Auburn and University of Alabama in 2nd and 3rd currently
2014 has barely started, but the Association of Collegiate Anglers Cabela’s School of the Year race is heating up in a hurry. With only a fraction of the season in the record books, some story lines are beginning to develop, but there are enough fishing days left ahead of us that nothing is yet assured.
“Over the past couple of years we’ve developed and operated what we think is the fairest and most exciting way to determine which collegiate bass fishing school truly is the best team in fishing right where it matters on the water,” said ACA Director Wade Middleton. “This is not about voting or only looking at one series or the other as our system places substantial weight on quality finishes, while also rewarding participation and consistency. The ACA Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series events count, as do major tournaments in both the Carhartt College B.A.S.S. series, FLW collegiate trail, as well events operated by the college teams themselves.”
That’s good news for the anglers from University of North Alabama who have taken the early lead this year after finishing 2nd last year.
“We came up just a bit short last year and ended up finishing in second place. It was a great accomplishment, yet bitter sweet for us” stated Dawson Lenz of University of North Alabama. “We worked so hard and fell just short of being the best team in the nation. This year we are hoping for a slightly different outcome. We have a lot of new and very talented fishermen on the team this year, and are very excited to see how this year plays out for us. Although coming in second place last year was a great milestone for our team, we still missed out on a lot of prizes and rewards,” Lenz went on to state.
University of Louisiana Monroe has also developed a game plan based on heavy participation to maximize their chances of claiming the crown. “We’re fishing every tournament we can,” said the Warhawks’ Nick LaDart. “We sat down at the beginning of this year and tried to set it up so we can get a few teams at every tournament with significant points.”
In order to take the trophy, Auburn and University of Alabama will have to leapfrog the University of North Alabama but with the season just underway there are a lot of opportunities for teams, not even currently in the hunt, to make a major move up the leaderboard. However hard the other schools may try, UNA appears to have a plan to win it all this year.
“It would mean so much for us to win the title this year, not only for our team members and all of the prizes that come along with it, but to prove to our school and community how good we are and hopefully get more recognition! College fishing has made a huge impact on many of our lives. We actually have several team members that have come to UNA from far away states just to be on our fishing team. A few of our former team members have actually gone on to the next level and are now fishing professionally. We take great pride in this, and I’m sure our team here at UNA had a great deal to do with their success,” said Robb Young, University of North Alabama Bass Club President.
“We’re pleased with how things have been working out with the Cabela’s School of the Year race as winning Angler of Year and in this case School of the Year rewards teams for their effort all year long which is what has made this race and the award to be so highly coveted,” Middleton concluded. “The support from Cabela’s has continued to enable us to take the next step toward making the ACA the true unified voice of collegiate anglers throughout the country.
Students and fans may also get up to date Cabela’s School of the Year rankings here.
Image courtesy ACA Cabela's School of the Year Program