File video: Ice rink, pool part of McKendree rec plex near O’Fallon
The McKendree Bearcats bass fishing program has qualified teams for every Bassmaster National Championship since the beginning of the program. They have also had several strong championship finishes, but none to top their most recent showing.
McKendree qualified three boats for the 116-boat field that included 62 schools from 28 states. These are the 116 best teams in the country this year. They each qualified by being in the top 10 percent at the 250 boat Bassmaster Tour events or by winning their state championship.
The format for the Bassmaster Championship Tournament includes three days of practice followed by three days of competition. After day one of competition, all three McKendree teams weighed a limit.
Jacob Louis and Nate Doty were sitting in 58th with 11 pounds, 2 ounces; Trevor McKinney and Ethan Jones were in 20th with 15 pounds, 7 ounces; and Tyler Christy and Trey Schroeder were in ninth with 18 pounds, 2 ounces. Day two was the cut day, and only the top 12 teams would move on to day three. After day two, Louis and Doty were sitting in 48th with 21-15. Christy and Schroeder were in 12th with 32-8, and McKinney and Jones were in 11th with 33 pounds.
For the first time in Bearcat history two teams qualified for the day three showdown. McKinney and Jones weighed in another 5 bass limit for 13 pounds and moved up to finish in eighth place with 46 pounds. Christy and Schroeder also weighed in a five-bass limit, including a giant 7 1/2 pound kicker that catapulted them from 12th place all the way into fourth place. Their five-fish limit was the heaviest bag of the day weighing in at 18-7 and giving them a three day total of 50 pounds, 15 ounces.
Their fourth place finish in a National Championship was also another Bearcat first as Chirsty and Schroeder will now move on to the Bassmaster Bracket round which only includes the top four teams at the National Championship. The bracket rounds begin on Aug. 27 at Watts Bar Lake.
McKendree coach Jon Rinderer — also the bass fishing coach at Highland High School — undoubtedly was pleased with the showing.
“This team continues to raise the bar,” he said. “Their accomplishments this season have met or exceeded every goal we set back in August. The team finished fifth and 11th at the Bass Pro Shop National Championship, fourth and eighth at the Bassmaster National Championship, and won the ACA School of the Year title. On top of that, we still have the brackets to complete and already have two boats qualified to fish the FLW National Championship coming up this winter.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”