LaGrange, Ga., October 12, 2017 – Just one month into the new season and the Callaway High School Fishing Team is establishing themselves as a competitive fishing force. Their most recent accomplishment was winning the West Point Lake Championship sponsored by Ken Bearden Fishing, where they were awarded overall “Best in Weight”. Callaway came out on top as 13 high schools and 54 anglers tested their skills in a qualifier for the State Tournament scheduled for November 18-19, which will launch from LaGrange’s Highland Marina.
Callaway’s Matthew Freeman captured first place and won the Big Fish Award which qualified him for that state tournament. Freeman also won first place and the Big Fish Award in last year’s State Tournament on West Point Lake. Coach Charles Freeman said, “these student anglers are enthusiastically dedicated to being the best they can be and we’re building a strong team.”
While competing at Lake Sinclair last month, Callaway’s angler duo of Houston Gaddy and Tripp Harris qualified for the GA Bass Nation State Classic to be held at Lake Eufaula May 31 – June 1 by placing 14th. Coming in at 17th place were their teammates Matthew Freeman and John Reed Batchelor who placed 20th in the State Classic this past season. The Lake Sinclair tournament, with 174 boats, was one of the largest ever held on the GA Bass Nation Trail.
Houston stated, “It’s a push every time we go out on the water but we are thankful to have the best group to do it with. I can’t wait to see what the season holds for our school.” As the competition heightens, Callaway grows more determined to make their mark on the tournament trail with still a full season ahead to complete.
Competitive high school fishing is a nationally growing activity where students can earn scholarships to many colleges and major universities as it falls under their athletics, yet it has not been sanctioned as a sport in many states at the high school level. In most high schools it is considered a club, and therefore teams receive no budgeted financial support or insurance from their schools. Coach Freeman comments, “I am so grateful to the businesses in the community like LaGrange Clinic of Specific Chiropractic and GLL Marine who regularly provide sponsorship support to our team which helps to offset some of the expenses. We are always seeking support either as a one-time donation, per tournament support, or in fundraising.”
As one of two seniors on the team, Freeman added, “I am proud of the team for being so highly competitive, especially since we are so new and small. I am glad to have teammates to carry on after I’m gone.” Also a senior, Batchelor replied, “This year is very special to me as we share the love of this sport with the new members of the team.”
About Troup County School System Troup County School System is an accredited educational system with over 11,900 students in grades K-12. TCSS does offer a free Pre-K program at each elementary school. The system is comprised of eleven elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools, one college and career academy, and one alternative learning center. Students within the school system are taught a rigorous and relevant curriculum that helps them make college and career choices beyond graduation and succeed in life. The system 2017 graduation rate rose 6.6 percentage points in three years to 78.0 percent. To learn more about Troup County School System,visit troup. org and the Troup CountySchool System Facebook page.