The Chico State team of Thomas White, Fountain Valley, Calif., and Frank Vogt, Chico, Calif., took the lead on day one of the National Guard FLW College Fishing Western Regional championship on Saguaro Lake Thursday with four bass weighing 10 pounds, 5 ounces. The team holds nearly a two pound lead over their nearest competitors, Sacramento State. Teams are fishing for a top award of $50,000 to be split between the university and the university’s bass fishing club – $12,500 and a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower outboard wrapped in school colors for the bass club and $12,500 for their school.

“It was an extremely though day,” said Vogt. “This is a small lake that had a lot of pressure. We would work one spot and then move around here and there looking for current and finally we ended where we started.

“A slow presentation was key for us today,” Vogt continued. “We did find one color that seemed to work the best, but you couldn’t move your bait. As a matter of fact I caught one fish when I was playing with my line, not even paying attention to the rod. At first I thought I was caught on something but then I realized I had a fish. That’s how I got the 3-pounder.”

After checking in a hour early lakeside, the team from Chico State got lost on the way back from the lake to the weigh-in keeping the crowd waiting an extra 10 minutes. Finishing 5 ounces behind Sacramento State at last year’s Western Regional, the team is seeking some revenge.

“This feels good,” said an exhausted White. “I had to make one of the toughest decisions of my life this morning. I caught our first fish at about 7:30. It was barely alive but we kept it breathing and thank goodness we did. We checked in 45 minutes early just to make sure we didn’t lose the fish. I even named it, Princess. It was well worth it.

“Fishing was a grind today,” White added. “This doesn’t mean anything. We have to fish hard, fish smart and fish thoroughly on day two for it to matter.”

Rounding out the top 10 teams are:

2nd: Sacramento State – Robert Matsuura, Sacramento, Calif., and Thomas Kanemoto, Elk Grove, Calif., five bass, 8-8

3rd: Northern Arizona University – Nicole Albright and Brent Perkins, both of Phoenix, Ariz., two bass, 6-0

4th: Fresno State – Christopher Delgado and Kong Moua, both of Fresno, Calif., three bass, 4-11

5th: Chico State – Bo Harkins, Chico, Calif., and Anthony Dayton, Walnut Creek, Calif., two bass, 4-1

6th: University of Oregon – Zachary Niesen and Nick Doring, both of Mill Valley, Calif., two bass, 3-13

7th: Arizona State University – Mark Walker, Cave Creek, Ariz., and Craig Carroll, Chandler, Ariz., two bass, 3-8

8th: University of Oregon – Ross Richards, Eugene, Ore., and Reed Frazier, San Rafael, Calif., four bass, 3-3

9th: Arizona State University – Joseph Jarrell, Phoenix, Ariz., and Kyle Keegan, Tempe, Ariz., one bass, 2-5

10th: Boise State – Michael Zawacki, Boise, Idaho, and Tanner Bice, Middleton, Idaho, one bass, 2-1

Anglers will take off from Saguaro Del Norte Recreation Site located at 14011 N. Bush Highway in Mesa, Ariz., at 7 a.m. each morning. All weigh-ins will be held outside the Wells Fargo Arena on the Arizona State University campus at 606 E. Alpha Drive. Friday’s weigh-in will begin at 4 p.m. and Saturday’s final weigh-in will begin at 5 p.m., just prior to the Arizona State vs. Arizona football game. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public and are being hosted by Arizona State University and the Tempe Tourism Office.

A College Fishing Festival is being held throughout the three-day tournament. Students and fishing fans alike will be treated to a Ranger Boat simulator, Sony PS3 Gaming Trailer, tailgate games, a sports zone along with contests for cash and several prize giveaways. The festival will take place on the Arizona State University campus just outside the Wells Fargo Arena located at 606 E. Alpha Drive in Tempe from 2 – 4 p.m. on Friday and from 2:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The top five teams from each of the five regional tournaments will advance to the national championship where the first-place team will win a top award of $100,000; $25,000 for their school and $50,000 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club.

Coverage of the Western Regional Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors,” will air Dec. 25 from 1 – 2 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.

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.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWCollegeFishing  and on Twitter at Twitter.com/CollegeFishing. Visit CollegeFishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.

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