ACA staff reveals the current Top 5 teams in the nation at the halfway mark of the season
SAN ANTONIO, TX (January 13, 2023) – In today’s feature, we will be highlighting teams ranked 1st – 5th in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.
- University of Montevallo
Total Points: 18,915
Pre-Season Ranking: 1st
For the first time this season, the University of Montevallo is at the top of the rankings in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. Montevallo opens the second half of the 2022-23 season ranked number one in the nation. After earning a pre-season ranking of 1st, Montevallo has accumulated a season total of 18,915 points and leads second ranked McKendree by just 55 points.
Montevallo has competed in a total of six major double points events this season, earning over 2,000 points at each one. A back-to-back winner of the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia, Montevallo has earned over 3,000 points at three of those six major double points events. Montevallo has also competed in 10 school-run events, the maximum number a single school can earn points at this season.
Top-ranked Montevallo competed in both ACA events this past fall. At the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley, Montevallo placed two anglers in the Top 10. River Eubanks finished in 7th, and Cal Culpepper tied for 8th. Those two top finishes netted the team 3,370 points.
In October at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, AR, Montevallo earned the most points of any school competing in the tournament. Grayson Morris & Trey Dickert finished in 4th, and Easton Fothergill & Nick Dumke took 9th. Those two Top 10 finishes earned Montevallo 3,390 points.
Last season, Montevallo became just one of three teams in the history of collegiate fishing to win the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia in back-to-back seasons. “Anytime you can win a Championship at any level in any sport, it’s always special,” added William Crawford, Head Coach of the University of Montevallo Bass Fishing Team. “To do it back-to-back and be one of only three teams to do that, it’s really special.”
During the 2022-23 season, Montevallo is looking to etch their names in the record book once again. No team has ever won the title three season in a row. Sitting in the top spot entering the second half of the season, Montevallo has a chance to accomplish this feat. “We’ve got a lot of great guys coming in, it’s our best recruiting class ever,” added Crawford. “Excited to see what’s going to happen and see if we can’t win three in a row and become the first team to ever do it.”
- McKendree University
Total Points: 18,860
Pre-Season Ranking: 3rd
Checking in at 2nd overall in this rankings update is McKendree University. Dropping back one spot since the previous standings, the 2019 and 2020 Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia is looking to claim its third title this season. Accumulating a total of 18,860 point, McKendree is just 55 points behind top-ranked Montevallo.
McKendree, who entered the year with a pre-season ranking of 3rd, is putting together another great season as we move into the beginning of 2023. McKendree University has competed in seven major double points events, earning over 2,000 points in all but one. McKendree also earned over 3,000 points at two tournaments.
Entering the 2022-23 season, McKendree University was honored to be recognized amongst the top collegiate bass fishing teams in the country. “We are very honored that our McKendree team has been ranked as one of the top five schools in the country,” said Jon Rinderer, Head Bass Fishing Coach at McKendree University. “It is very rewarding to know that our peers and industry leaders feel like we are doing all the right things to maintain a very solid program.”
McKendree University showed out at the first ACA double points event of the season this past fall. McKendree earned the most points of any team competing in the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley. The maximum amount of points a team could have earned that week is 3,490. McKendree managed to earn 3,460 points. Harper Burkeen finished in 2nd and Ethan Fields claimed 4th overall.
At the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open on Lake Dardanelle, McKendree University then proceeded to earn over 3,000 points once again. Lane Stephens & Colsyn Head finished in 5th and Jack Stephens & Nick Holtgrave took 17th. The two Top 20 finishes were good enough for 3,300 points.
McKendree University has earned points at four School-Run events this season. With many major double points events left on the schedule, as well as a maximum of six School-Run events to compete in, McKendree could very easily overcome this 55-point gap and jump in to that number one spot by season’s end.
- Adrian College
Total Points: 18,120
Pre-Season Ranking: 5th
Next up is a team looking to claim its first-ever Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia, Adrian College. Coming off a 4th place finish in 2022 and earning a pre-season distinction of 5th, the team from Adrian, MI is in 3rd place with 18,120 points.
