Several Highland anglers are playing a huge role as the McKendree Bearcats are battling down to the wire to be the number one fishing team in the country in the Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA) School of the Year competition. The Bearcats have been on an incredible roll for the past three weeks.
After winning the FLW event on Barkley, jumping into the No. 1 ranking, and qualifying their third and fourth boats for the FLW National Championship, the team moved to the Cabela’s National Championship in Florence Ala., where Phillip Germagliotti, Shane Campbell, and Austin Niggli all helped the team to an 18th-place finish. McKendree University is coached by Jon Rinderer, who also coaches the Highland High School bass fishing team.
At this event, Shane Campbell also received first place in the Yamaha Angler Night’s casting competition out of more than 300 anglers from across the nation. From this event, the team moved on to this week’s three-day Bassmaster Carhartt Midwestern Regional Qualifier on Clinton Lake.
The event featured 93 of the best teams the Midwest has to offer, and the McKendree team reeled in three more national championship bids for the upcoming Bassmaster National Championship on Green River Lake in Campbellsville Ky.
After the first two days of the event, only the top 20 teams fish off on day tree for an opportunity to be one of the top 14 teams that would earn a bid to the National finals.
The team of Campbell and Germagliotti, both former Highland High School anglers, entered day three with 27 pounds, 6 ounces. They had an incredible day three and added a five fish limit weighing in at 16 pounds, 5 ounces for a three-day total of 43 pounds, 7 ounces, earning them fifth place and a shot at the National Finals.
Going into day three, Austin Niggli, former HHS angler, and his partner, Derrik Starrett (Brighton) were sitting in sixth place with 30 pounds, 4 ounces. Unfortunately their boat broke down and they were unable to fish for a large part of the day. They did, however, catch one solid keeper and held on for a 12th-place finish and a bid to the National Finals.
Their McKendree teammates also did very well. Austin Chapman (Blue Mound) and Curtis Lilly (Sterling) had the largest stringer of the event on day three with an eye popping 22 pound-4 ounce limit which gave them a grand total of 51 pounds, 9 ounces and earned them second place overall, and the team’s third bid to the National Finals.
The overall event was won by the Racers of Murray State.