The Fairmont State University team of Wil Dieffenbauch of Hundred, W. Va., and Ryan Radcliff of Parkersburg, W.Va., won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Championship presented by Mercury on Philpott Lake Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Their three day total weight of 24 pounds, 12 ounces beat State University of New York – Plattsburgh by 1 pound, 12 ounces. The team from Fairmont State won a Ranger Z117 bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a berth in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.

“This is amazing,” said said Dieffenbauch, a senior in civil engineering. “I really don’t know what to say. After coming so close to winning the title last year, I really wanted to win this one. Now I want to get greedy and win Nationals.

“Philpott is not an easy lake to fish, we worked for every fish we caught,” Dieffenbauch went on to say. “I am just happy we caught five bass today. The lake fished really tough today. First of all there was a lot of boat traffic that we didn’t have earlier in the week. The wind was really blowing this morning pushing the bait fish up so that impacted the bite and these fish have just been hammered for four days straight which also added to today’s challenge.

“We were targeting deep points, 30 to 50 feet, with lots of brush,” added Dieffenbauch. “We were drop-shotting mostly robo worms. We also used a ½ ounce Sworming Hornet with a Yamamoto saltwater swimbait, I don’t think anyone else was using that.”

Dieffenbauch will be making his third trip to Nationals and hopes that the third time is a charm. Radcliff will be making his first appearance at Nationals. This was the first year the two had been fishing as a team.

“This is a beautiful thing,” said Radcliff, a junior majoring in criminal justice. “Top-five, we are going to Nationals! I can’t wait. The first thought that went through my mind was ‘holy crap, we just won a boat’. It’s mind blowing.

“I had a terrible day,” Radcliff went on to say. “I kept breaking my line and I lost about four fish, they kept getting snagged in the brush. Wil was amazing though, we just kept working and were able to haul in five fish. We knew we had challenged Ramapo and they were going to have to catch ‘em to win. We knew it was going to be close, we were pretty nervous.”

The stars were in alignment for Fairmont State today. Ramapo College, leaders going into the final day of competition, had their day three weight disqualified after violating rule number 16 which states that you cannot have more than five bass in the live well at one time.

Final top-five results:

1st:  Fairmont State University – Ryan Radcliff, Parkersburg, W. Va., and Wil Dieffenbauch, Hundred, W. Va., 15 bass, 24-12, Ranger Z117 bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury

2nd: State University of New York-Plattsburgh – Chris Benninger, Grand Island, N.Y., and Richard Lee, Port Kent, N.Y., 15 bass, 23-0, $5,000

3rd:  Virginia Tech – Jody White, Shaftsbury, Vt., and David Bryant, Covington, Va., 14 bass, 19-10, $3,000

4th:  Ramapo College – Jeffrey Voss, Secaucus, N.J., and Joseph Zapf, Whippany, N.J., 10 bass, 18-8, $3,000

5th:  Virginia Tech – Anderew Jackson, Lebanon, Va., and Patrick Snellings, Fredericksburg, Va., 12 bass, 16-6, $3,000

For complete results visit CollegeFishing.com

Four regular-season qualifying events were held in each conference – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southern and Western – the top five teams from each regular-season event qualified for one of five conference championships. The top five teams from each conference championship advance to the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.

College Fishing is free to enter and FLW provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.

TBF along with FLW held the High School Northern Conference Championship on Saturday in conjunction with the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Championship. Seven teams from across the region were represented and Ryan Drewery, Petersburg, Va., and Junior Roberts, Ringgold, Va., from Prince George High School, won the tournament, which was also held on Philpott Lake, with the only five-bass limit.

The team beat their closest competitor, Bishop Hendricken High School out of Rhode Island by 3 pounds, 12 ounces.

“We were mostly targeting trees and lay-downs in about 20 feet of water,” said the senior Drewery. “It was pretty slow all day, Junior finally got that 4-pound kicker fish about mid-day.”

“There is a lot of shaking going on,” said the junior Roberts. “That big one was schooling and I had no idea how big it was at first, but then I saw it jump and I said we gotta’ have this one.”

High School results:

1st:        Prince George High School – Ryan Drewery, Petersburg, Va., and Junior Roberts, Ringgold, Va., five bass, 8-2

2nd:       Bishop Hendricken High School – Chris Catucci and Patrick Crabtree, both of Warwick, R.I., three bass, 4-6

3rd:        Vermont – SAF – Jamison Gott, Georgia, Vt., and Colin Gaudette, St. Albans, Vt., three bass, 3-14
4th:        Antietam/Cocalico High School – Kolbey Kissinger, Denver, Pa., and Clayton Delp, Reading, Pa., two bass, 3-11

5th:        West Essex/Somerset County Vo Tech – Jake Smith, Essex Falls, N.J., and Rich Pennacchio, Hillsborough, N.J., two bass, 3-1
6th:        The Sound School – Michael Toohey, Shelton, Conn., and Ryan Kusmit, Northford, Conn., one bass, 1-4
7th:        Massachusetts – SAF – Kory Dominick and Jake Rowinsky, both of Saugus, Mass., one bass, 1-3

High School Fishing Tournaments are open to all ninth, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students, including home schooled students, that are members of the Student Angler Federation. The winning team from each state championship advances to a High School Fishing Conference Championship. Boats are provided upon request at all Conference Championships. The winning team from each Conference Championship will receive trophies and commemorative jerseys, and advance to the 2013 High School Fishing National Championship, held in conjunction with the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship in the spring.

Each member of the winning National High School Fishing Championship team will receive a $5,000 scholarship to use at the University of their choice. Teams participating in the conference championships and National Championship will also receive a travel allowance to help offset their expenses.

Coverage of the Northern Conference Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Dec. 16 from 1-2 p.m. EST. “FLW” is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

Image courtesy FLW Outdoors

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