 20 finishes and a plethora of other tournament successes. He was named the 2021 Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation High School Angler of the Year.
“There is no argument that winning is very important, but I am sure you can agree with me that there are some things that are even more important than that,” said Joshua P. Guy, head coach of the Irwin Bass Anglers. “In Peyton’s case, it is character and compassion that proved more important. What sets Peyton apart from the crowd is the fact that he is willing to forfeit all of the accolades and awards just to give someone the chance of a lifetime to experience the sport he loves.”
Peyton is currently involved with the Flex Competition which gives students the opportunity to create, develop and plan a business model. His team decided to create and market fishing lures. Dunn also had the opportunity to aid in rescuing a male and female on the Ocmulgee River who were stranded and injured. He is very passionate about conservation and spends much of his time creating brushpiles for his community ponds and lakes.
Hunter Petrovic, Minooka, Ill.
Minooka Community High School senior Hunter Petrovic has an impressive five wins this past year, including a first-place finish in an event with a field size of over 100 boats. He has eight Top 5 finishes and six Top 20 finishes to add to his list of accomplishments.
“Hunter has been exemplary in every aspect of life,” said Joseph W. Host, a teacher at Minooka Community High School. “He naturally represents everything that we as educators treasure. He has made all of those around him better by example. He always does things the right way and is never looking for the easy way out. He handles both success and adversity with integrity.”
When Hunter is not excelling on the water and in the classroom, he devotes his time to helping others. He has tutored his peers and assisted with many different projects at his high school and in his community. Petrovic’s goals include qualifying for the Bassmaster High School National Championship, winning a state title at the high school level and excelling on the fishing team at Southwestern Michigan College.
Braci Ault, Brookston, Ind.
Frontier High School senior Braci Ault collected one win during her 2022 tournament season alongside two Top 5 finishes and five Top 20 finishes, including a seventh-place finish at the Bassmaster High School Championship out of a field of 300-plus teams. Ault placed second in the 2022 Indiana B.A.S.S. Nation High School points race, following an impressive 2021 season where she captured two wins in Indiana B.A.S.S. Nation High School events to place fourth overall.
“Braci is a sweet and caring young lady who is an asset to our school and all of the people that she is around,” said Amy Turner, a teacher at Frontier High School. “Her character and integrity are top-notch, and she excels in her schoolwork and all of her extracurricular activities.”
Ault spends her time off the water serving her community, volunteering at the Salvation Army, the White County Fairgrounds, taking up collections for the Bravely Women’s Health group and assisting at Frontier Junior High track meets and with concessions during games at Purdue University. She is also involved in her school’s National Honor Society and the J-Unit Chalmers Community Church Youth Group, as well as the White County 4-H group. She does all of this while maintaining a 3.5 GPA and participating in a work-based learning program in Animal Research and Education in the Poultry Unit at Purdue University.
Jase White, Haughton, La.
Jase White, a senior at Haughton High School, collected a notable six wins over the course of the 2022 season, as well as seven Top 5 finishes and six Top 20 finishes. He is a four-time TBF/MLF High School National Championship qualifier, as well as a back-to-back North Louisiana High School Fishing League Angler of the Year and the 2022 Youth Fishing Challenge Angler of the Year. During the 2022 season, he finished in the Top 10 in points for both the Louisiana High School B.A.S.S. Nation West Region and North Region.
Describing White as hardworking and well-rounded, Tammy Hall, a math teacher at Haughton High School, said, “Jase goes above and beyond any expectations for himself while exhibiting the most positive attitude. He has consistently demonstrated the ability to rise to any challenge he must face.”
White participates in multiple activities and clubs that contribute to his community, including mentoring troubled students, serving as a member in the Random Acts of Kindness Club and as president of the Haughton High School National Honor Society. He does all of this while maintaining a 4.27 GPA and taking AP and dual enrollment classes. White was selected to represent Haughton High School at Boys State the summer leading into his senior year and was selected as the 2023 Haughton High School Student of the Year out of a class of over 250 students. He has received additional awards for integrity and excellence, including the Masonic Lodge Honesty & Integrity Award and the Bossier Parish School Board Award of Excellence. White was offered both an academic and fishing scholarship from Drury University and plans to begin attending in the fall.
Nicholas DellaPorta, Pequannock, N.J.
Nicholas DellaPorta, a senior at Pequannock Township High School, earned an impressive four wins during the 2022 season, as well as three Top 5 finishes and one Top 10. He qualified for both the 2022 NY/TBF World Championship and the 2022 New Jersey B.A.S.S. Nation National Championship and was the 2022 New Jersey B.A.S.S. Nation High School Angler of the Year. After initially being selected as an Honorable Mention in 2021 and going on to earn a Bassmaster All-State title in 2022, DellaPorta’s continued commitment to his craft and his community has netted him the title of 2023 Bassmaster High School All-American.
“Nicholas continually pushes himself to find the time to ‘pay it forward’ and help teach others about fishing,” said BBZ JC Director William Siemantel. “His attitude and demeanor is nothing less than that of a seasoned professional that has grace, poise and dedication.”
DellaPorta started the first Pequannock Township high school fishing club and has worked with his local parks and recreation department to start a program on Pequannock’s private lake holding fishing seminars and tournaments for young anglers. He is a member of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, serves as a fishing guide and camp counselor at Candlewood Lake Fishing Camp in Connecticut and assists the New Jersey Junior B.A.S.S. Nation with scheduling and tournament day organization. DellaPorta started the Junior Angler Nation Instagram account with the mission of celebrating the fishing achievements of junior anglers — an account that has gained 3,700 followers. He does all of this while maintaining a 3.8 GPA and being enrolled in the STEM high school program. DellaPorta plans on attending Carson-Newman University in the fall as a member of their fishing team.
