LaGrange, Ga., May 22, 2017 – Earlier this month the Callaway High School Fishing Team qualified for the Georgia Bass National State Classic Championship in Hiawassee, GA. This is the first qualifier tournament the team has participated in. Both students, Matthew Freeman and John Reed Batchelor are coached by Charles Freeman.
In addition to this competition, they have repeated qualifying performances in tournaments sponsored by Georgia Bass Nation, the affiliate of the Bassmaster High School Trials.
Coach Freeman, who is also a teacher at Callaway Elementary, stated, “I am proud of our duo and their accomplishments this first year. We have started off with great momentum. Besides triple qualifying for the State Classic, Matthew Freeman represented the team in the 2016 Georgia State Open High School Bass Championship and the Big Fish contest on West Point Lake. He finished first in both competitions.”
In each tournament the team competes against 50plus high schools that race 85-100 boats. Coach Freeman looks to build public awareness of bass fishing as a major sport. On his team, they work to improve the student’s skills as bass anglers through fellowship, exchange of techniques, and exhibiting a high standard of sportsmanship.
Both students have learned valuable lessons as they have established the team. Batchelor said, “I love the added level of competition. Fishing is one of the things I lovetodothemost.”Matthew Freeman said, “I enjoy the chance to make new connections throughout the fishing industry and the opportunity to do what I love to do (fishing) as an extracurricular for my school.”
They believe the biggest challenge they face is funding. Coach Freeman says, “We are not funded by the school in any way so the cost of competitions must be raised by the team. This sport requires tournament fees, overnight stays, meals, gas, etc. We greatly appreciate our sponsors and Partners in Education, GLL Marine and LaGrange Chiropractic Clinic. Also, businesses like Charter Bank, West Georgia Vision Center, and New York Life who have all provided donations.”
When the two-person team is not out on the water, you can find them manning their online business, www.southernshiners. com, which supplies custom made fishing lures.
They are looking forward to the State Classic where they say it will require an added level of focus for the 2-day event. Batchelor says they will certainly do their best to represent Callaway High, “Being able to represent the CHS Fishing Team in our very first year of creation is definitely an honor. The support we receive from the school, our sponsors, family, and friends is incredible and we couldn’t do it without them.”
To learn more about Troup County School System, visit troup.org and the Troup County School System Facebook page.