Adrian College sat in the top spot for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia for most of the fall. They relinquished that lead to McKendree University near the end of 2022 and are currently less than 800 points behind top-ranked University of Montevallo.
Like 2nd ranked McKendree ahead of them, Adrian College has competed in seven major double points events. They too have earned over 2,000 points at all but one, as well as over 3,000 points at two of those tournaments.
One of Adrian College’s highest points earning events of the season came at Kentucky Lake for the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley. Adrian College earned an even 3,000 points that weekend. Cole Carr finished in 18th and Braylon Eggerding claimed 34th.
At the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open in the following month, Adrian College earned 2,580 points.
Adrian College has the talent and team to claim its first-ever Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia this season. Two National Championship events, and numerous other major double points tournaments all offer opportunities for Adrian to earn a large amount of points and push up into that top spot.
- Murray State University
Total Points: 16,805
Pre-Season Ranking: 14th
Murray State University makes the biggest jump of any team in the Top 5 from their pre-season ranking compared to their current ranking. After receiving a pre-season rank of 14th, Murray State has earned 16,805 points to be ranked 4th in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.
“Last year was trial and error for the team. We had a very large freshman class and many new faces that outnumbered the older students,” said Emily Freeman, Murray State University angler. “This year we want to learn from our mistakes and go forward with this team. We really want to get Murray State back into that Top 10 where we have been the previous years.”
Murray State has supplanted themselves back amongst the top teams in the country as we reach the halfway mark of the 2022-23 season. The team from Murray, KY earned 3,210 points at the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley at nearby Kentucky Lake, and 2,580 points at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open.
Murray State has earned points at seven major double points events and five School-Run events.
Entering the season, Murray State was pleased with the respect shown to the program in regard to its prominence on the national level. “As a Top 15 team, the program is very grateful for how the fishing industry views us. As a student ran team, we do not get that input from a coach and to see the industry and our peers who have faith in Murray State is outstanding,” concluded Freeman.
Murray State has never won the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. They find themselves in an interesting spot at the halfway mark. Murray State is just over 1,300 points behind third, and 1,200 points ahead of 5th. The team has some separation between its nearest chaser but has some ground to make up on 3rd. Watch for Murray State to remain in the conversation amongst the top teams for the remainder of the season.
- Auburn University
Total Points: 14,605
Pre-Season Ranking: 2nd
Rounding out the Top 5 in the current rankings for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia is Auburn University. Auburn entered the year with a pre-season ranking of 2nd and has tallied up a total of 14,605 points to be ranked 5th.
Of the teams ranked in the Top 5 for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia, Auburn has fished in the least amount of major double points events. Where most teams have earned points at six to seven of those events, Auburn has only competed in five. This means that the gap between Auburn and the teams in front of them isn’t actually as large as the current points totals show.
Coming into this season, Auburn was determined to maintain its spot amongst the top collegiate bass fishing teams in the nation. “Being ranked within the Top 5 is not only a great honor for our active members, but a testament to those who have helped build this team from the ground up over the years,” noted Carson Maddux, Auburn University Bass Fishing Team member. “We strive to maintain our status as one of the top collegiate fishing programs in the country. It feels good to know that our hard work has not gone unnoticed.”
Auburn competed in both ACA double points events this past fall, earning almost the exact same amount of points at each one. The team earned 2,850 points at the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley, and 2,840 points at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open.
“Our goal for the 2022-23 season is simple: Win SOY and Win the National Championship. Easier said than done, but our roster is full of talent and is more motivated than ever. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the team and there would be no better way to celebrate than bringing the SOY title home to the plains,” concluded Maddux.
Auburn University is another team looking to claim its first-ever title this season. The team has plenty of events left on the schedule to make up ground on those in front of them. Watch for Auburn to continue to move up in the standings over the next several months.