TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
HARDIN — South Laurel High School’s Austin Turner and Lucas Powell made a huge splash in the 2013 KHSAA Bass Fishing State Championship this past weekend at KenLake Marina in Hardin, turning in a third place finish in the inaugural event.
After turning in an opening day total of 15 lbs., 9 oz., the pair nearly duplicated Friday’s count with a second-day weight of 15 lbs., 10 oz., which was the third best total out of the 42 participating teams with a total weight of 31 lbs., 3 oz.
Afterward, South Laurel fishing coach Dennis Hammonds talked about the finish and how excited he was about the success of the program after just one year in existence.
“It was cold and rainy both days of this thing, so it was tough to fish, but these guys hung in there and did a great job,” Hammonds said. “They had good totals on both days, so it’s important to be consistent in this kind of event.
“We owe a lot of credit to their boat captain, Kyle Smith, as well as Gerald Lewis and Sam Allen, who went out and helped us pre-fish the lake,” he added. “It’s exciting to have the program do so well in the first ever championship, especially considering Austin and Lucas are freshman.”
Calloway County’s Bracken Robertson and Dillon Starks finished first with a total weight of 34 lbs., 4 oz., while Muhlenberg County’s Zach Warner and Ridge Porter were second with a final tally of 32 lbs., 7 oz.
Hammonds said he was especially pleased with the finish considering the fact that the first and second place teams are the closest school to the state championship site.
“The teams that beat us are pretty familiar with the lake, so when you take that into consideration, we really fished well to only lose by just over three pounds,” Hammonds said. “This third place team is a couple of freshmen, so that means they’ll have a few more years to try and top this year’s finish.
“Our other team came in 27th overall, so we’re proud of those guys as a whole,” he added.
North Laurel’s Connor McKinney and Dustin Chestnut teamed up to grab 22nd overall with a total weight of 15 lbs., 11 oz., while Corbin’s Marcus Davis and Pierce Bishop earned 24th with 14 lbs., 4 oz.
Corbin's Morgan Boggs was given the Best of the Brightest award, sponsored by the National Guard.
With the first season of bass fishing as a KHSAA sanctioned sport in the books, the idea of high school fishing is expected to spread quickly. Illinois is the only other state to sanction the sport at the high school level, but several states are looking into the possibility.
KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said Saturday that the success as well as the draw of bass fishing is the fact it can be done by students that don’t have to be athletes in other sports.
“It has been a tremendous success,” Tackett said. “This is more than just playing a game with a ball. It involves biology and conservation and education. And it brings in kids that aren’t often involved in other sports.”