Postponed day gives high school competitors a rest

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...a wall of rain rolled in.
Ronnie Moore
...a wall of rain rolled in.

PARIS, Tenn. — The postponement of Day 2 of the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods is giving the competitors a chance to reflect, recuperate and reorganize.

After extensive consultation with the National Weather Service (NWS) Thursday evening, Tournament Director Hank Weldon informed the high school anglers that Day 2 was postponed until Saturday due to an elevated severe weather threat from the NWS Storm Prediction Center. The forecast called for Friday morning storms possibly bringing hail, tornadoes, straight-line winds and up to 5 inches of rain in the Kentucky Lake area.

Brooks Anderson of Mount Bethel Christain Academy of Georgia has never sat out a cancelled day of a tournament, but he welcomed the chance to rig rods, get his “head cleared” and figure out a game plan for Saturday. “It is definitely going to even out the playing field a lot because the conditions would have been cloud cover (for Friday), but it is supposedly going to be partially cloudy on Saturday and the winds are going to drop,” Anderson said of the cancellation. “So that is definitely going to change up some tactics for a lot of teams.”

He and his partner David Britt are in good shape for Saturday sitting in 10th place with 20 pounds, 1 ounce.

Merritt Arnold of North Oconee High School of Athens, Ga., will get a chance to recuperate after battling the wind and waves on Thursday. “We broke our trolling motor and a Power-Pole got stuck in the water, and the water was rough,” he said of Day 1. “So it was fantastic.”

Arnold plans on rigging his gear and going swimming on his off day. “We need some rest,” he said. “I got another week of fishing for the (TBF/FLW) finals next week.” Arnold and his partner Troy Harris are in 47th place with 15-15.

Clayton High School senior Jake Stamps reflected on his first day of competition, which was his first time fishing in the Bassmaster national championship. “It was just really exciting and a really cool experience,” he said. “I am looking forward to Saturday.”

Zachary Bray and Stamps caught a five-bass limit weighing 11-8 but are in 118th place. Stamps plans on “hanging out” and resting during his off day. “Being out there all day can wear you down pretty quick,” the Oklahoma teen said.

Fishing for the first time in the national championship was a memorable day for Logan Milsaps who teamed up with Spencer Childers to catch a 21-6 limit and move into ninth place. “It was pretty fun,” Milsaps said.  The Pickens Bass Fishing team qualified for the national championship by winning the Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation high school state championship.

Milsaps has sat out a cancelled tournament day before, and he recalled spending the time thinking about fishing and figuring out a game plan for the next day. He plans on doing the same for this off day. 

The full field of 231 teams will take off Saturday at 5:30 a.m. at Paris Landing State Park, and the weigh-in to crown a champion will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the same location.