BJ Collins, Robbinsville, N.C.
Abeka Academy senior BJ Collins netted an impressive three wins during his 2022 season, all in fields of 100 or more boats, as well as five Top 5 finishes in both high school and adult-level events and three Top 20 finishes. Collins double-qualified for the 2023 Bassmaster High School Classic through both the Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation High School Series and the Bassmaster High School Series, where he placed second.
“In our small community, BJ is known for his willingness to help others,” said E. Chantal Matheson, chief administrator at East Buffalo Christian Academy. “BJ strives to do his best in everything that he does and makes an attempt to face every adversity that comes his way with a positive attitude.”
Collins has volunteered time to his community in a myriad of ways, including assisting in fundraisers for the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Rifle Association’s Fundraiser Banquet, as well as performing lawn care for elderly members of his community, collecting donations for those struggling with addiction through Celebrate Recovery – Grace Ministries and constructing walking paths in Lone Oak Cemetery. He has also taken part in multiple habitat restoration and cleanup projects on Lake Santeetlah and has assisted with fish habitat and population surveys on the Cheoah and Tusquitee Ranger Districts. Collins does this while maintaining a 4.02 GPA and working 30 hours a week at Ace Clearing & Construction to help fund his fishing pursuits.
Kaleb Butts, Anderson, S.C.
Kaleb Butts, a senior atCrescent High School, is enjoying a stellar 2022/2023 season, collecting seven wins, 10 Top 10s and 10 Top 20 finishes. Among Butts’ long list of career highlights are four trips to the Bassmaster Junior Series and High School Series National Championships and a state championship at March’s 2023 SCDNR Youth Bass Fishing Championship. Butts and his partner — fellow All-American Luke McGuffin — are well-positioned to qualify for the 2023 Strike King Bassmaster High School Championship presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors.
Butts is also a champion in the classroom — his 4.7 GPA has landed him a spot in the Top 10% of his graduating class and scholarship offers at three different universities. Additionally, Butts is active in the community, volunteering for a range of jobs at fishing tournaments including fish care and lake cleanups, assisting in habitat restoration efforts at Lake Hartwell and working to feed homeless teens and families through his church.
According to his father, Butts has long dreamed and worked toward achieving All-American status. “Kaleb has dreamed of being selected for the Bassmaster High School All-American team since his older brother Jacob was selected for the Bassmaster South Carolina All-State team his senior year (2019) … Kaleb has continually taken the time to give back to the Crescent fishing team by taking younger anglers out on the lake and showing them how to be successful in tournament fishing as well as in the community.”
Luke McGuffin, Iva, S.C.
Luke McGuffin, a senior at Crescent High School, collected eight wins over the past year, including at the SCDNR Youth Bass Fishing Championship. Along with six Top 5 finishes and five Top 20s in youth tournaments, McGuffin also has a third-place finish at an ABA Open on his resume.
“I have watched Luke McGuffin grow over his high school career as an angler and a person,” said Marty Walker, Palmetto Boat Center High School Tournament Trail tournament director. “Luke presents himself very professionally at tournaments when fishing and even more so when he volunteers. His dedication to his tournament craft has grown him into a contender that everyone pays attention to when he weighs in.”
Off the water, McGuffin has not only worked with refurbishing fish habitats in Lake Hartwell, but also serves as a volunteer firefighter. As a volunteer firefighter, he has distributed backpacks and Christmas gifts to children in need and taught fire safety and awareness to elementary students. McGuffin dreams of qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series and will take the next step in his fishing career while competing for Erskine College.
Easton Drennon, Lebanon, Tenn.
Easton Drennon, a junior at Friendship Christian School, has earned three wins over the past year while competing for the Mt. Juliet Fishing Team as well as two Top 5s and four Top 20s, including an eighth-place finish at the 2023 Strike King Bassmaster High School Series at Harris Chain of Lakes presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, and is a two-time Bassmaster High School National Championship qualifier.
Drennon is an active member in his school’s Leadership through Volunteerism Program, amassing 83 community service hours through projects such as installing clean drinking water systems and distributing food for the residents of Tennessee’s most impoverished community, mentoring other students and building fish habitats. Drennon’s commitment to bass fishing hasn’t diverted his attention away from his studies, as he has maintained a GPA of 4.28 with a cumulative grade average of 98.
“In addition to his fishing skills, Easton has a solid academic record and is a positive role model in his school and community,” said Jon Shoulders, president of the Friendship Christian School. “He understands that being a part of the All-American Fishing Team is not just about being a skilled angler but also about representing the sport of fishing. Furthermore, Easton demonstrates leadership qualities and a commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship.”
Jacob Longlois, Orange, Texas
Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School junior Jacob Longlois has one of the highest winning/placing percentages in the 10-year history of east Texas high school fishing, including seven wins, two Top 5s and 10 Top 20 finishes over the past year. In addition to finishing in the Top 10% of the field at the 2022 MLF World Championship, Longlois is a two-time Bassmaster High School National Championship qualifier.
Terry Sympson, founder of the Deep East High School Fishing Series, described Longlois as, “an All-American student angler under any system measurement. He is both an excellent student academically, and his accomplishments on the water place him at the very top of the class.” The same sentiment was echoed by School Official Jose Ochoa, who commended Longlois for being “able to be involved in multiple activities and still dedicate himself fully to being successful in each one.”
In the classroom, Longlois is managing a difficult academic load of both AP and dual enrollment classes while maintaining a 5.12 GPA. Longlois is captain of the LCM drumline and active in the National Honor Society. Longlois is well-known within the community for the three used fishing line collection tubes he created at local boat ramps as well as the innovative “life jacket tree” he built and maintains at a boat ramp on Toledo Bend.