The Highland High school bass fishing team advanced both of its boats to the upcoming IHSA State Bass Fishing Tournament after reeling second- and third-place finishes Friday at the sectional tournament at Coffeen Lake.
With all of last year’s anglers graduating, Highland went into the sectional with two freshmen, a sophomore and a junior. The young Bulldog anglers competed conditions featuring 20-30 mph winds and just days after the nearly 10 inches of rain fell over the prior week and a half.
In a field that included 11 schools and 21 boats, the Highland team of Lake Bircher and Zane Bircher, with boat captain Jon Rinderer, took second place with a five-fish limit tipping the scales at 17.76 pounds.
Colton Brown and Tyler Woll, in Highland’s second boat, guided by Scott Sautman, finished in third place with a five-fish limit weighing in at 16.75 pounds.
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Team alternates were freshman Gage Bircher and juniors, Mitch Widman and Reid Fahrenholtz. Only the top three boats at each sectional tourney advance to the state final tourney.
Mater Dei’s No. 2 boat, piloted by Rod Beckmann and featuring anglers Dylan Sudholt, Mitchell Sudholt, Tyler Peek and Mitchell Pollmann, won the sectional championship with a total weight of 19.74 pounds.
Cole Miller of Greenville caught the big bass of the Coffeen Sectional at 4.80 pounds.
The IHSA State Bass Fishing Final Tournament, which will host the 66 qualifiers from the 22 sectionals that were held across the state, is currently scheduled to be held on Carlyle Lake on May 19 and 20. However, due to the recent rains, the state tournament could face postponement until later this summer. Specifics are yet to be determined.