Mississippi's high school season underway

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Chris Triplett and Delvin Milsted of St. Martin High School won the first Mississippi B.A.S.S. Nation High School Open at Columbus Pool with three fish weighing 8.33 pounds.

COLUMBUS, Miss. — Last fall’s season opener for the Mississippi B.A.S.S. Nation High School Opens trail drew 110 young anglers.

Fifty-five teams consisting of high school and Junior Bassmaster anglers competed in the inaugural Mississippi Nation high school open, Nov. 28, 2015, on the Columbus Pool of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

“It was a great turnout,” said Richard Parker, Mississippi B.A.S.S. Nation youth director. “This was our first year to even have a high school series, so we started with zero kids.”

The open team trail consists of five tournaments with two of the events also serving as the Mississippi B.A.S.S. Nation state championship for the high school and junior anglers. The schedule for the remaining open series is the following: Feb. 27, Gulfport Lake/Buck Bay; March 26, Ross Barnett Reservoir; April 16, Ross Barnett; and May 7, Ross Barnett. The March 26 and May 7 tournaments at Ross Barnett also serve as the high school and junior state championships.

The high school and junior teams with the most points from the two state championship events will qualify for the 2016 Costa Bassmaster National High School Championship and the 2016 Junior Bassmaster Championship, respectively. A point system will also be used to determine the Bassmaster National High School Championship qualifiers from the open team trail. Points are based on the position each team places in each open.

“With the point system, it gives everybody a fair chance,” Parker said. “Anybody can get lucky one day and catch 25 pounds, but another team doesn’t stand a chance to catch up if they don’t catch 25 pounds in another tournament. If the second-place team has 12 pounds, they have to make up that 13-pound deficit sometime, whereas with the point system, they only have a one-point difference in the standings.”

Delvin Milsted and Chris Triplett of St. Martin High School won the high school division of the first open at Columbus Pool with three fish weighing 8.33 pounds. They also had the lunker of the tournament weighing 3.2 pounds.

Parker said Milsted and Triplett won three of the four Mississippi high school events they competed in last year.

Bradlee Parish and Tyler Guin of the Booneville Community team won the junior division with three fish weighing 3.82 and earned lunker honors with a 1.35-pound bass.