SAN ANTONIO, TX (5/12/2020) – “At the beginning of the year, our whole team’s goal was to finish as high as we could in SOY and we are doing great to only have 3-5 teams competing at big events. We are a young program and are already giving the powerhouse schools a run for their money.” These are the words of Jacob Frazier, a sophomore at Carson-Newman University. Carson-Newman is having a great run in 2019-2020 and the team is currently in 9th for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia with 8,195 points.
“Being ranked in the Top 10 in only the second year of being a coached team is a testament to our young angler’s abilities,” said the team’s Head Coach, Hunter Sales. Sales competed for Carson-Newman in 2018 when the team was recognized as a club. During that 2018 season, the first full year of competition for the club, they finished 37th overall in the School of the Year race.
Each year since Sales has coached the now recognized team, Carson-Newman has seen a steady increase in results. The 2018-2019 season was the program’s first full year with a coach. Carson-Newman finished the year with their first-ever Top 20 finish, ending up 20th overall. Now ranked 9th with just one event left to go, the team is looking to close out their first Top 10 season in program history. While Sophomore Braden Perry is proud of the season so far, he is not satisfied with the 9th place ranking. “It definitely feels great to be in the Top 10 and we are meeting our goals that we set, but we are not satisfied. We want to move as far up as possible.”
The 2020 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops is the last opportunity for teams to improve their standing in the 2019-2020 School of the Year race. 1,500 points will be awarded to the winners, and schools have the potential to earn more than 2,900 points if they have two teams place in the Top 10. With less than 600 points separating 9th place from 6th, a significant jump in the standings is a realistic expectation for the team.
The young members of the Carson-Newman team are excited to get back to fishing and have their sights set on a Top 5 team ranking to wrap up the year. “I can’t wait to get out there and hopefully climb a few more spots and finish higher on the SOY leaderboard,” said Frazier. His fellow teammate, Braden Perry seconds this notion, “What I’m looking forward to most at Pickwick is getting back with all of my teammates and trying to crack the Top 5 in the School of the Year.”
While School of the Year is one of the main focuses of Championship week, this year’s event will also provide anglers with their first opportunity to compete in a college tournament since late February or early March. Carson-Newman Coach, Hunter Sales, is working to keep things in perspective as the Championship is less than a month away. “I’m most looking forward to our anglers being able to showcase their abilities on a national stage again. They deserve those opportunities.” Carson-Newman will definitely be a team to keep an eye on as the race for 2020 Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia nears the finish line.