Motivation was key for Top 12

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James Overstreet

Ten of the guys in the Top 12 have at least one thing in common. They didn’t make the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. In fact most of this ten would say they had a poor 2017 season. Here’s where they finished in the 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race.

Takahiro Omori: 84
Andy Montgomery: 66
Adrian Avena: 46
Jared Lintner: 82
Justin Lucas: 64
Mark Menendez: 66
Jonathon VanDam: 42
Dean Rojas: 67
Brett Hite: 79

That’s an average of 66th place in AOY standings for this group.

Rounding out the Top 12, Roy Hawk qualified for the Elites by fishing the Central Opens and did not make the Classic. Dustin Connell finished 12th and was the 2017 Toyota Rookie of the Year. And Luke Clausen finished the year in 23rd. The last two did indeed make the 2018 Classic.

The common denomination among the ten is this group came into the season very, very motivated. They had five months to stew about their 2017 performance, and it appears they came to Lake Martin loaded for bear. You could say they wanted revenge.

On the other hand, momentum can be a fickle master. Our top five 2017 AOY finishers ended the year on a high note, but did not do so well at Lake Martin. Here they are in order of AOY finish: Brandon Palaniuk, Jason Christie, Jacob Wheeler, Jordan Lee, and Edwin Evers. And here’s where they finished at Lake Martin.

Palaniuk: 72
Christie: 36
Wheeler: 95
Lee: 68
Evers: 66

This group had an average finish at Martin of 67th place. It is possible to think this group finished 2017 feeling fairly satisfied about their 2017 performance and were able to enjoy the off season a little more than the group above. Though Christie recently wrote about how he was still upset he got so close to an AOY title and wasn’t able to close the deal. And you see that he had the best Lake Martin finish of last year’s top five.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this group of hammers will get back on their game and have outstanding 2018 seasons.