PARIS, Tenn. — The 2016 Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship was payback time for Nick Osman and Zeke Gossett.
The former high school anglers returned to the national championship this year not as contenders but as boat captains for their high school clubs.
Osman won the 2014 Bassmaster High School National Championship and returned this year to serve as the boat captain for Susquehanna Valley Fishing Club members Tyler Gavlick and Andrew Henry.
Gossett competed in two Bassmaster High School National Championships and was boat captain this year for Pell City Panthers Bass Fishing team members Ean Davis and Grayson Hanson, who finished fourth in the championship.
Osman had been a Susquehanna Valley club member since seventh grade, so when he graduated from high school he wanted to give back to the club in some way.
“I always had pretty good boat captains and I figured being a boat captain was the best way to give back to the club,” Osman said. He volunteered as a boat captain for four tournaments this year, including the national championship and Pennsylvania B.A.S.S. Nation Junior State Championship, in which his partners Dominic Cecco and Dylan Henrie won the youth division.
Gossett fished for the Pell City Panthers and felt compelled to help out a couple of his high school friends, Davis and Hanson, after he graduated.
“I actually fished with them when I was in high school and they needed a captain, so I stepped in,” Gossett said. In addition to their high finish at the national championship, Davis and Hanson also placed sixth in the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation high school state championship.
Serving as boat captains after experiencing such success at the high school level has been challenging for Osman and Gossett.
“It gets pretty frustrating sometimes just sitting there watching them fish all day,” Osman said. “You just want a pick up a rod and toss your bait in there because you know a fish is probably there. But at the end of the day, as long as there is a smile on their faces and they had a good time, then that is what it is all about.”
The former high school standouts now get their chance to fish at the collegiate level. Osman will fish for the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) bass team this fall while Gossett will be competing for the Jefferson State Community College bass club.